Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/6/2012 (2855 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Federal New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair, on a tour of Western Canada, finally found some love in Winnipeg Saturday when he addressed the party's faithful at the provincial NDP's annual convention.
The newly minted leader of the official opposition was soundly criticized during stops in Alberta, where he toured the oilsands on Thursday, and in Saskatchewan for saying the Canadian dollar has been artificially inflated by oilsands exports by companies that don't pay the full cost of their pollution.
Mulclair argues that drives up the Canadian dollar and hurts the manufacturing sectors of central Canada — an economic phenomenon known as "Dutch disease."
In turn he's being criticized for pitting one region against the other in a sneaky bid to win votes, and was told as much in Alberta and Saskatchewan over the past two days,
But in Winnipeg, Muclair received a standing ovation for his position on the environment in a half-hour speech to about 200 convention delegates.
"I remain firmly convinced that across Canada there's a lot more that brings us together than what divides us," he said in his speech. "Economic growth and environmental protection aren't competing roles. They go hand in hand.
"We're not making polluters pay. We're allowing some companies to use the air and soil and water as an almost unlimited free dumping ground. The Conservatives are allowing us to live off the credit card of our grandchildren. The clean-up of all of that is being left to them."
Mulcair used his time at the podium to tell party members that his goal is to be Canada's next prime minister in 2015 and remain true not only to environmental protection, but tax fairness and accessible health care.
"We established a system of universal, free, public, accessible medicare that's a symbol and a reflection of our fundamental goodness and that's in danger," he said to loud applause.
But he said he can only do all this if he gets elected — and that can only happen if more people ages 18 to 25 vote.
"When young people stop voting, the right wing wins and democracy loses," he said.
In an interview he said the NDP will target teenagers, who will be eligible to vote in the 2015 election, over the next three years.
"The most important thing for us to do is make all young people understand that they're having an enormous debt laid on them by the Conservative party's choices across Canada," he said.
"They're being asked to clean the mess from a lot of the extraction processes going on across Canada.
"We're not applying the basic rule of polluter pay.
"We're also asking them to borrow huge amounts of money to get their education because the federal government no longer invests in post-secondary education. These are the types of things we think should be addressed."
THE grassroots of Manitoba's NDP decided at their annual convention this weekend to defer a resolution calling for provincial sales tax to be hiked to raise more money to fix Manitoba's crumbling roads and bridges.
Saturday's decision means a call by the Manitoba Federation of Labour to increase the provincial sales tax by a percentage point was not addressed. Instead, it will now be examined by the party's executive at a future meeting.
Or, in other words, it disappeared into the ether.
MFL president Kevin Rebeck said the resolution was pulled to allow party members to address more serious matters like worker safety and the Harper government's pending changes to employment insurance and its plan to take a greater role in immigration matters.
The MFL's resolution called on the Selinger government to dedicate the proceeds of a one point PST increase to renew or replace municipal infrastructure. A point hike would raise an estimated $262 million a year. Manitoba is said to have an $11-billion municipal infrastructure deficit.
That resolution echoed the position of the Business Council of Manitoba, which consists of chief executive officers of the province's leading companies. The council has been asking for the same thing for more than a year. Manitoba municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg, have also asked for a dedicated funding source that would allow them to tackle deteriorating roads and bridges.
Even it had been addressed, it would have done little to sway the Selinger government. The government is not obliged to follow policy as set at convention.
Premier Greg Selinger has said the province is already pouring hundreds of millions into infrastructure and is committed to giving municipalities the equivalent of one percentage point of the PST for infrastructure purposes.
The NDP has said it will spend a record $589 million this year to fix the province's roads and highways.