Thursday August 12, 2021 | NATIONAL
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
These last 18 months have been beyond challenging for too many Canadian families. That’s the opening line from the federal NDP today as they release their ‘commitments’ and vision in a policy-style document called ‘Ready for Better’.
“In every corner of the country, families are worried about jobs, the health of our loved ones, and the public services that everyone counts on,” says Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh as part of releasing his vision for what New Democrats believe is possible.
This comes as the nation-wide chatter about an upcoming federal election has very nearly become intense. Last month in Victoria, in response to a question from Island Social Trends, Singh said in a media scrum that he would prefer there not be an election during a pandemic — for all the obvious reasons (spread of the virus and a focus still needing to be on running matters of the country during such a crisis).
Enacting the vision:
The new vision document might seem broad for those who have yet to vote NDP. The NDP is gunning for more than 24 seats in the next election, and will need to draw votes from parties that tend to focus more on strictly practicalities and the bottom line.
Today NDP party officials said in a Zoom call with media that first-steps in realizing key parts of the NDP plan would be student debt relief (to make it easier to afford housing and starting a family) and making Pharmacare a reality across the country (saving families and governments money every year, by buying drugs at lower costs).
Challenging the Liberals:
“Sadly, for the last six years the Liberals haven’t done much to make life any easier. It’s been harder to keep up, as wages stay the same and good jobs with benefits become harder to find,” it is stated in the vision document.
Practical considerations like how hard it is to find a home and to get needed health care are combined in this vision with pitching to needing hope for the future regarding the mounting threats that are resulting from climate change.
“We don’t answer to the powerful. We fight for people, and deliver the help that families need. It’s who we are. We believe that we can work together to take care of each other – so everyone benefits,” says Jagmeet Singh in a way that an increasing number of Canadians are buying into.
A recent poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies showed 25% of respondents picking Justin Trudeau as the best prime minister, with Singh not far behind at 19%, and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole coming in at 13%. That was in mid July (an online poll July 16 to 18, participated in by 2,069 Canadians) showing Singh leading ahead of the Conservative Party leader as the people’s choice for who they would like to lead the country.
In that same poll, 34% of decided voters said they support the Liberals, while the Conservatives stood at 29% and the NDP at 22%.
The online survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples. In fact, it’s entirely unclear who participated in the survey or where the pool of participants was found. But the results are indicative of a trend, nonetheless.
People’s resilience amidst disparity:
“The past 18 months have shown that Canadians can confront any challenge,” says Singh in a news release this morning.
“It’s also shown us that thanks to the decisions of Liberal and Conservative governments, many of the supports that we rely on just aren’t there when we need them. Meanwhile, those at the top have done very well – profiting during the pandemic while ordinary Canadians struggled.”
Liberals had to be guided:
“Justin Trudeau wants to look like he cares. He says the right things, but when it comes to helping Canadians, he had to be forced to provide real support,” says Singh, who led the NDP agenda in the House of Commons in 2020 and this year to ensure things like a livable amount for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Singh says that over the last six years the prime minister “could have taken real action against stagnating wages, sky-rocketing housing costs, unaffordable child care, stifling student debt, and ballooning prescription drug prices but he chose not to”.
For different results, the NDP proposes making different choice. The NDP leader says that Canadians “need the courage to act together” and that his party offers that leadership.
115-page vision document:
‘Ready for Better’ is the NDP’s vision for what New Democrats believe is possible. The 115-page document — including high-resolution campaign-style photos of Singh, was released today during a press conference from St John’s, Newfoundland.
The party says it is committed to delivering “real results” for Canadians:
- A future with health care that puts you first.
- A future with good jobs and help when you need it.
- A future where your life is more affordable, and the wealthiest pay their fair share.
- A future where our communities can confront the climate crisis and win.
- A future where we take on longstanding inequalities that are hurting our country and end them.
The main sections cover off a wide range of things that the NDP would like to see changed for the better in Canada:
- Making life more affordable for everyday people,
- Protecting the environment as part of securing the future,
- Better health care, food supply, support for seniors and veterans, and tackling poverty.
- Action on reconcilation including housing, education and Indigenous employment.
- Building stronger communities.
- The courage to do what’s right: gender equity, confronting racism, enhancing the justice system, voting system revision
- Economic recovery.
Values, hopes and dreams:
“Our vision is built on our values, the ones that have driven our movement from the very start. Our commitments are inspired by the hopes and dreams of Canadians today,” added Singh.
“New Democrats are ready – to lead us forward together, get results for Canadians, and rebuild better than ever.”