Daniel Blaikie

Daniel Blaikie

Elmwood-Transcona constituency report

Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.

Recent articles of Daniel Blaikie

Corporate pandering puts housing out of reach

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Preview

Corporate pandering puts housing out of reach

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Canadians trying to buy their own homes, rent an affordable home, or just remain in affordable housing, are all getting kicked in the teeth.

The housing market has been set up so that Canadians looking for homes are pitted against deep-pocketed corporate investors. It is a battle they cannot hope to win.

There are people who will tell you different things about the housing market in Canada. The Liberals so far have only been willing to act with respect to foreign buyers, but we know they only represent about five per cent of the market.

Conservatives will tell you it’s government spending, or the Bank of Canada, or anything else they can say to distract from the real problem — runaway corporate profits made by turning a market for families needing a home they can afford into an asset class for investors to make money on.

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Canadians trying to buy their own homes, rent an affordable home, or just remain in affordable housing, are all getting kicked in the teeth.

The housing market has been set up so that Canadians looking for homes are pitted against deep-pocketed corporate investors. It is a battle they cannot hope to win.

There are people who will tell you different things about the housing market in Canada. The Liberals so far have only been willing to act with respect to foreign buyers, but we know they only represent about five per cent of the market.

Conservatives will tell you it’s government spending, or the Bank of Canada, or anything else they can say to distract from the real problem — runaway corporate profits made by turning a market for families needing a home they can afford into an asset class for investors to make money on.

Pressure on health-care system continues

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Preview

Pressure on health-care system continues

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

Throughout the pandemic, Manitobans have been fortunate to have so many dedicated health professionals willing to toil day in and day out in extremely challenging circumstances. Even as public health restrictions are relaxed, the pressure on our health system continues.

Whether it is dealing with new COVID cases, or the immense challenge involved in addressing the backlog of care and service that has built up over the course of the pandemic, our health services continue to be under strain.

This is a problem that has to be tackled at many different levels. In Ottawa, New Democrats are winning some victories when it comes to preventative health. We have succeeded in negotiating a new, national dental care program that will provide basic dental service to any Canadian with a household income of $90,000 or less. We have also negotiated next steps toward a national pharmacare plan that will lower the cost of prescription drugs.

These are solutions that will help keep Canadians healthier and reduce costs, but they will take time to work.

Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

Throughout the pandemic, Manitobans have been fortunate to have so many dedicated health professionals willing to toil day in and day out in extremely challenging circumstances. Even as public health restrictions are relaxed, the pressure on our health system continues.

Whether it is dealing with new COVID cases, or the immense challenge involved in addressing the backlog of care and service that has built up over the course of the pandemic, our health services continue to be under strain.

This is a problem that has to be tackled at many different levels. In Ottawa, New Democrats are winning some victories when it comes to preventative health. We have succeeded in negotiating a new, national dental care program that will provide basic dental service to any Canadian with a household income of $90,000 or less. We have also negotiated next steps toward a national pharmacare plan that will lower the cost of prescription drugs.

These are solutions that will help keep Canadians healthier and reduce costs, but they will take time to work.

What to do about bankrupt bankruptcy laws

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Preview

What to do about bankrupt bankruptcy laws

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022

For people fortunate enough to have a company pension, it is one of the most significant investments of their lives. They pay into it over decades and depend on it for their food, lodging and, hopefully, some enjoyment in their retirement.

Investment is the key word. Pensions are not a handout or a perk. They are part of the wage package. Employers and employees each pay an agreed amount into the pension fund as part of the terms and conditions of employment.

The key to any good investment culture is confidence. Investors want to be confident that, when it comes time to be paid out for their investment, the money will be there and they will get paid. Workers should expect the same of their pension.

That is why it is damaging – both to individuals and to the very idea of workplace pensions – when employers are allowed to take holidays on their contributions to pension funds in good times; racking up big pension liabilities that jeopardize the fund that they later use as an excuse to not increase wages and other benefits for workers.

Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022

For people fortunate enough to have a company pension, it is one of the most significant investments of their lives. They pay into it over decades and depend on it for their food, lodging and, hopefully, some enjoyment in their retirement.

Investment is the key word. Pensions are not a handout or a perk. They are part of the wage package. Employers and employees each pay an agreed amount into the pension fund as part of the terms and conditions of employment.

The key to any good investment culture is confidence. Investors want to be confident that, when it comes time to be paid out for their investment, the money will be there and they will get paid. Workers should expect the same of their pension.

That is why it is damaging – both to individuals and to the very idea of workplace pensions – when employers are allowed to take holidays on their contributions to pension funds in good times; racking up big pension liabilities that jeopardize the fund that they later use as an excuse to not increase wages and other benefits for workers.

Deflating some arguments about inflation

Daniel Blaikie 5 minute read Preview

Deflating some arguments about inflation

Daniel Blaikie 5 minute read Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022

Inflation is a hot topic these days. All it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store to appreciate that this is not an academic issue. The rising cost of essentials is having a real affect on people’s ability to make ends meet.The question is, what can the federal government do to fight back against inflation?The political parties in the House of Commons are offering quite different answers to this question. How the government responds will have far-reaching consequences, so it is important that Canadians understand what is at stake.Let’s start with the simplistic explanation of the Conservatives. They point to the massive income supports the federal government paid out during the pandemic and claim this spending is responsible for inflation. Their answer is equally simple — make massive cuts to government spending.This is the Conservative solution to every problem, whether it makes sense or not. We are currently suffering the consequences as they apply this solution to health care in Manitoba.The fact is there are many factors at work behind the increase in prices Canadians are seeing. Pandemic-induced production shutdowns across the globe, a domestic labour shortage and supply chain disruptions caused by extreme weather events are all factors driving up prices.Liberals point to these challenges, throw up their hands and say there is nothing they can do but this is not true.In the short term, they could heed the calls of the NDP to ensure that pandemic benefits remain widely available at $500 per week. Instead, they have chosen to restrict access to these benefits and cut the weekly rate to $300 per week. Spending by people living at the poverty line is not what is driving inflation.They should also stop clawing back the benefit from our most financially vulnerable who depend on programs such as the guaranteed income supplement and Canada child benefit.The recent increase in old age security to those aged 75 and older should be extended to all seniors. Everyone is trying to cope with the increased costs of living. Creating two classes of seniors is not the answer.In the medium term, the government should establish a national pharmacare plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs, take regulatory action to lower cellphone and internet charges, build more social housing and take action to stem the overheated housing market. In all three of these areas, Canadians pay among the highest rates in the world.We continue to live in challenging times. Some of the inflation is a result of the pandemic, but that does not mean government is absolved of all responsibility to keep prices affordable for the things Canadians need.

Inflation is a hot topic these days. All it takes is a quick trip to the grocery store to appreciate that this is not an academic issue. The rising cost of essentials is having a real affect on people’s ability to make ends meet.

The question is, what can the federal government do to fight back against inflation?

The political parties in the House of Commons are offering quite different answers to this question. How the government responds will have far-reaching consequences, so it is important that Canadians understand what is at stake.

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022

The reasons for inflation are not as simple as some would have you believe, and there are many ways to combat it.

