Your Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP Executive will be responding to the Liberal government’s requests for comments on certain issues. We’ve done that already with Ontario’s sad proposal to simply lower the high rates payday loan companies can charge people. And we’ll be commenting on the federal government’s call for submission on public housing and on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
In their first budget the federal Liberals promised $2.3 billion over 2 years for affordable housing. Meanwhile Toronto needs $2.6 billion right now just to repair its existing housing stock, and there are over 172,000 people on the city’s waiting list for a unit. If we in rural Ontario don’t start speaking up there will be nothing for us. Anyone can comment; in fact, the more people who tell the government that we need more units in this riding, the better.
It is painless, simple and easy to do. Just send them a note or take the brief survey here: https://www.letstalkhousing.ca/?utm_source=Homeless+Hub+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4c016cd4bc-Newsletter_July+7_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dbc0a7bb5b-4c016cd4bc-416561305. The deadline for public comment is October 21, 2016.
The deadline for comments on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is October 31, 2016. We’re afraid that the Trudeau government will, in spite of growing opposition to the TPP even in the US, will ratify the deal. The TPP is a wide-ranging trade agreement among 22 countries with shores on the Pacific Ocean (but not China). It will not replace NAFTA but it will dwarf that agreement in the sheer scope of the things that will be governed under the pact. You can get a glimpse of what it’s all about here.
To comment yourself, go the Standing Committee on International Trade first. Unifor has a good resource library on the TPP.
As we suspected (and said during the election), the Liberals campaigned on the left and are now rapidly sliding to the right. They have not scrapped Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 strike force fighter plane and are continuing to pay the fees the US requires to stay at the table and bid on contracts. They have not yet started a review of the draconian Bill C-51 – the Anti-Terrorism Act (2015) brought in by the Conservatives. It’s law now and the Liberal government is using it. Rather than advocating for peace, the government has committed troops to NATO’s provocative manoeuvers in eastern European countries with borders on Russia. It concluded the sale of weaponized troop carriers to Saudi Arabia negotiated by the Conservatives and is now watering down the rules for screening such deals.
The Saudi deal represents less than 25% of our sales of military equipment to other countries. Canada may have come 10th in our medal count at the Olympics, but we’re the world’s 6th largest arms dealer, and 2nd only to the US in shipping arms to battlegrounds in the Middle East.
Mr Trudeau might have called our relationship with First Nations the most important one to fix, but his government has quietly granted permits for the construction of Site C hydro dam on the Peace Riverover the concerns of First Nations in the area and scientists who have fingered this project as having large and lasting impacts on the environment. Final approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta to the west coast is now with Cabinet; however, First Nations are insisting they were not properly consulted. Not only does this fly in the face of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), but it may be illegal, given the Supreme Court’s rulings on consultation in the mid-2000s. By the way, the Liberals are shifting their rhetoric on UNDRIP to the same “aspirational” tone used by the Mr Harper’s government.
These are serious breaches of the trust voters put in the Liberal promise of “real change.” As relieved as we all are that Mr Harper’s government is gone, it is our responsibility as one of the parties in Opposition to track the gap between what Mr Trudeau says and what his government does. What we really need is substantive, just, equitable change in this country. So far the Liberals have yet to deliver.
If you are interested in sitting on the Executive and working for a better Bruce Grey, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you’re interested in the Executive or not, come and sit with us at our meetings. Our next meeting will be on Thursday September 15th at the BDO Building in Owen Sound (1717 2nd Ave E, ground floor). Potluck from 5:30 pm.