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Big day for NDP and Canadians

"A more affordable life, living seniors out of poverty." ~ Alistair MacGregor, MP (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford)

Tuesday March 22, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC [Note: On March 24, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will discuss the achievement of this boost to Canadian health care, with former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent.]

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends


The news was leaked last night and became official at 6 am Pacific Time today, that the Liberals and NDP have struck a deal to work together for the next three years.

The Supply and Confidence Agreement announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and followed up in a news conference with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, is set to last until June 2025.

A measure of predictability:

jagmeet singh, ndp
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed media about the Supply & Confidence Agreement deal, March 22, 2022. [CPAC]

“What this means is that during this uncertain time, the government can function with predictability and stability, present and implement budgets and get things done for Canadians,” Trudeau said today.

Singh said today that government needs to be there to help people when they need help.

These are uncertain times. People have been through the “sacrifices and hardships of the pandemic”, said Trudeau today. People have had to “adapt to a new reality” and “seniors suffered in isolation”.

Trudeau referred to the war in Ukraine as having created “a major humanitarian crisis in Europe” that has also shaken financial markets. “Helping Ukraine defend itself is the right and necessary thing to do,” the prime minister articulated.

Working together:

seats, house of commons
There are 338 seats in the 44th Parliament of the Canadian House of Commons.

The NDP agrees to support the government on confidence and budget matters. The Liberal Party commits to govern for the duration of the agreement.

The Liberals have 159 seats in the House of Commons and the NDP has 25. There are 338 seats, so together their votes will surpass the needed 170 to pass legislation.

Trudeau said today that six months ago “Canadians gave parliament clear marching orders” to “work together” by putting people and families first. That sounded more like an NDP line, but Trudeau said the new agreement is “to deliver” on what he implied were closely aligned goals of the two parties for people and Canadians.

Arguably, the Canadian government has an enormous load on its plate — with far-reaching implications even beyond this country. There is pandemic repair in many sectors to be done, a global economic stage that has suddenly shifted, and the possibility of the escalation of warfare by Russia at any time. Trudeau is off to international talks with NATO leaders and others in Belgium today, including USA President Joe Biden.

trudeau, march 2022
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, not letting “our differences stand in the way of what Canadian’s deserve”. March 22, 2022.

What changes in terms of politics:

“The agreement acknowledges Parliament’s important role in holding the government account,” says local MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford).

The agreement is not a coalition; NDP MPs will not sit in Cabinet. Both the Liberals and the NDP are free to work with other opposition parties to pursue their core agendas and are free to withdraw at any time.

The new agreement is “in place to the end of this parliament in 2025”, said Trudeau, vowing to “get things done” for Canadians. He insists there is no compromise. And indeed it’s hard to imagine a blend of ‘red’ and ‘orange’; the two parties and its members will likely continue in their own lanes in terms of core beliefs.

alistair macgregor, nov 29 2021
NDP MP Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) addressed the urgency of fixing the government’s GIS clawback, in the House of Commons November 29, 2021.

For the Conservative Party (which has a large number of MPs in the House of Commons but not enough to defeat the Liberals on any motion) this pushes them into a back seat, even though by number of seats they are the Official Opposition. Politically speaking, this was a deft political blow by the Liberals and NDP against the Conservatives.

Opposition to the deal:

Conservative Interim Leader Candice Bergen — supported by others on her team — trashed the deal this morning in a news conference. She called it a ‘secret deal’ and said it was a power-grab by Trudeau and that the NDP will lose political power.

She said that Canada now has an “NDP-Liberal” government, which is actually more flattering to the NDP than derisive. Overall, her commentary was indicative of the mean-spirited sniping that has brought misfortune to the Conservative brand in recent years.

monk office

The Conservative Party is in a leadership race phase, with a new leader to be chosen September 10, 2022. The Liberal-NDP alliance takes a swipe at any immediate momentum that the Conservatives might have gained this year and next, but could give an effective Conservative leader time to build party strength ahead of the next federal election in 2025.

conservative, candice bergen
Conservative Party Interim Leader Candice Bergen commented on the Liberal-NDP new deal, March 22, 2022.

Bloc Quebcois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet essentially said it matters not to his party, that the Bloc will continue to stand up for what is good for Quebec. Though he also said it probably wasn’t good news for the long-term benefit of the NDP.

Not letting Liberals off the hook:

“Opponents of this agreement will argue that we’re letting the government off the hook,” said MacGregor today. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

New Democrats are using out power to secure results that the Liberals haven’t delivered — results that make a big difference in people’s lives,” said the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP whose riding bridges a wide socioeconomic demographic from those who are considerably wealthy to those experiencing poverty.

sd62, west shore learning

Today’s new deal is welcomed by MacGregor as “a breakthrough from increased polarization and parliamentary dysfunction”.

BC has seen this:

British Columbians have seen this before, and recently. In 2017, the BC NDP party was propped up by just three BC Green MPs in a supply and confidence agreement that made it possible for the Horgan NDP team to govern as a majority.

Andrew Weaver, John Horgan, CASA
BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver (left) and BC NDP Leader John Horgan negotiated an agreement to work as a minority government, announced in May 2017. [Photo by Mike McArthur, CBC]

At the time, that made BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver a key pivotal player in seeing that government legislation passed without much incident. Similarly, now federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will have that same lynch pin role.

Even when Weaver left politics at the end of 2019, Horgan was able to capitalize on the stability of the two-party arrangement, and won a fast-called election in September 2020 to give his government another four-year run.

Progressive change:

For Canadians who want to see progressive changes, this is all good news.

ndp, dental, deal
The Supply & Confidence agreement between the Liberals & NDP will usher in dental care for all low-income Canadians.
randall garrison

The NDP will see the beginning phases of a dental plan for people with annual income under $90,000 (starting for kids under age 12), some steps toward Pharmacare across the country with the passing of the Canada Pharmacare Act by 2023 (BC already has a Pharmacare program), and further moves toward affordable housing (by launching a Housing Accelerator Fund).

The agreement also comes with other strings attached. The Liberal government has agreed, in the new deal, to develop a plan to phase-out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, to bring in legislation to prohibit the use of replacement ‘scab’ workers, and to make additional investments in Indigenous housing.

The deal also includes a move to impose increased taxes on financial institutions that have made strong profits during the pandemic.

There will be a Homebuyer’s Bill of Rights and a plan to lift all seniors out of poverty, MacGregor outlined locally today.

Long-time coming:

ed broadbent
Former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent (1975 to 1989).

A discussion about NDP achievements in health care for Canadians will be held by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent (1975-1989) will be held on Thursday March 24 in Ottawa, followed by a media availability.

===== RELATED:

horgan, mla

NDP calls for excess profit tax as affordability challenge grows (March 21, 2022)

Streamline and speed up handling of Ukraine refugees says NDP (February 25, 2022)

GIS clawback still on NDP radar, want one-time emergency payment for impacted seniors (January 21, 2022)

Alistair MacGregor into 2022: soil conservation, RCMP reform, addiction as health & social issue (December 31, 2021)

MacGregor says climate crisis & housing crisis not addressed by Throne Speech (November 23, 2021)

===== ABOUT THE WRITER:

Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been following politics from the vantage point of south Vancouver Island since 2008.

Previous to Island Social Trends becoming a fully online news portal in August 2020, Mary was editor of the precursor publications, all published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).

The Brookeline Publishing House Inc office is located in Langford, BC.