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Sunday
Mar162014

EVENT NOTICE: Tom Mulcair in Brantford Tuesday March 18th, 2014 

Brant Riding voters don't have to be political insiders with deep pockets to have access to the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. 

Tom Mulcair, the leader of the federal New Democrats is coming to Brantford next Tuesday, March 18th for his third town hall style meeting in the community and he wants to hear your thoughts. 

The event brought to you by the Brant NDP Federal Electoral District Association is free of charge and will take place at the Sanderson Centre in the heart of Downtown Brantford.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and a question and answer period will begin at 7:30 p.m.

In contrast to the last time Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to town Tom Mulcair's visit will be quite different.

"For some reason the PM refused to take questions from the local press. We heard from a great many people that they were disappointed in that style of politics, where message control trumps public good - we're happy to do things differently and will be fielding questions from the press and the general public," said Brant NDP Federal President Neil Macdonald.

Mulcair and Brant NDP federal candidate of record Marc Laferriere will be listening for residents thoughts on local issues related to federal policy and answering questions from the audience as well. 

"I'd really like to extend an invite to everyone - especially those who normally vote Conservative, Liberal or Green to come and hear what we have to offer," said Laferriere.  "There is so much information out there to sort through, so many opinions online and in the media but it is great when people have an opportunity to kick the tires of a party leader and create their own opinion."

"Town halls like this are the very definition of grassroots political community building. It's not about controlling the message, it's about learning and getting to know the community and answering questions about the hopes and frustrations of local residents," Laferriere said. "And all of this consultation helps us build our Federal policy platform in 2015."

New Democrats have also been organizing Pan-Canadian consultations on Bill C-23 - something the governing Conservatives have refused to do. New Democrats have dubbed the bill the "Unfair" Elections Act.  Mulcair is planning to address this issue at the town hall as well as issues related to everything from jobs and health care to international trade and the economy.

Mulcair will also speak to the NDP's plan to rein in gas prices and other affordability issues of local importance.

Tuesday
Mar112014

Tuesday March 18th Join Us for An Evening With Tom Mulcair and Marc Laferriere at The Sanderson Centre


NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Brant NDP Federal Candidate of Record Marc Laferriere are hosting a special town hall in Brantford -- and you’re invited.

Tom will speak about the NDP campaign to make life more affordable for everyday Canadians. You’ll also get the chance to ask questions in a special Q&A session.

Don't miss out! Click “Join” now on our Facebook Event Page and add this event to your calendar today.

Free event. All welcome to attend.

Wednesday
Mar052014

TOM MULCAIR ANNOUNCES PAN-CANADIAN CONSULTATIONS ON UNFAIR ELECTIONS ACT

March 5, 2014

For Immediate Release:

OTTAWA – New Democrats will be moving forward with pan-Canadian consultations on the Conservatives’ Unfair Elections Act, Bill C-23, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced today.

“Conservatives do not want to hear from Canadians and have been blocking every attempt by the NDP to hold cross country public consultations. Canadians deserve better,” said Mr. Mulcair.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians will be prevented from exercising their right to vote if Bill C-23 is adopted. The Chief Electoral Officer’s powers will be severely curtailed and he will even be forbidden from educating and engaging Canadians about the importance of voting.

“The Conservatives’ refusal to hear from Canadians is a slap in the face. Stephen Harper is trying to skew the rules unilaterally to benefit his own party, a dangerous and unprecedented move in our democracy,” said NDP Deputy Leader David Christopherson.

For three weeks, Christopherson has led the fight on behalf of Canadians at committee and was able to secure the appearance of Chief Electoral Officer Mark Mayrand before a parliamentary committee on Thursday.

“There is a groundswell of opposition to this bill and we believe Canadians should be allowed to express themselves – and as elected officials, it is our duty to make sure they are heard¸” concluded Mulcair.

The NDP will hold public consultations across the country as well as encourage Canadians to express themselves online through a dedicated web site.

A petition is available at http://petition.ndp.ca/stand-up-for-canadian-democracy.

Wednesday
Mar052014

Bill C-23 a detriment to democracy

Letter originally appearing in the March 6th, 2014 edition of the Brant News:

 

 

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have a bad record when it comes to respecting our elections laws. Now, they want to skew the next election in their favour using voter suppression tactics straight out of the U.S. Republican playbook.