CRB cuts won’t solve labour shortage

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

CRB cuts won’t solve labour shortage

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021

One of the first official acts of the federal government after the Prime Minister’s $600 million vanity election was to announce the end of the Canada Recovery Benefit. It made the announcement on Oct. 21 and ended the program on Oct. 23. About 900,000 people were still depending on this program and only got two days notice that financial support enabling them to make rent was over.At one time, about nine million people were supported by the CRB or its predecessor program the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. The fact that 90 per cent of people have already gone back to work shows that most people are keen to work.Some of the people still on the CRB were independent travel agents. About 85 per cent of people in that industry are women, many of whom work for themselves. In the early days of the pandemic, they continued to support their clients in getting rebates and vouchers for cancelled trips. Today, they are helping clients book vacations for months down the road but they won’t be paid until their clients take the trips. The CRB was their lifeline to maintain their homes and their home offices. They were already reeling from the 40 per cent reduction in the benefit amount implemented in July, reducing the benefit from $500 per week to only $300 per week.The new program to support people in the travel and tourism industry won’t help these agents, because you have to be an employee of someone else to receive assistance. There is no assistance in the new legislation for people who work for themselves.These are just some of the people, about 45,000 of them, who were legitimately relying on the CRB to make ends meet while the effects of the pandemic on their industry resolve.While there are many ‘help wanted’ signs out there, the available jobs are not necessarily the right fit for the people who were still on the CRB. Some employers are only offering a few three-hour shifts per week; not enough to make a living on. In other cases, employers are looking for education, skills and experience that these people do not have.Rather than trying to starve CRB recipients into jobs that don’t support a family or for which they are not qualified, the government should be working with employers to identify what jobs are available and what qualifications are required for those positions. They could then match CRB recipients with jobs and help them get the education and training needed to fill the positions. This is what the government did decades ago under the old Unemployment Insurance system and it is the best way to solve the dual problem we face of having high unemployment in the midst of a labour shortage.

One of the first official acts of the federal government after the Prime Minister’s $600 million vanity election was to announce the end of the Canada Recovery Benefit. 

It made the announcement on Oct. 21 and ended the program on Oct. 23. About 900,000 people were still depending on this program and only got two days notice that financial support enabling them to make rent was over.

At one time, about nine million people were supported by the CRB or its predecessor program the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. The fact that 90 per cent of people have already gone back to work shows that most people are keen to work.

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021

One of the first official acts of the federal government after the Prime Minister’s $600 million vanity election was to announce the end of the Canada Recovery Benefit. It made the announcement on Oct. 21 and ended the program on Oct. 23. About 900,000 people were still depending on this program and only got two days notice that financial support enabling them to make rent was over.At one time, about nine million people were supported by the CRB or its predecessor program the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. The fact that 90 per cent of people have already gone back to work shows that most people are keen to work.Some of the people still on the CRB were independent travel agents. About 85 per cent of people in that industry are women, many of whom work for themselves. In the early days of the pandemic, they continued to support their clients in getting rebates and vouchers for cancelled trips. Today, they are helping clients book vacations for months down the road but they won’t be paid until their clients take the trips. The CRB was their lifeline to maintain their homes and their home offices. They were already reeling from the 40 per cent reduction in the benefit amount implemented in July, reducing the benefit from $500 per week to only $300 per week.The new program to support people in the travel and tourism industry won’t help these agents, because you have to be an employee of someone else to receive assistance. There is no assistance in the new legislation for people who work for themselves.These are just some of the people, about 45,000 of them, who were legitimately relying on the CRB to make ends meet while the effects of the pandemic on their industry resolve.While there are many ‘help wanted’ signs out there, the available jobs are not necessarily the right fit for the people who were still on the CRB. Some employers are only offering a few three-hour shifts per week; not enough to make a living on. In other cases, employers are looking for education, skills and experience that these people do not have.Rather than trying to starve CRB recipients into jobs that don’t support a family or for which they are not qualified, the government should be working with employers to identify what jobs are available and what qualifications are required for those positions. They could then match CRB recipients with jobs and help them get the education and training needed to fill the positions. This is what the government did decades ago under the old Unemployment Insurance system and it is the best way to solve the dual problem we face of having high unemployment in the midst of a labour shortage.

One of the first official acts of the federal government after the Prime Minister’s $600 million vanity election was to announce the end of the Canada Recovery Benefit. 

It made the announcement on Oct. 21 and ended the program on Oct. 23. About 900,000 people were still depending on this program and only got two days notice that financial support enabling them to make rent was over.

At one time, about nine million people were supported by the CRB or its predecessor program the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. The fact that 90 per cent of people have already gone back to work shows that most people are keen to work.

Liberals grabbing money back from seniors

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Liberals grabbing money back from seniors

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021

A lot of Canadian seniors are at risk of losing their homes because the Trudeau Liberals are kicking them off, or drastically reducing, the guaranteed income supplement.The GIS is a benefit for Canada’s poorest seniors; a benefit that does not even pay enough to keep people above the poverty line.The GIS allows seniors to top up their benefit with some employment income. When those seniors lost their employment because of the pandemic, they were told to apply for CERB.They were not told that the government would treat their pandemic benefits as an advance on next year’s GIS. Instead, they were told no one should fear applying and believed the Prime Minister when he campaigned on a promise to have everyone’s back until the pandemic is over.Chris is a 65 yearold who lost all his part-time work as a musician when the pandemic struck. When he got a little bump in income from the pandemic benefits, he put the extra money toward overdue bills, dental work and car repairs.After months of being off the pandemic benefits, he was informed that his GIS would be reduced by almost $500 a month, leaving him without enough money to pay the rent.Janet is 79 years old. She has a small business helping students find post-secondary placements. It makes a little money to help supplement her GIS but not enough to disqualify her from the program. When COVID-19 first struck, it took Janet several months to adapt her business to work remotely. In the meantime, she collected CERB. As result, her GIS is now being cut by about $300 a month, making her already frugal budget virtually impossible to live on.This is wrong. And it doesn’t need to happen. The government can simply decide to not count pandemic benefits in the calculation of GIS eligibility. The money for GIS payments is already in the budget.Shamefully, the Liberals have not even asked for any money back from businesses that received the wage subsidy while booking tidy profits. Montreal-based trucking firm TFI International saw its net income increase by double digits and increased dividend payments while taking almost $75 million in wage subsidy payments.The Royal Ottawa Golf Club saw a record operating surplus of $825,000 after taking a little over $1 million in wage subsidy funds. As a result, it is planning to repave its parking lot three years ahead of schedule.If the Liberals really want to make some pandemic money back, this is the place they should be looking rather than preying on vulnerable seniors.As I write, Parliament has yet to resume. You can rest assured that putting an end to this assault on seniors will be a top priority for me and the rest of the NDP team in Ottawa.

A lot of Canadian seniors are at risk of losing their homes because the Trudeau Liberals are kicking them off, or drastically reducing, the guaranteed income supplement.

The GIS is a benefit for Canada’s poorest seniors; a benefit that does not even pay enough to keep people above the poverty line.

The GIS allows seniors to top up their benefit with some employment income. When those seniors lost their employment because of the pandemic, they were told to apply for CERB.

