Six Northern Ontario candidates running in the Oct. 19 federal election gathered outside the Northern School of Medicine in Sudbury on Monday to promote the party's plan for Northern Ontario.
Handing out folders emblazoned with the words, 'I'm ready,' Paul Loewenberg (Sudbury), Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt), Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay), Carol Hughes (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing), Skip Morrison (Sault Ste. Marie) and Kathleen Jodouin (Nipissing—Timiskaming) were all on hand to unveil details of the party's plan for the North.
Among them is a proposal to lower small business taxes from 11 per cent to nine. The party would also crack down on credit card companies that charge retailers and small businesses fees for each transaction.
“As someone who has worked with small businesses for years, I know how critical they are to building resilient local economies,” Loewenberg said. “We will help businesses grow and contribute to our community.”
The party is also promising to upgrade the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) to a full standalone regional economic agency and increase its funding by $12.6 million “to reverse Conservatives cuts to its core programs.”
The NDP will also provide additional support for Destination Canada to help Canada’s tourism industry recapture the American tourist market and take advantage of the weakening Canadian dollar. To boost manufacturing jobs in Northern Ontario, the party says it will introduce an Innovation Tax Credit to boost research and development investment and advanced manufacturing.
The party says it will improve energy security and create local jobs by investing $100 million in clean energy development in northern and remote communities.
Support the growing agriculture sector in the North by investing in rural economies, expanding business risk management programs, and supporting new and young farmers.
The NDP is also promising to add 19,000 affordable daycare spaces in the North, part of its national plan to create and maintain one million affordable, quality, child care spaces across Canada at a cost to families of no more than $15 a day.
On seniors and healthcare issues, the New Democrats says they will reverse a plan to raise the age of retirement from 65 to 67, and instead put $13,000 back into the pockets of Canadian seniors. They'll also invest $1.8 billion over four years to expand home care to support 41,000 more seniors with patient-focused care in their own homes, help the provinces build 5,000 more nursing home beds, and provide better palliative end-of-life care.
The plan includes developing a national dementia strategy to address the growing epidemic affecting seniors and their families, the party said.
“More than 750,000 Canadian families are living with Alzheimer's or dementia,” Gravelle said. “We are ready to finally work with families, health professionals and organizations to develop a national strategy to address this growing epidemic.”
Angus said the NDP will make an impact on a region in need of economic development.
“Under Stephen Harper, we lost 13,000 jobs in Northern Ontario over the past year alone,” said Angus. “An NDP government will invest in strengthening our northern economy and creating good sustainable jobs in our communities. A strong NDP Team will make sure northern concerns are heard in Ottawa.”
Highlights of the NDP’s promises:
– Unlock the potential of the “Ring of Fire” deposits by investing $1 billion in strategic infrastructure over the next 20 years;
– Support the growing agriculture sector in the north by investing in rural economies;
– Fix the Nutrition North food subsidy program by immediately including the 25 fly-in communities in Northern Ontario that have been unfairly excluded; and
– Improve critical First Nations infrastructure such as schools, drinking water facilities, roads and other essential services, starting with new investments of $447 million over four years.
– Improve access and affordability of prescription medicines by working with the provinces and territories to introduce a universal prescription drug plan.
Read the full plan here.