NDP ready for 2015 election
OTTAWA—NDP leader Tom Mulcair is muscling in on the same electoral turf that Justin Trudeau has staked out for the Liberals: middle-class families.
He embarked Friday on a campaign to persuade people that the NDP is the only party that understands the challenges faced by average folks and that is devoted to making life more affordable for them.
“And we’re going to stand up for all Canadians.”
Mulcair announced he’ll start a nationwide tour this week to meet Canadians at home and in their communities, and discuss ways to tackle “staggering bills and skyrocketing household debt.”
That will be followed in the spring by a national consultation with small- and medium-sized business owners—aimed at finding ways to help them grow and create “good, middle-class jobs right here in Canada.”
By contrast, Mulcair accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government of telling Canadians: “You’re on your own, get used to it.”
“In Mr. Harper’s Canada, a well-connected few get ahead while everyone else gets left behind,” he charged.
And, notwithstanding Trudeau’s declared priority of improving the lot of middle-class families, Mulcair said the Liberal record in government shows they’re no better.
Over the last 35 years, he said income has grown for the top 20 percent of income earners while it’s shrunk for the remaining 80 percent.
And 94 percent of the growth in income inequality occurred while the Liberals were in power, he added.
The only time Liberal governments took action to remedy the problem was when they were forced to do so by the NDP, Mulcair noted.
He reminded his MPs that late NDP leader Jack Layton forced Paul Martin’s teetering Liberal minority government to cancel $4.6 billion in planned corporate tax cuts and invest instead in affordable housing, public transit, and student debt.
“Those were our priorities. That’s where we put the money,” Mulcair said.
“We know who we are. We know who the Liberals are. Don’t ever forget it.”
Under a fixed-date election law introduced by the Harper government, the next election is scheduled for October, 2015.
However, both the NDP and Liberals suspect Harper may ignore the law, as he’s done before, to go to the polls earlier.
Mulcair made it clear the NDP isn’t waiting for the writ to be issued—declaring that the campaign already has begun and that his party has its slogan set to go.
“From students to seniors, from First Nations to recent arrivals, New Democrats are taking a simple message from coast to coast to coast in the next election: ‘the NDP is on your side.’”
Mulcair won plaudits during the spring and fall sittings of Parliament for his relentless, prosecutorial grilling of Harper on the Senate expenses scandal.
But Trudeau, who spent most of his time stumping the country, seemed to be the chief beneficiary of voter disenchantment with the government.
Mulcair said he won’t let up on the Senate scandal but evidently has decided he needs to spend more time on the road, as well.
His consumer protection tour is aimed at demonstrating the NDP understands what Mulcair called “the changing face of struggling families in Canada”—where both parents have “low-wage, very precarious, and almost always part-time jobs . . . without any real opportunity to get ahead.”