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021

A lot of Canadian seniors are at risk of losing their homes because the Trudeau Liberals are kicking them off, or drastically reducing, the guaranteed income supplement.The GIS is a benefit for Canada’s poorest seniors; a benefit that does not even pay enough to keep people above the poverty line.The GIS allows seniors to top up their benefit with some employment income. When those seniors lost their employment because of the pandemic, they were told to apply for CERB.They were not told that the government would treat their pandemic benefits as an advance on next year’s GIS. Instead, they were told no one should fear applying and believed the Prime Minister when he campaigned on a promise to have everyone’s back until the pandemic is over.Chris is a 65 yearold who lost all his part-time work as a musician when the pandemic struck. When he got a little bump in income from the pandemic benefits, he put the extra money toward overdue bills, dental work and car repairs.After months of being off the pandemic benefits, he was informed that his GIS would be reduced by almost $500 a month, leaving him without enough money to pay the rent.Janet is 79 years old. She has a small business helping students find post-secondary placements. It makes a little money to help supplement her GIS but not enough to disqualify her from the program. When COVID-19 first struck, it took Janet several months to adapt her business to work remotely. In the meantime, she collected CERB. As result, her GIS is now being cut by about $300 a month, making her already frugal budget virtually impossible to live on.This is wrong. And it doesn’t need to happen. The government can simply decide to not count pandemic benefits in the calculation of GIS eligibility. The money for GIS payments is already in the budget.Shamefully, the Liberals have not even asked for any money back from businesses that received the wage subsidy while booking tidy profits. Montreal-based trucking firm TFI International saw its net income increase by double digits and increased dividend payments while taking almost $75 million in wage subsidy payments.The Royal Ottawa Golf Club saw a record operating surplus of $825,000 after taking a little over $1 million in wage subsidy funds. As a result, it is planning to repave its parking lot three years ahead of schedule.If the Liberals really want to make some pandemic money back, this is the place they should be looking rather than preying on vulnerable seniors.As I write, Parliament has yet to resume. You can rest assured that putting an end to this assault on seniors will be a top priority for me and the rest of the NDP team in Ottawa.

A lot of Canadian seniors are at risk of losing their homes because the Trudeau Liberals are kicking them off, or drastically reducing, the guaranteed income supplement.

The GIS is a benefit for Canada’s poorest seniors; a benefit that does not even pay enough to keep people above the poverty line.

The GIS allows seniors to top up their benefit with some employment income. When those seniors lost their employment because of the pandemic, they were told to apply for CERB.

The election no one wanted

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

The election no one wanted

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated in the electoral process — the polling staff, volunteers, candidates and especially to everyone who took time to vote. It is an honour to serve once again as the MP for Elmwood-Transcona.It is no secret that no one wanted this year’s federal election but Justin Trudeau. There were many reasons not to have an election when we did. I am proud to have led the charge in parliament to adapt our election rules for the pandemic. I shared people’s frustration that Justin Trudeau decided to move ahead before that work was done.Now we have to ask why a Prime Minister was both willing and able to call such an ill-advised election when it was clear an overwhelming majority of Canadians opposed it.By law, the next election should have been in October 2023, unless the Prime Minister lost the confidence of the House. Usually, that means losing a major vote in the House of Commons, like a budget vote, but historically the Prime Minister can decide he has lost the confidence of the House without a vote.This is because the monarchy has an ancient right to convene, prorogue and dissolve parliaments as it sees fit. Over time, the Governor General could do this only on the advice of the Prime Minister. So, while it is technically a right of the Crown, protected by the constitution, it is essentially a power of the Prime Minister.According to experts, that means a constitutional amendment would be required to limit this power and enforce fixed election dates, so there is no penalty for breaking the fixed election date law. That is how the Prime Minister was able to call the election.But why did he want to call an election when no one else wanted it? In Canada’s electoral system, political parties can form a majority government with less than 40 per cent of the vote and get 100 per cent of the power.In our voting system, a small bump in the polls can mean a lot of extra seats. Leaders are incentivized by that system to call early elections so they can steal a majority. Then they can do what they want without having to negotiate with others.Canadians thwarted Justin Trudeau’s cynical power grab in this past election; an outcome for which I am both grateful and proud. The next step is to change our voting system so that future Prime Ministers are not encouraged to choose needless elections over the hard work of forging a majority consensus in Parliament.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the electoral process — the polling staff, volunteers, candidates and especially to everyone who took time to vote. It is an honour to serve once again as the MP for Elmwood-Transcona.

It is no secret that no one wanted this year’s federal election but Justin Trudeau. 

There were many reasons not to have an election when we did. I am proud to have led the charge in parliament to adapt our election rules for the pandemic. I shared people’s frustration that Justin Trudeau decided to move ahead before that work was done.

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated in the electoral process — the polling staff, volunteers, candidates and especially to everyone who took time to vote. It is an honour to serve once again as the MP for Elmwood-Transcona.It is no secret that no one wanted this year’s federal election but Justin Trudeau. There were many reasons not to have an election when we did. I am proud to have led the charge in parliament to adapt our election rules for the pandemic. I shared people’s frustration that Justin Trudeau decided to move ahead before that work was done.Now we have to ask why a Prime Minister was both willing and able to call such an ill-advised election when it was clear an overwhelming majority of Canadians opposed it.By law, the next election should have been in October 2023, unless the Prime Minister lost the confidence of the House. Usually, that means losing a major vote in the House of Commons, like a budget vote, but historically the Prime Minister can decide he has lost the confidence of the House without a vote.This is because the monarchy has an ancient right to convene, prorogue and dissolve parliaments as it sees fit. Over time, the Governor General could do this only on the advice of the Prime Minister. So, while it is technically a right of the Crown, protected by the constitution, it is essentially a power of the Prime Minister.According to experts, that means a constitutional amendment would be required to limit this power and enforce fixed election dates, so there is no penalty for breaking the fixed election date law. That is how the Prime Minister was able to call the election.But why did he want to call an election when no one else wanted it? In Canada’s electoral system, political parties can form a majority government with less than 40 per cent of the vote and get 100 per cent of the power.In our voting system, a small bump in the polls can mean a lot of extra seats. Leaders are incentivized by that system to call early elections so they can steal a majority. Then they can do what they want without having to negotiate with others.Canadians thwarted Justin Trudeau’s cynical power grab in this past election; an outcome for which I am both grateful and proud. The next step is to change our voting system so that future Prime Ministers are not encouraged to choose needless elections over the hard work of forging a majority consensus in Parliament.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the electoral process — the polling staff, volunteers, candidates and especially to everyone who took time to vote. It is an honour to serve once again as the MP for Elmwood-Transcona.

It is no secret that no one wanted this year’s federal election but Justin Trudeau. 

There were many reasons not to have an election when we did. I am proud to have led the charge in parliament to adapt our election rules for the pandemic. I shared people’s frustration that Justin Trudeau decided to move ahead before that work was done.

No need for an election if parliament is working

Daniel Blaikie 5 minute read Preview

No need for an election if parliament is working

Daniel Blaikie 5 minute read Saturday, Jul. 3, 2021

As Parliament wound up heading into summer, speculation about a possible summer election was rampant. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and even though the leaders of every opposition party have said there should not be an election, the Prime Minister refuses to commit to an election-free summer. If he chooses to go ahead, we will have to hope that it goes far more smoothly than the recent election in Newfoundland and Labrador.An election would mark the end of one of the most unusual parliaments in Canadian history. The pandemic posed real challenges to the normal operations of Parliament, especially as the frequent travel of MPs suddenly meant they could become vectors of infection spreading the virus to communities across the country.There were bumps along the way, but the relatively rapid development of a virtual parliament allowed parliamentarians to hold government to account early in the pandemic and eventually to carry on with a more-or-less normal legislative process.The system meant far more accountability for the federal government than many provincial governments across the country.Nevertheless, like many Liberal governments before it, this government could not avoid scandal. New Democrats worked to hold the government to account for its misdeeds while putting the focus on the needs of people, rather than plunging the country into an election during an uncertain time.That the Prime Minister’s right-hand man, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau, was forced to resign over the WE Charity scandal shows that accountability is possible, even in a virtual parliament. Meanwhile, New Democrats were able to secure a living-benefit level for the CERB, payments to seniors, people living with disabilities and post-secondary students, and a meaningful step toward granting every Canadian 10 paid sick days per year.New Democrats also worked with partners such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to secure a 75 per cent wage subsidy. The only part of our plan the government did not adopt was restrictions on executive pay and dividends New Democrats believe were necessary to prevent abuse of the program. Recent reports in the Globe and Mail justify those concerns.Where the Conservative government in Manitoba has used its majority to cut legislative sittings and steamroll Manitobans with its agenda, the minority situation in Ottawa allowed for negotiations that improved the federal government’s pandemic response and made it pay for the most scandalous parts of its agenda.Of all the things that are wrong in Ottawa, the minority parliament is not one of them. While I hope the country can be spared an election while suffering a twin public health and economic crisis, I am optimistic that, if we do have an election, Canadians will once again choose a parliament that does not give 100 per cent of the power to a party with less than 40 per cent of the vote.

