While there are a host of issues that I’m ready to address if elected as the MP for our wonderful riding when asked to pick the top 3 I reflect on what I have been hearing at doors, at community events and at meetings across the riding for years now. These are the three I hear the most about and consider top priorities for the coming election and the next term of government.
Jobs & Economy
When I’ve been out knocking on doors over the past few years, I have heard time and time again from people in our community that are struggling. They’re dealing with precarious employment or unemployment, lay offs, low wages, a reliance on temp agencies and a lack of benefits. They’re struggling to save enough money for retirement while while trying to save money to help their children get through post-secondary education. We need to create stable and full time jobs to strengthen the middle class and help families get ahead. After 10 years of Stephen Harper, 1.3 million Canadians are out of work. There is so much work for us to do to kick start the next generation of good-paying manufacturing jobs through training in the trades, investing in innovation and clean technologies and rewarding job-creating small businesses by lowering their tax rate from 11 to nine per cent. This way, we can collaboratively strengthen the middle class, grow the economy and protect the environment – and turn the page on our bleak economic outlook by working together.
Five million Canadians are currently without a family doctor. This is simply unacceptable. New Democrats brought publicly funded health care to Canada, and we strongly believe that Canadians should have fair and equal access to medical services. Having worked in local health care with the Grand River Community Health Centre I know how helpful access to health care can be. It can change lives and communities. We need a concrete plan to ensure improved access for families right here in Brantford-Bran. I’ll work collaboratively with the province to improve primary care and expand access to long-term and home care. We will also put a stop to unilateral cuts to our healthcare system. We need to ensure the people in our diverse communities receive the care they need – when and where they need it, including within our First Nations communities, located right here in Brantford-Brant. Our National Dementia Strategy and Palliative Care Strategies are a part of this needed change and I will be making a personal commitment to advocate for a strong, money saving Pharmacare program so that needed medicines are affordable and the savings from this program can be reinvested into doctors and nurses for those who need it.
I have always been a supporter of making life more affordable for people in our communities. Saving enough money for retirement is tough to do when seven out of 10 working Canadians don’t have a pension. Instead of making the situation any better we see Canadians left behind. After Harper’s announcement to push retirement to 67 from 65 many of us will now work longer and harder to receive the Canada Pension Plan – something working people have contributed to for decades. I have consistently campaigned on a range of affordability issues, including the need for a National Childcare Program that costs parents just $15/day per child, removing the tax on feminine hygiene products, lowering ATM fees, capping credit card fees, pay-to-pay fees that target seniors and a weekly cap on the price of gas. These issues truly affect the pocketbooks of hard working folks in our riding and I’m focused on the opportunities to make life more affordable for all of us.