NDP REALITY CHECK : A SESSION OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have time and again tried to portray themselves as champions for the middle class. But while they were busy fighting for their Bay Street friends, they have missed several opportunities to help everyday Canadians.

Pharmacare
On October 5th, the NDP tabled a motion calling for universal Pharmacare, which would have tremendously helped Canadians and saved the government billions of dollars.

“(…) PBO estimates total drug spending under a national Pharmacare program would amount to $20.4 billion, if implemented in 2015-16 (Summary Figure 1). This represents savings of roughly $4.2 billion.”  – PBO Report, September 28, 2017

On October 17th, the Liberals voted against the motion…


Tax evasion
Earlier this year, NDP MP Murray Rankin proposed a bill, C-362, to crack down on tax avoidance. Furthermore, the NDP Parliamentary Leader, Guy Caron, and NDP Finance team (composed of Alexandre Boulerice, Nathan Cullen and Pierre-Luc Dusseault) have consistently called on the government to close tax loopholes and fix the problems plaguing CRA. 

And while the Liberals have failed to take any action on tax havens, one of their prominent fundraisers has been accused of tax evasion…

“Trudeau chief fundraiser linked to Cayman Islands tax scheme.” – CBC, November 5, 2017

Pensions
On November 1, the NDP offered an olive branch to the Liberals by tabling a motion asking to scrap Bill C-27, a bill that put Finance Minister Bill Morneau in a possible conflict of interest for which he is being investigated.

The Liberals didn’t seize that opportunity and the motion didn’t get the support it needed to pass…

“Liberals rebuff NDP attempt to shelve pension bill, despite conflict of interest concerns.” – CBC, November 1, 2017

Ethics
On October 23, the NDP introduced a motion asking for Minister Morneau to apologize for leading Canadians to believe that he had placed his shares in Morneau Shepell into a blind trust, while never having done so and for the government to act on closing loopholes in the Conflict of Interest Act.

The Liberals rejected the motion on October 24 and Minister Morneau has yet to apologize…

“Liberals defeat NDP motion to close conflict-of-interest loophole.” – Globe and Mail, October 24, 2017 

And, after rejecting the NDP’s motion proposing an open and transparent process for nominating Officers of Parliament, the Liberal government moved ahead in using the same broken process that allowed them to nominate Madeleine Meilleur. While certain questions remain regarding the candidacy of the new Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, the NDP continued to call out the unethical process. 

“Liberals were unethical in secretive appointment of new ethics commissioner, opposition says.” – Montreal Gazette, December 12, 2017


Housing
NDP MP Rachel Blaney introduced Bill C-325, an Act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights to include the right to housing.

On November 8, the Liberals rejected the bill and two weeks later unveiled their own, much less ambitious housing strategy…

“While I support the principles and goals behind Bill C-325, I will unfortunately not be supporting the legislation when it comes to a vote.” – Bryan May, Liberal MP (Cambridge), Hansard, September 25, 2017

And now, the good news
Thankfully, there is still hope for Canadians.

Following the apologies made by the Prime Minister to the LGBTQ community and NDP LGBTQ Issues Critic Randall Garrison’s relentless advocacy on the matter, the House of Commons worked together to pass Bill C-66, which aims to expunge unjust convictions.

Also, NDP Indigenous and Northern Affairs Critic Romeo Saganash introduced Bill C-262, asking for Canadian law to respect the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Mr. Saganash has worked on this issue tirelessly for years and was even part of an international team that helped write the declaration itself.

On November 21, Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced the government’s support for the bill.

“Justice minister supports NDP bill to fully implement UNDRIP, something activists have long demanded.” - CBC, November 21, 2017

The NDP hopes 2018 will mark the beginning of a new era of cooperation between all parties in the House of Commons.