As Parliament wound up heading into summer, speculation about a possible summer election was rampant. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and even though the leaders of every opposition party have said there should not be an election, the Prime Minister refuses to commit to an election-free summer. 

If he chooses to go ahead, we will have to hope that it goes far more smoothly than the recent election in Newfoundland and Labrador.

An election would mark the end of one of the most unusual parliaments in Canadian history. The pandemic posed real challenges to the normal operations of Parliament, especially as the frequent travel of MPs suddenly meant they could become vectors of infection spreading the virus to communities across the country.

Saturday, Jul. 3, 2021

As Parliament wound up heading into summer, speculation about a possible summer election was rampant. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and even though the leaders of every opposition party have said there should not be an election, the Prime Minister refuses to commit to an election-free summer. If he chooses to go ahead, we will have to hope that it goes far more smoothly than the recent election in Newfoundland and Labrador.An election would mark the end of one of the most unusual parliaments in Canadian history. The pandemic posed real challenges to the normal operations of Parliament, especially as the frequent travel of MPs suddenly meant they could become vectors of infection spreading the virus to communities across the country.There were bumps along the way, but the relatively rapid development of a virtual parliament allowed parliamentarians to hold government to account early in the pandemic and eventually to carry on with a more-or-less normal legislative process.The system meant far more accountability for the federal government than many provincial governments across the country.Nevertheless, like many Liberal governments before it, this government could not avoid scandal. New Democrats worked to hold the government to account for its misdeeds while putting the focus on the needs of people, rather than plunging the country into an election during an uncertain time.That the Prime Minister’s right-hand man, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau, was forced to resign over the WE Charity scandal shows that accountability is possible, even in a virtual parliament. Meanwhile, New Democrats were able to secure a living-benefit level for the CERB, payments to seniors, people living with disabilities and post-secondary students, and a meaningful step toward granting every Canadian 10 paid sick days per year.New Democrats also worked with partners such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to secure a 75 per cent wage subsidy. The only part of our plan the government did not adopt was restrictions on executive pay and dividends New Democrats believe were necessary to prevent abuse of the program. Recent reports in the Globe and Mail justify those concerns.Where the Conservative government in Manitoba has used its majority to cut legislative sittings and steamroll Manitobans with its agenda, the minority situation in Ottawa allowed for negotiations that improved the federal government’s pandemic response and made it pay for the most scandalous parts of its agenda.Of all the things that are wrong in Ottawa, the minority parliament is not one of them. While I hope the country can be spared an election while suffering a twin public health and economic crisis, I am optimistic that, if we do have an election, Canadians will once again choose a parliament that does not give 100 per cent of the power to a party with less than 40 per cent of the vote.

As Parliament wound up heading into summer, speculation about a possible summer election was rampant. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and even though the leaders of every opposition party have said there should not be an election, the Prime Minister refuses to commit to an election-free summer. 

If he chooses to go ahead, we will have to hope that it goes far more smoothly than the recent election in Newfoundland and Labrador.

An election would mark the end of one of the most unusual parliaments in Canadian history. The pandemic posed real challenges to the normal operations of Parliament, especially as the frequent travel of MPs suddenly meant they could become vectors of infection spreading the virus to communities across the country.

Sick, tired and getting the runaround

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Preview

Sick, tired and getting the runaround

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, but some Canadians who cannot work due to illness have the frustration of government bureaucracy added to their pain.

The pandemic has not spared people from non-COIVD-related health problems such as cancer, heart attacks and other debilitating health issues. Qualifying workers without employer-provided benefits who become too ill to work can fall back on the Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefit.

The NDP, and now the House of Commons as a whole, has called for an extension of the EI sickness benefit to 50 weeks, but the government has kept the benefit at only 15 weeks; not enough time for all people to recover and return to work.

In some cases, people who exhaust their sickness benefit claims can qualify for up to four weeks of the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB); a program created by the government as an alternative to NDP calls for legislated paid sick days.

Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Canadians are fed up with trying to deal with government bureaucracy while attempting to deal with protecting themselves from COVID-19.

Canada’s wealthiest should pay larger share

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Canada’s wealthiest should pay larger share

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Tuesday, May. 11, 2021

Last month’s federal budget was a mixed bag.I was pleased to see a significant investment – $30 billion over five years – in making child care both more affordable and accessible across the country. The pandemic has made child care even more important than ever as employers look to attract parents back to the workplace, a situation that has disproportionately impacted women.Studies have shown that the economic benefits of easily accessible, affordable child care pay a good return on investment. Increased household incomes and the taxes paid on them help recover the costs of the program. While a meaningful new national child care strategy has been announced, it has not yet been delivered. New Democrats are needed in Parliament to hold the government’s feet to the fire and ensure the job gets done. It also important that we have New Democrats in Parliament to make sure that Canada’s wealthiest are the ones shouldering the cost of recovering from the pandemic.During the past year, when so many everyday Canadians, small businesses and workers across the country struggled financially, Canada’s billionaires increased their wealth by $78 billion. The gap between the super-rich and the average person grew sharply during the past year. Some 47 Canadian billionaires now control $270 billion in total wealth, while 5.5 million Canadian workers lost their jobs or had their hours cut in half during the pandemic’s peak.It is possible to tax these extraordinary profits to help pay for the support that so many Canadians need to get through this pandemic.In a recent Abacus poll, 80 per cent of Canadians agree with a wealth tax but, so far, the Liberals have failed to act. Instead, they announced a small tax on luxury cars and boats, expected to raise about $120 million per year over the next five years.The NDP has proposed a one-time tax on excessive pandemic profits for large corporations. Charging an additional 15 per cent on any profits over their pre-pandemic earnings would, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, raise an additional $8 billion.The PBO has also said that offshore tax havens continue to be used by the ultra-rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes... to the tune of $25 billion every year.If we want to rebalance the scales to make sure the wealthiest are paying their fair share, the Liberals’ little luxury tax won’t get the job done. We need a far more serious tax reform package to rebalance our tax system so the wealthy no longer get a free ride. New Democrats are fighting for those changes because we believe the cost of rebuilding after the pandemic should not fall disproportionately on Canada’s working people.

Last month’s federal budget was a mixed bag.

I was pleased to see a significant investment – $30 billion over five years – in making child care both more affordable and accessible across the country. 

The pandemic has made child care even more important than ever as employers look to attract parents back to the workplace, a situation that has disproportionately impacted women.

