Disclaimer: I am not NDP. I am Green. But this was a great opportunity to meet some dedicated politicians in a small setting compared to whatever I’d experience “down south”. Besides, I really do believe that Loving My Neighbour As Myself is truly what all of us in my faith tradition are called to (and none of us do very well, esp. me) and NDP tries, more than other parties, to live into this.
There’s about 100 northerners here at the Tree of Peace.
Couple local MLAs here (me: mildly dubious)
Prayer said by a dene man (I didn’t catch his name, sorry).
Jack, Dennis Bevington (MP), Olivia Chow here, introduced by Mark Hyack (sp?). Layton looking well – quite serene, frankly.
Jack now up. Referring to being at the top of the Nahanni falls (on my bucket list). Talking about the word Majesty. Segues into mention of Climate Change in the north.
Inuvialuit need to be part of process of northern development. Need to have a voice. Discussion must include them, not focus sole-ly on non-northern firms exploiting the vast resources in the north.
Now referring to courage and alluding to Tommy Douglas.
Layton questions Military as ways to prove Canada’s sovereignty. He says instead: support communities of the North. (OK, I totally agree on this one).
This means we must have a different relationship with the original inhabitants up here – nation to nation, eye to eye with First Nations. (again, I agree)
The recent apology needs to be accepted. At one point, the gov was not going to let the First Nations on the floor of the House to accept it. (pointed out by Bill Erasmus to Jack Layton at the time). Further, must put action.
Now moving on to affordable housing.
and moved swiftly to a call for a Pharmacare strategy.
He’s now pointing out Harper’s strategies and refuting them (eg. buying $16B of the world’s most advanced fighter jets. anyone know if that’s true?)
Now he’s asking for thoughts of the audience: What should the NDP be focussing on?
Q: drives man nuts how Ottawa has one-size-fits-all re: electricity rates. (CEO of dene first nation of yellowknife)
Q: local colour – man who previously had been on Jack Layton’s roof protesting or something – will die without seeing his children because of Bill C422. Will you go back to Ottawa and call for a revote (? missed that).
Q: Pembina Institute rep asking: unconventional energy – review of policies – how was it received by the Federal Gov’t?
A to Q2 – we want all parents to have access to kids, but not sure what Bill C422 specifies. Will talk personally after. But we hear your pain while dealing with the system.
A to Q2 – one-size-fits-all = huge problem in Ottawa. 22¢ per kilowat/w in a cold place is indeed painful. We’ve said we should have nat’l strategy to retrofit homes to be more energy efficient.
Layton was the brunt of Rick Mercer about his own home – see below 🙂
A to Q3 by Bevington: this resolution called for complete review of all policies re: unconventional oil and gas. Why? because it’s happening all around the world – recognizes regulations were inadequate. Shale gas – what happens to underground acquafirs (?) when compound forced underground to extract gas? What are the dangers to the underground eco-systems, like water? In the fall we will be pushing hard to get this resolution back on the table. (note: the deep water drilling is close to home in the north – arctic Delta – could it be the next Gulf?)
Bevington talks about the good initiatives going on re: green energy in Yellowknife (it’s true)
Q1: I just asked Q tweeted to me by BigCajanMan:
@moneycoach how will they deal with the coming pension meltdown? CPP may be OK but others seem on thin ice, how do u protect the members?
Q2: could NDP cooperate with other parties for the”greater good” of ousting Conservatives? (readers: don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just repeating!)
A to 2: that’s exactly what we attempted, and I played a significant role in trying to make that happen. I did that because of the economic crisis we were in. I’m always ready to work with other parties. We worked with the Conservatives to put more $ into EI in exchange for not calling for an election. We worked with Liberals (I missed the example). Ultimately though it’s up to the Cdn people. They wouldn’t appreciate not running candidates in particular ridings. Our party will always try to get the best result we can.
A to 1: this was the first and most important thing we needed to work on re: budget. (I don’t know if I heard that correctly). Give the banks a little bit less, and help seniors be at or above poverty live. CPP is quite solid. Guess what it is: It’s all of us coming together and creating something we can all benefit from. We’d like ultimately to see CPP doubled (me: even I am taken aback. doubled??) Wants to put some kind of insurance in place for retirees who learn their companies never put appropriate money into their pensions, and now they are left stranded.
A to Q3: tarsands – foreign temporary workers now in Alberta to provide labour. They and their money go home. We now bring in more foreign temp workers than immigrants. That’s not right.
Bevington pointing out (in my words) that changing extraction practices to be green means more attractive to market. Alberta’s brand is now Dirty Oil Alberta because they didn’t do things right. Ppl feel guilty about what they’re creating instead of good about it.
Olivia Chow now up.
Q 1: Suzette Monteuil: What is NDPs national childcare strategy?
Q2: I used to be a citizens of France where workers have rights. On paper I have rights, but my employer’s work practices resulted in an injury and employer bullied me against raising the issue. What is your stance?
Q3: Lyda Fuller (YWCA) Has the report on the long-gun registry changed people’s minds about the long-gun registry? I have a letter signed from every single shelter across the country asking the gov’t not to reconsider the Registry.
A to Q3: this is a controversial topic. It’s really about public security. We’ve ended up with a black or white vote in Sept. (I think he tried to lay down arms and work together)
[interesting sidebar – the NDP apparently does not Whip its members into voting a particular way on an issue in the House] First time he’s heard of such a letter. Lyda doesn’t sound satisfied with answer.
A to Q2: introduced her to head of local Labour who’s also here of course.
A to Q1 by Olivia Chow – why can’t we provide non-profit, affordable care for our kids? It should not be only for-profit (profiting off caring for children = weird?). To have national strategy we would need an Act, just like we have a Health Act. The childcare options would have to be local, flexible, but the financing and standards should be enshrined in law. We know a child’s brain grows the most during the first six years of their life. There is no reason why, if we have an education system, we could not extend it slightly younger. That forms the basis of the NDP national childcare plan.
(NWT MP) Bevingon: I’m very much in favour of gun control. I grew up in the north and saw the results of poor licensing, lack of training, poor training. Those things killed a lot of people. The long-gun registry has saved lives. Spontaneous shooting not as easy.
Q1: Lydia Bardack, John Howard Society – if gov’ts had to undergo the same scrutiny and accountability the NGOs do, they wouldn’t still exist. What are we doing to promote safety for gov’t? How are we supporting victims of crime?
A1: Layton: I want to connect you with our public critic on safety, Don Davies. The conservative approach is on the american style of justice, which is moving away from typical Canadian approaches. NDP has supported minimum sentences for 3 gun crimes. Conservatives were going to cover all kinds of offences -> minimum sentences. When you’ve been in jail crammed in with 4 people (double bunking), and the likelihood of getting out of jail and becoming a taxpayer again are minimal. In some cases, this is possible. How do we support them? What if they have FAS? What if they have an addition? A mental illness? Do additional jails help? And are people who want more jail times willing to pay more taxes?
It’s 8:30pm, my battery’s at 10%, twitter is on FailWhale, and i think it’s time to close.
but — last comments by Bevington: It’s time to acknowledge the War on Drugs is an abject failure. Another option needed. Look at Mexico (ie. what’s happened there due to War on Drugs)
PS – you know what was interesting? Truly and for real, there was “civilized discourse”.
oops – maybe not – woman claiming Treaty Rights to speak despite — oh wow — she states she’s hear from Ft. Smith, standing in front of Layton (who quietly stood) and talking about her experience with crack. I think I’m gonna cry.