Leader Thomas Mulcair draws hundreds to NDP rally
By Mercedes Deutscher, Staff Writer
On March 18, an NDP rally was held at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, which featured a keynote by party leader Thomas Mulcair.
“Are you ready to replace the politics of fear with the politics of hope?” Mulcair challenged, after a brief introduction by NDP nominees Constance Barnes (Vancouver Centre) and Scott Andrews (Vancouver Quadra), and NDP MP Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta).
Mulcair elaborated on NDP Party positions and policies, which largely consisted of improvements to the lives of those recognized as “middle-class.”
“Under Stephen Harper, there is no federal minimum wage,” boasted Mulcair. “We’ll change that, and bring in a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.”
Mulcair also spoke of improving access to services, affordable housing, and institutions. Mulcair expressed that if he were elected as the next Prime Minister of Canada, he would work to reduce the costs of childcare to $15 a day.
In addition, Mulcair addressed the rising housing prices within Vancouver.
“If we price middle- and low-income Canadians out of our cities, then our cities cease to be all they can be: diverse, economic, dynamic engines of economic opportunities for the whole population.”
Mulcair expressed his support for small businesses, stating that small businesses add culture to the community while hiring a large percentage of the population.
Improving the environment was another topic of interest at the rally, as Mulcair commented on the Harper government’s decision to remove Canada from the Kyoto Protocol. Mulcair stated he would focus on decreasing emissions throughout the country. As well, Mulcair referenced the ongoing transit and transportation referendum, commenting on the lack of involvement from the provincial and federal government.
Access to education, particularly post-secondary education, was another platform for discussion. The NDP listed reducing tuition fees as one of its primary goals in the party policy.
“We believe … in creating universal access to public education,” explained Andrews. “What we’ve seen is variations in tuition across the country, and that’s a little unsettling.” Andrews pointed out a trend of the federal government to decentralize and place more responsibility on provincial governments to help fund post-secondary education, and expressed that post-secondary education should be at the forefront of public services.
Andrews suggested that a shift in priorities would be needed to address decreased government funding toward basic adult education. He explained that community inclusion, along with a commitment from the federal government to the provinces, would help decrease the rising costs of basic adult education.
The NDP used the rally as a platform to launch a social media campaign, using the hashtag #tm4pm.
Additional rallies in support of the NDP, Liberal, and Conservative parties will be held throughout Canada this year prior to elections.