Tuesday, May. 11, 2021

Last month’s federal budget was a mixed bag.I was pleased to see a significant investment – $30 billion over five years – in making child care both more affordable and accessible across the country. The pandemic has made child care even more important than ever as employers look to attract parents back to the workplace, a situation that has disproportionately impacted women.Studies have shown that the economic benefits of easily accessible, affordable child care pay a good return on investment. Increased household incomes and the taxes paid on them help recover the costs of the program. While a meaningful new national child care strategy has been announced, it has not yet been delivered. New Democrats are needed in Parliament to hold the government’s feet to the fire and ensure the job gets done. It also important that we have New Democrats in Parliament to make sure that Canada’s wealthiest are the ones shouldering the cost of recovering from the pandemic.During the past year, when so many everyday Canadians, small businesses and workers across the country struggled financially, Canada’s billionaires increased their wealth by $78 billion. The gap between the super-rich and the average person grew sharply during the past year. Some 47 Canadian billionaires now control $270 billion in total wealth, while 5.5 million Canadian workers lost their jobs or had their hours cut in half during the pandemic’s peak.It is possible to tax these extraordinary profits to help pay for the support that so many Canadians need to get through this pandemic.In a recent Abacus poll, 80 per cent of Canadians agree with a wealth tax but, so far, the Liberals have failed to act. Instead, they announced a small tax on luxury cars and boats, expected to raise about $120 million per year over the next five years.The NDP has proposed a one-time tax on excessive pandemic profits for large corporations. Charging an additional 15 per cent on any profits over their pre-pandemic earnings would, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, raise an additional $8 billion.The PBO has also said that offshore tax havens continue to be used by the ultra-rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes... to the tune of $25 billion every year.If we want to rebalance the scales to make sure the wealthiest are paying their fair share, the Liberals’ little luxury tax won’t get the job done. We need a far more serious tax reform package to rebalance our tax system so the wealthy no longer get a free ride. New Democrats are fighting for those changes because we believe the cost of rebuilding after the pandemic should not fall disproportionately on Canada’s working people.

Last month’s federal budget was a mixed bag.

I was pleased to see a significant investment – $30 billion over five years – in making child care both more affordable and accessible across the country. 

The pandemic has made child care even more important than ever as employers look to attract parents back to the workplace, a situation that has disproportionately impacted women.

Extended EI sickness benefits needed

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Extended EI sickness benefits needed

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Saturday, Apr. 24, 2021

Thousands of Canadians have gotten sick or died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need a comprehensive EI sickness benefit to support Canadians who are unable to work. For years, the NDP has been calling for an extension of the benefit from 15 weeks to 50 weeks. It is an idea whose time has come. In this Parliament, the House of Commons has twice called for this extension, but the Liberal government inexplicably continues to ignore this call to help sick Canadians.The issue has become that much more pressing during the pandemic. There is still much to learn about the long-term impacts of contracting COVID-19. Estimates range, but it is thought that between 10 and 30 per cent of those who contract the virus develop post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. These self-described COVID long-haulers experience troubling and wide-ranging symptoms that can persist long after their initial infections. So far, research has identified over 200 symptoms possibly related to long COVID, some far worse than what was experienced immediately after COVID infection.Unfortunately, Canada has fallen behind many other countries who have set up specialized long-haul COVID clinics funded by the government. As a result, COVID long-haulers are navigating a patchwork medical system with a condition that is little-understood. I believe that governments must support those on their journeys to recovery as much as possible. It’s critical that we support all Canadians through the pandemic and that we not let those who continue to struggle with a positive diagnosis fall through the cracks.Relieving them of the financial burden created by being out of work due to post-acute COVID-19 syndrome would go a long way in achieving this. It would also help people with other illnesses whose medical treatment has been delayed by the pandemic and have used their 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits.Many Canadians have been struggling to stay afloat financially this past year. They need a government that will help them through their illness, not one that only helps them at the beginning.I have tried to push this issue on to the government agenda by introducing a Private Member’s Bill and by trying to amend pandemic Employment Insurance legislation, but so far to no avail. The government’s opposition to this important change has so far prevailed.The NDP is committed to fighting for Canadians who are struggling. We will continue to press for an increase in the sickness benefits of the Employment Insurance system and for the extension of regular sick leave to workers who presently do not have this benefit through their employers. It is vital to make sure sick Canadians do not escape the pandemic into poverty.

Thousands of Canadians have gotten sick or died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need a comprehensive EI sickness benefit to support Canadians who are unable to work. 

For years, the NDP has been calling for an extension of the benefit from 15 weeks to 50 weeks. It is an idea whose time has come. In this Parliament, the House of Commons has twice called for this extension, but the Liberal government inexplicably continues to ignore this call to help sick Canadians.

The issue has become that much more pressing during the pandemic. There is still much to learn about the long-term impacts of contracting COVID-19. 

Saturday, Apr. 24, 2021

Thousands of Canadians have gotten sick or died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need a comprehensive EI sickness benefit to support Canadians who are unable to work. For years, the NDP has been calling for an extension of the benefit from 15 weeks to 50 weeks. It is an idea whose time has come. In this Parliament, the House of Commons has twice called for this extension, but the Liberal government inexplicably continues to ignore this call to help sick Canadians.The issue has become that much more pressing during the pandemic. There is still much to learn about the long-term impacts of contracting COVID-19. Estimates range, but it is thought that between 10 and 30 per cent of those who contract the virus develop post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. These self-described COVID long-haulers experience troubling and wide-ranging symptoms that can persist long after their initial infections. So far, research has identified over 200 symptoms possibly related to long COVID, some far worse than what was experienced immediately after COVID infection.Unfortunately, Canada has fallen behind many other countries who have set up specialized long-haul COVID clinics funded by the government. As a result, COVID long-haulers are navigating a patchwork medical system with a condition that is little-understood. I believe that governments must support those on their journeys to recovery as much as possible. It’s critical that we support all Canadians through the pandemic and that we not let those who continue to struggle with a positive diagnosis fall through the cracks.Relieving them of the financial burden created by being out of work due to post-acute COVID-19 syndrome would go a long way in achieving this. It would also help people with other illnesses whose medical treatment has been delayed by the pandemic and have used their 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits.Many Canadians have been struggling to stay afloat financially this past year. They need a government that will help them through their illness, not one that only helps them at the beginning.I have tried to push this issue on to the government agenda by introducing a Private Member’s Bill and by trying to amend pandemic Employment Insurance legislation, but so far to no avail. The government’s opposition to this important change has so far prevailed.The NDP is committed to fighting for Canadians who are struggling. We will continue to press for an increase in the sickness benefits of the Employment Insurance system and for the extension of regular sick leave to workers who presently do not have this benefit through their employers. It is vital to make sure sick Canadians do not escape the pandemic into poverty.

Thousands of Canadians have gotten sick or died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need a comprehensive EI sickness benefit to support Canadians who are unable to work. 

For years, the NDP has been calling for an extension of the benefit from 15 weeks to 50 weeks. It is an idea whose time has come. In this Parliament, the House of Commons has twice called for this extension, but the Liberal government inexplicably continues to ignore this call to help sick Canadians.

The issue has become that much more pressing during the pandemic. There is still much to learn about the long-term impacts of contracting COVID-19. 

