New digs for New Democrats in Vaudreuil-Dorion

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG  NDP supporters surround Federal MP Jamie Nicholls during the official opening of their campaign headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion.


NDP supporters surround Federal MP Jamie Nicholls during the official opening of their campaign headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

A relaxed cinq à sept marked the opening of the New Democratic Party (NDP) election campaign headquarters Thursday, September 3.

“Dream no little dream, my friend,” said Jamie Nicholls, NDP Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges as he officially opened the office located at 142 Boulevard Saint-Charles. Nicholls, having quoted former NDP leader Tommy Douglas the founder of the national healthcare program, went on to say, “I am launching my campaign with the hope of a better future.” He said the goal of the NDP in forming the next federal government is to realize a better world for young families who are looking for affordable housing, good employment, and the necessary services required to raise their families.

“We will invest in the local tourist industry as well as stimulate innovation in the manufacturing and industrial sector,” Nicholls said of what he described as inclusive programs embracing everyone from children to the elderly. “I will continue to work with our partners in the CLD (Centre local de développement Vaudreuil-Soulanges) and the municipalities to promote the local businesses of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.” He said an NDP government would provide an extra $1.5 million for municipal infrastructure.

For Nicholls and his party, stimulating the economy and protecting the environment are closely related. “As you know, the protection of the environment is a priority for me,” he said, adding, “ I can assure you that an NDP government will protect our lakes and rivers. Potable water is essential for our health.” Later in the evening, Nicholls said the NDP would stop the practice of patronage appointments to the National Energy Board. He also said it’s time for a national water policy. “We are rich in one of the most important natural resources in the world and that is water,” said Nicholls, warning there’s currently the threat of bulk water exports from Canada.

When asked about the NDP economic plan, Nicholls said, “We’re planning on raising taxes on large corporations such as oil companies and banks to pay their fair share, for example.” He said creating an oil industry ombudsman who will work with the Competition Bureau to prevent gas price fixing and gouging would protect consumers. “We will give the Competition Bureau the tools it needs so it will actually have some teeth,” he said. “We want to stimulate innovative areas of the economy like renewable resources sector and light manufacturing.”

On the subject of paying for universal daycare, Nicholls pointed to a recent study of the Quebec model showing that for every dollar spent on the program there is a return of $1.75 in revenue. “And why is that?” asked Nicholls rhetorically, “Because more women were going back to work and creating more tax revenue.

“We are going through a recession, right now,” Nicholls admitted, “but during the last recession there was a lot of local entrepreneurial spirit and people saw it as an opportunity to strike out on their own and start a business. We need to give those businesses the tools they need to succeed in this difficult economy.” He said the NDP is working to reduce the tax rate from 11 to 9 per cent for small and medium sized businesses and eliminate credit card merchant fees.

Regarding the healthcare system and transfer payments to the provinces, Nicholls said the NDP intend to keep the payments stable. “We will work closely with the provinces to ensure they are able to offer quality services to their populations,” he said. “It’s true, that over the past 20 years we have seen a whittling away of that system that started under the (Paul) Martin budget of ’95 that eliminated the Canada Assistance Plan and created system of transfers to the provinces,” he added noting his party does not support a two-tiered health care system.

“The current government is not doing enough,” said Nicholls when asked about the underprivileged in the community. “The heartbreaking thing we don’t often hear about is the senior citizens, who are often left out if they don’t have a support network. We are proposing an increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement to raise their income above the poverty level.”

Questions regarding Syrian refugee crisis prompted Nicholls to respond that the NDP intends to increase the number of refugees coming to Canada. “Whether they stay here temporarily or settle here, refugees and immigrants contribute to our economy. They really create the portrait of who we are as a country,” he said. “We have to end this legacy of fear, this fear of the other.”

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