The so-called “Fair Elections Act” will block tens of thousands of students, seniors, First Nations persons and low-income Canadians from proving their right to vote by eliminating the long-standing practice of vouching and the expanded use of voter ID cards.

These are all groups who tend not to vote Conservative. I – like a great number of Canadians – am very doubtful this is simply a coincidence. In the last federal election, my office received many calls from voters belonging to each group mentioned above, who already had difficulties accessing their democratic right to vote. We were able to help in those cases, but it will be much harder to do so in the future if this bill passes. 

The logic behind making it more difficult for these already-marginalized populations to vote makes very little sense. Voter turnout is something we all lament needs to be increased.

 At the same time, it muzzles the Chief Electoral Officer and bans Elections Canada from even promoting the right to vote. Popular, successful and inexpensive programs designed to help students register to vote, for example, will no longer be allowed. While the bill makes it harder for ordinary Canadians to vote, it will actually make it easier for big-money interests to influence our elections. The proposed legislation raises the donation limit to $1,500 and introduces loopholes to party fundraising spending – including increasing the amount candidates can spend on their own campaigns.

This move is a boon for rich candidates, but may limit access to middle and working-class Canadians, who have an equal right to represent their communities in Parliament.

After widespread voter suppression and fraud during the 2011 election, this long-awaited legislation was supposed to offer tools to crack down on abuse.  Instead, Conservatives refused to enact the most effective measure to enhance investigation – giving Elections Canada the power to compel testimony. What a farce. I am thankful that NDP leader Tom Mulcair is doing his job in the House of Commons by exposing this Conservative policy for exactly what it is.

The Harper government is also refusing an NDP recommendation to hold town hall consultations on this contentious issue across Canada. What are they afraid of?

Will our local MP Phil McColeman stand up to his party and hold an open town hall on this issue? If not, then I will be happy to address it in a town hall setting. Canadians and members of our community should be heard on something as important as this. Canadians deserve better. They deserve genuine electoral reform to stop fraud, prevent big money from distorting elections and to ensure every Canadian can exercise their right to vote. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper and his team of MPs have given us the opposite. It is simply shameful.

 

-Marc Laferriere

Brant NDP Federal Candidate of Record

 

Tuesday
Feb182014

Making Everyday Life More Affordable Day of Action: February 22, 2014 - Join the campaign!

Families face rising debt pressures

“Canadian household debt levels reach a new high. 
                        —Globe and Mail headline, 13 December 2012 
 
“IMF warns about Canadian household debt.”
                        —Canadian Press headline, 22 December 2011 

Soaring household debt leaves Canadians vulnerable to unexpected shocks—whether it’s sickness, job loss or rising interest rates. But getting debt under control isn’t easy when you look at the pressures people are facing. 

Rental housing costs are up. And the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says homeownership costs have grown three times faster than incomes since 2005.

Across Canada, the cost of a university education is three times what the last generation paid 20 years ago. And fees are projected to rise another 14 per cent by 2017.

At the same time, people are facing unfair banking fees, high credit card interest rates, and rising costs for many of the goods and services we rely on.

Meanwhile, good-paying, full-time jobs are being replaced by more precarious work. For the first time in Canadian history, middle-class wages are now consistently declining.

Canadians deserve better. That’s why New Democrats are putting forward positive solutions—to create quality jobs and make everyday life more affordable.

What's next? Join the campaign!

Tired of well-connected insiders getting all the breaks? Be part of the movement, and bring change to our community and to Ottawa.

On February 22, hundreds of volunteers from coast-to-coast will be knocking on doors in their community and talking to their neighbours about these important issues and what we can do to bring change to Ottawa.

Be a part of it - Sign up today!

Here in Brant, I want you to join me and our dynamic volunteer team as we take part in the National Day of Action on Affordability Issues. On February 22, we will knock on the doors of our community, with a positive message to make life more affordable - but we need your help!

Volunteers will be meeting at at Sophia’s Bakery and Cafe, located at 60 Colborne Street, on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 11 a.m. I'll be buying all volunteers that day a hot beverage and we will have some light refreshments before we head out into the neighbourhood of Eagle Place with our message.

Fill out this form - one of our team leaders will be in touch soon to speak with you about the details. Or Join this Facebook Event Page for updates.