Ideological blind spots hamper vaccine rollout

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Ideological blind spots hamper vaccine rollout

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Saturday, Mar. 13, 2021

Vaccine rollout is the single-most important pillar to getting life back to normal. That said, the rollout has not gone smoothly.We have seen the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives drag their feet on hiring a rollout co-ordinator and fail to make vaccination appointments easily available in our communities. I hope that by the time you read this, there will more options for seniors who may have difficulty getting to the Winnipeg Convention Centre.Federally, we fell far behind our allies in rolling out vaccinations. Even as big pharmaceutical companies asked for funding and special tax treatment, the Liberals continued to defend keeping purchase agreements private. New Democrats have called for a transparent federal strategy that includes deploying our military across the country to assist in administering the vaccine as quickly as possible.Of course, that can’t happen if we don’t have enough doses, and Canada has not had vaccine production capability since publicly-owned Connaught Labs was sold by the Mulroney Conservatives.This is where political differences translate into concrete practical consequences. Among the three main national political parties, the NDP stands alone in calling for a publicly owned domestic drug manufacturer.This would allow Canada to produce vaccines that would serve Canadians first and make us less dependent on international supplies that can be diverted by governments trying to serve their own populations.It would also give less leverage to pharmaceutical corporations seeking preferential treatment, even though they are among the most profitable companies in the world already.Another way Liberals have been putting drug companies ahead of the public interest is by withholding support at the World Trade Organization for an initiative that would relax intellectual property rights around the vaccines so that more countries could begin to produce it for themselves.Joining the effort at the WTO might frustrate big pharmaceutical companies, but it would help increase the international supply of vaccine at no cost to Canada and may even make it easier for Canada to produce vaccine domestically. The ideological commitment by Liberals and Conservatives to privatization and free markets put Canada on a vulnerable footing heading into the pandemic, and it is standing in the way of some pretty common-sense solutions that other countries have already adoptedNew Democrats don’t suffer from the same ideological blind spots. We are the voice in parliament of Canadians who believe Canada should be looking after its own with publicly owned manufacturing and helping other countries by relaxing intellectual property rights, especially since much of COVID-19 research was paid for with public funds.

Vaccine rollout is the single-most important pillar to getting life back to normal. That said, the rollout has not gone smoothly.

We have seen the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives drag their feet on hiring a rollout co-ordinator and fail to make vaccination appointments easily available in our communities. I hope that by the time you read this, there will more options for seniors who may have difficulty getting to the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Federally, we fell far behind our allies in rolling out vaccinations. Even as big pharmaceutical companies asked for funding and special tax treatment, the Liberals continued to defend keeping purchase agreements private. 

Saturday, Mar. 13, 2021

Vaccine rollout is the single-most important pillar to getting life back to normal. That said, the rollout has not gone smoothly.We have seen the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives drag their feet on hiring a rollout co-ordinator and fail to make vaccination appointments easily available in our communities. I hope that by the time you read this, there will more options for seniors who may have difficulty getting to the Winnipeg Convention Centre.Federally, we fell far behind our allies in rolling out vaccinations. Even as big pharmaceutical companies asked for funding and special tax treatment, the Liberals continued to defend keeping purchase agreements private. New Democrats have called for a transparent federal strategy that includes deploying our military across the country to assist in administering the vaccine as quickly as possible.Of course, that can’t happen if we don’t have enough doses, and Canada has not had vaccine production capability since publicly-owned Connaught Labs was sold by the Mulroney Conservatives.This is where political differences translate into concrete practical consequences. Among the three main national political parties, the NDP stands alone in calling for a publicly owned domestic drug manufacturer.This would allow Canada to produce vaccines that would serve Canadians first and make us less dependent on international supplies that can be diverted by governments trying to serve their own populations.It would also give less leverage to pharmaceutical corporations seeking preferential treatment, even though they are among the most profitable companies in the world already.Another way Liberals have been putting drug companies ahead of the public interest is by withholding support at the World Trade Organization for an initiative that would relax intellectual property rights around the vaccines so that more countries could begin to produce it for themselves.Joining the effort at the WTO might frustrate big pharmaceutical companies, but it would help increase the international supply of vaccine at no cost to Canada and may even make it easier for Canada to produce vaccine domestically. The ideological commitment by Liberals and Conservatives to privatization and free markets put Canada on a vulnerable footing heading into the pandemic, and it is standing in the way of some pretty common-sense solutions that other countries have already adoptedNew Democrats don’t suffer from the same ideological blind spots. We are the voice in parliament of Canadians who believe Canada should be looking after its own with publicly owned manufacturing and helping other countries by relaxing intellectual property rights, especially since much of COVID-19 research was paid for with public funds.

Vaccine rollout is the single-most important pillar to getting life back to normal. That said, the rollout has not gone smoothly.

We have seen the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives drag their feet on hiring a rollout co-ordinator and fail to make vaccination appointments easily available in our communities. I hope that by the time you read this, there will more options for seniors who may have difficulty getting to the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Federally, we fell far behind our allies in rolling out vaccinations. Even as big pharmaceutical companies asked for funding and special tax treatment, the Liberals continued to defend keeping purchase agreements private. 

Near miss for Manitoba’s construction industry

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Near miss for Manitoba’s construction industry

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

 

On a job site, reckless behaviour can do serious harm. A ‘near miss’ is when no one is seriously injured but someone easily could have if things had turned out just a little differently.The Manitoba construction industry just had a near miss. A reckless Progressive Conservative government almost ripped up the Construction Industry Wages Act which has ensured a level playing field for contract bidding and fair wages. for over 50 years.When Manitoba’s Minister of Finance, Scott Fielding, sent a letter to industry leaders just before Christmas, the reaction was swift and clear:“Why would government throw a hand grenade at the industry ... in the middle of a pandemic when we’re the crown jewel for their economy?” said Peter Wightman, executive director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba.Sometimes the timing of an incident on a job site might be a mystery, but the people paying attention can tell beforehand that something bad is going to happen eventually.Consider the reasons Fielding gave for government’s decision to tear up the act: “The current legislation adds a layer of complexity and administrative burden on the construction industry that doesn’t exist in other provinces.” In other words, he thought he was just cutting red tape.Conservatives love to talk about lowering taxes and cutting red tape. The problem is that one person’s red tape is often someone else’s safe workplace and wages.This recent incident is an example of what happens when governments take the view that all regulation is bad, no matter what, rather than asking what the purpose of the rules are, whether the purpose is good and whether the rules serve their purpose.Manitoba’s building trade unions could have easily explained the problems that repealing CIWA would create, but no one bothered to call them. It is offensive that the government would not think to consult workers themselves about these changes. It was not until employers objected that the government backed down.If the PCs had asked  ‘how do we support fair wages and working conditions for workers?’ they never would have fooled themselves into thinking a repeal of CIWA was a good idea.The fact that they continue to press forward with ill-advised changes to the ratio of journeypersons to apprentices and eliminating the apprenticeship wage schedule shows how determined they are to ignore the concerns of workers.We may have had a near miss on CIWA, but the hazard has yet to be removed from the Legislature.- Before his election to the House of Commons, Daniel Blaikie worked as a journeyman construction electrician. 

On a job site, reckless behaviour can do serious harm. A ‘near miss’ is when no one is seriously injured but someone easily could have if things had turned out just a little differently.

The Manitoba construction industry just had a near miss. A reckless Progressive Conservative government almost ripped up the Construction Industry Wages Act which has ensured a level playing field for contract bidding and fair wages for over 50 years.

Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

 

On a job site, reckless behaviour can do serious harm. A ‘near miss’ is when no one is seriously injured but someone easily could have if things had turned out just a little differently.The Manitoba construction industry just had a near miss. A reckless Progressive Conservative government almost ripped up the Construction Industry Wages Act which has ensured a level playing field for contract bidding and fair wages. for over 50 years.When Manitoba’s Minister of Finance, Scott Fielding, sent a letter to industry leaders just before Christmas, the reaction was swift and clear:“Why would government throw a hand grenade at the industry ... in the middle of a pandemic when we’re the crown jewel for their economy?” said Peter Wightman, executive director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba.Sometimes the timing of an incident on a job site might be a mystery, but the people paying attention can tell beforehand that something bad is going to happen eventually.Consider the reasons Fielding gave for government’s decision to tear up the act: “The current legislation adds a layer of complexity and administrative burden on the construction industry that doesn’t exist in other provinces.” In other words, he thought he was just cutting red tape.Conservatives love to talk about lowering taxes and cutting red tape. The problem is that one person’s red tape is often someone else’s safe workplace and wages.This recent incident is an example of what happens when governments take the view that all regulation is bad, no matter what, rather than asking what the purpose of the rules are, whether the purpose is good and whether the rules serve their purpose.Manitoba’s building trade unions could have easily explained the problems that repealing CIWA would create, but no one bothered to call them. It is offensive that the government would not think to consult workers themselves about these changes. It was not until employers objected that the government backed down.If the PCs had asked  ‘how do we support fair wages and working conditions for workers?’ they never would have fooled themselves into thinking a repeal of CIWA was a good idea.The fact that they continue to press forward with ill-advised changes to the ratio of journeypersons to apprentices and eliminating the apprenticeship wage schedule shows how determined they are to ignore the concerns of workers.We may have had a near miss on CIWA, but the hazard has yet to be removed from the Legislature.- Before his election to the House of Commons, Daniel Blaikie worked as a journeyman construction electrician. 

On a job site, reckless behaviour can do serious harm. A ‘near miss’ is when no one is seriously injured but someone easily could have if things had turned out just a little differently.

The Manitoba construction industry just had a near miss. A reckless Progressive Conservative government almost ripped up the Construction Industry Wages Act which has ensured a level playing field for contract bidding and fair wages for over 50 years.

Seniors have earned respect, not poverty

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Seniors have earned respect, not poverty

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

The pandemic has been hard on Canada’s seniors in many ways —  threats to their health, isolation from friends and families and, for many, it has put an extra strain on budgets that were already tight before COVID-19.As Canada rebuilds coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to not only repair the damage done during lockdown, but to address longstanding problems such as the inadequate pensions of so many Canadian seniors.We know we can do it, because we have done it before. In the 20 years leading up to the big Liberal budget cuts of 1995, seniors were progressively moving out of poverty toward a liveable income. Since then, however, the trend has reversed. Statistics Canada tells us that the rate at which Canadian seniors are slipping below the poverty line increases every year. The rate is faster for seniors than for any other low-income demographic.This is no surprise to anyone who has seen the pitiful increases in CPP benefits, including supplementary benefits such as the Old Age Supplement (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).To offset inflation, these government programs are adjusted every year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The trick is that CPI is not a cost-of-living index, which would track the changing cost of a minimum standard of living. Instead, CPI measures price changes in the average bundle of goods and services.Low-income seniors are not buying an average bundle. They spend a higher percentage of their smaller incomes on shelter, food and transportation. If the price of these things goes up faster than the average bundle, then their costs increase faster than the CPI. Over a 25-year period, these small differences have created a big gap between pension rates and the cost of living. We are long past due for an update.For many years, meaningful increases in CPP benefits have been a key part of the federal NDP’s election platform. Conservatives usually dismiss these proposals as an “increase in payroll taxes”. New Democrats do not see this is a simple tax; it is an investment in our local economies and shows respect for the dignity of our seniors.In the last election, the Liberals promised to raise the OAS benefit... but only for Canadians aged 75 and older. It was supposed to have taken effect in July 2020 but was put on hold because of the pandemic.New Democrats recognize that low-income seniors need more, not less, income support during the pandemic. We also know that seniors aged 65 to 74 deserve to see an increase in their OAS whether we have a pandemic or not. During a telephone town hall I hosted for Elmwood-Transcona residents in November, 89 per cent of respondents to a straw poll agreed that any increase should apply to all seniors, not just those aged 75 and older. I was glad to see such a high level of support and will continue to fight for better pensions in Parliament.

The pandemic has been hard on Canada’s seniors in many ways —  threats to their health, isolation from friends and families and, for many, it has put an extra strain on budgets that were already tight before COVID-19.

As Canada rebuilds coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to not only repair the damage done during lockdown, but to address longstanding problems such as the inadequate pensions of so many Canadian seniors.

We know we can do it, because we have done it before. In the 20 years leading up to the big Liberal budget cuts of 1995, seniors were progressively moving out of poverty toward a liveable income. Since then, however, the trend has reversed. 

Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

The pandemic has been hard on Canada’s seniors in many ways —  threats to their health, isolation from friends and families and, for many, it has put an extra strain on budgets that were already tight before COVID-19.As Canada rebuilds coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to not only repair the damage done during lockdown, but to address longstanding problems such as the inadequate pensions of so many Canadian seniors.We know we can do it, because we have done it before. In the 20 years leading up to the big Liberal budget cuts of 1995, seniors were progressively moving out of poverty toward a liveable income. Since then, however, the trend has reversed. Statistics Canada tells us that the rate at which Canadian seniors are slipping below the poverty line increases every year. The rate is faster for seniors than for any other low-income demographic.This is no surprise to anyone who has seen the pitiful increases in CPP benefits, including supplementary benefits such as the Old Age Supplement (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).To offset inflation, these government programs are adjusted every year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The trick is that CPI is not a cost-of-living index, which would track the changing cost of a minimum standard of living. Instead, CPI measures price changes in the average bundle of goods and services.Low-income seniors are not buying an average bundle. They spend a higher percentage of their smaller incomes on shelter, food and transportation. If the price of these things goes up faster than the average bundle, then their costs increase faster than the CPI. Over a 25-year period, these small differences have created a big gap between pension rates and the cost of living. We are long past due for an update.For many years, meaningful increases in CPP benefits have been a key part of the federal NDP’s election platform. Conservatives usually dismiss these proposals as an “increase in payroll taxes”. New Democrats do not see this is a simple tax; it is an investment in our local economies and shows respect for the dignity of our seniors.In the last election, the Liberals promised to raise the OAS benefit... but only for Canadians aged 75 and older. It was supposed to have taken effect in July 2020 but was put on hold because of the pandemic.New Democrats recognize that low-income seniors need more, not less, income support during the pandemic. We also know that seniors aged 65 to 74 deserve to see an increase in their OAS whether we have a pandemic or not. During a telephone town hall I hosted for Elmwood-Transcona residents in November, 89 per cent of respondents to a straw poll agreed that any increase should apply to all seniors, not just those aged 75 and older. I was glad to see such a high level of support and will continue to fight for better pensions in Parliament.

The pandemic has been hard on Canada’s seniors in many ways —  threats to their health, isolation from friends and families and, for many, it has put an extra strain on budgets that were already tight before COVID-19.

As Canada rebuilds coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to not only repair the damage done during lockdown, but to address longstanding problems such as the inadequate pensions of so many Canadian seniors.

We know we can do it, because we have done it before. In the 20 years leading up to the big Liberal budget cuts of 1995, seniors were progressively moving out of poverty toward a liveable income. Since then, however, the trend has reversed. 

What’s the legacy of 2020?

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 6 minute read Preview

What’s the legacy of 2020?

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 6 minute read Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

The year 2020 is certainly one for the history books, complete with dark clouds and silver linings.The pandemic has been hard on all of us, though we have each experienced it in our own unique way.Especially difficult has been the loss of loved ones; some to COVID-19, some to other causes but whose families were prevented from grieving and comforting each other in the usual ways.Grappling with isolation and anxiety was an unwelcome theme of this past year for far too many people all over the world.In the thick of it all, we saw health-care workers stretched thin but determined to care for the people in our community. Even when our government failed at times to support them, they were there to support us. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their ongoing service.Workers in the food and transportation industries, municipal and postal services and other essential industries kept things going, while the rest of us struggled to do our jobs very differently or to cope with losing those jobs altogether.Parents developed a deeper appreciation for the skilled work of teachers and early childhood educators during this time. Thank you to them for the work they do.What’s more — the essential role of child care in our economy was put in the spotlight. As we plan for recovery, we can no longer tolerate the same hodgepodge approach to child care.Over the last year, we saw how existing weaknesses in our social safety net led to COVID-19 having a disproportionate impact on women, people living with disabilities and racialized communities. When millions of Canadians suddenly found themselves out of work, we rallied behind them with an income support program that avoided the worst-case scenario of cascading bankruptcies. For the first time, workers across the country have access to 10 days of paid sick leave; a win I am pushing to make permanent.No doubt, this has all cost a lot of money. As we rebuild coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to define the kind of Canada we want to live in, what we are willing to pay for it, and who we trust to build it. The usual political voices, who habitually serve the interests of the rich and powerful, are already telling us we cannot afford it. They want you to believe we cannot afford quality long-term care for your mother, that most people living with disabilities must live in poverty, and that the affordable child care working families need to make ends meet must remain out of reach. I disagree.These voices are the same ones that relentlessly call for corporate tax cuts and defend tax havens for the likes of people who own properties in faraway places like Costa Rica. If we invest these revenues instead, we can create employment and make it easier and more affordable to get the things we need. That is the focus I want to see when we turn to rebuilding Canada. That is how we can turn a terrible year into a positive legacy. 

The year 2020 is certainly one for the history books, complete with dark clouds and silver linings.

The pandemic has been hard on all of us, though we have each experienced it in our own unique way.

Especially difficult has been the loss of loved ones; some to COVID-19, some to other causes but whose families were prevented from grieving and comforting each other in the usual ways.

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

The year 2020 is certainly one for the history books, complete with dark clouds and silver linings.The pandemic has been hard on all of us, though we have each experienced it in our own unique way.Especially difficult has been the loss of loved ones; some to COVID-19, some to other causes but whose families were prevented from grieving and comforting each other in the usual ways.Grappling with isolation and anxiety was an unwelcome theme of this past year for far too many people all over the world.In the thick of it all, we saw health-care workers stretched thin but determined to care for the people in our community. Even when our government failed at times to support them, they were there to support us. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their ongoing service.Workers in the food and transportation industries, municipal and postal services and other essential industries kept things going, while the rest of us struggled to do our jobs very differently or to cope with losing those jobs altogether.Parents developed a deeper appreciation for the skilled work of teachers and early childhood educators during this time. Thank you to them for the work they do.What’s more — the essential role of child care in our economy was put in the spotlight. As we plan for recovery, we can no longer tolerate the same hodgepodge approach to child care.Over the last year, we saw how existing weaknesses in our social safety net led to COVID-19 having a disproportionate impact on women, people living with disabilities and racialized communities. When millions of Canadians suddenly found themselves out of work, we rallied behind them with an income support program that avoided the worst-case scenario of cascading bankruptcies. For the first time, workers across the country have access to 10 days of paid sick leave; a win I am pushing to make permanent.No doubt, this has all cost a lot of money. As we rebuild coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to define the kind of Canada we want to live in, what we are willing to pay for it, and who we trust to build it. The usual political voices, who habitually serve the interests of the rich and powerful, are already telling us we cannot afford it. They want you to believe we cannot afford quality long-term care for your mother, that most people living with disabilities must live in poverty, and that the affordable child care working families need to make ends meet must remain out of reach. I disagree.These voices are the same ones that relentlessly call for corporate tax cuts and defend tax havens for the likes of people who own properties in faraway places like Costa Rica. If we invest these revenues instead, we can create employment and make it easier and more affordable to get the things we need. That is the focus I want to see when we turn to rebuilding Canada. That is how we can turn a terrible year into a positive legacy. 

The year 2020 is certainly one for the history books, complete with dark clouds and silver linings.

The pandemic has been hard on all of us, though we have each experienced it in our own unique way.

Especially difficult has been the loss of loved ones; some to COVID-19, some to other causes but whose families were prevented from grieving and comforting each other in the usual ways.

Stop assault on northeast Winnipeg health care

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 4 minute read Preview

Stop assault on northeast Winnipeg health care

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 4 minute read Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

On Dec. 4, the CancerCare Manitoba oncology clinic at Concordia Hospital will shut its doors permanently, making it impossible for cancer patients living in northeast Winnipeg and the surrounding area to get care close to home.The elected members of the provincial government say that this is about improving patient care, but the facts tell a different story.Nurses employed by CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) wrote a letter to Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen stating that these cuts are “contrary to what CCMB’s goals of patient care are and would most certainly increase the burden for the people [they] are trying to help”.It does not seem to have changed his mind. Perhaps that comes as no surprise.This is the same health minister who recently decided to ignore the advice of 200 doctors who dared to question the provincial government’s COVID-19 response, choosing instead to accuse them of having ulterior motives.The concern of CancerCare nurses is not the only sign. The government’s own bid for high-priced private consultants in 2019 puts a heavy emphasis on fiscal performance and oversight, rather than on patient care.One of the first acts of the provincial government in 2016 was to cancel the shovel-ready expansion of Park Manor, wasting years of work and investment. As we fight a pandemic that has been particularly lethal in long-term care facilities, Park Manor remains one of the few LTC facilities with four-bed rooms.Not long after that, our community had to fight tooth and nail to keep 24/7 access to healthcare when the same government announced its intention to close the Concordia Hospital emergency room.It is one thing for a government to make mistakes, it is something else when they refuse to learn from them. People in northeast Winnipeg should not have to constantly fight to keep the health services they deserve.It is possible to maintain these services in our community, but it takes a government committed to public services.I have had it with this government’s unrelenting assault on healthcare in our community and I am not alone. If you feel the same way, I encourage you to check out Protect Health Care in Northeast Winnipeg on Facebook and sign their petition at change.org

On Dec. 4, the CancerCare Manitoba oncology clinic at Concordia Hospital will shut its doors permanently, making it impossible for cancer patients living in northeast Winnipeg and the surrounding area to get care close to home.

The elected members of the provincial government say that this is about improving patient care, but the facts tell a different story.

Nurses employed by CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) wrote a letter to Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen stating that these cuts are “contrary to what CCMB’s goals of patient care are and would most certainly increase the burden for the people [they] are trying to help”.

Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

On Dec. 4, the CancerCare Manitoba oncology clinic at Concordia Hospital will shut its doors permanently, making it impossible for cancer patients living in northeast Winnipeg and the surrounding area to get care close to home.The elected members of the provincial government say that this is about improving patient care, but the facts tell a different story.Nurses employed by CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) wrote a letter to Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen stating that these cuts are “contrary to what CCMB’s goals of patient care are and would most certainly increase the burden for the people [they] are trying to help”.It does not seem to have changed his mind. Perhaps that comes as no surprise.This is the same health minister who recently decided to ignore the advice of 200 doctors who dared to question the provincial government’s COVID-19 response, choosing instead to accuse them of having ulterior motives.The concern of CancerCare nurses is not the only sign. The government’s own bid for high-priced private consultants in 2019 puts a heavy emphasis on fiscal performance and oversight, rather than on patient care.One of the first acts of the provincial government in 2016 was to cancel the shovel-ready expansion of Park Manor, wasting years of work and investment. As we fight a pandemic that has been particularly lethal in long-term care facilities, Park Manor remains one of the few LTC facilities with four-bed rooms.Not long after that, our community had to fight tooth and nail to keep 24/7 access to healthcare when the same government announced its intention to close the Concordia Hospital emergency room.It is one thing for a government to make mistakes, it is something else when they refuse to learn from them. People in northeast Winnipeg should not have to constantly fight to keep the health services they deserve.It is possible to maintain these services in our community, but it takes a government committed to public services.I have had it with this government’s unrelenting assault on healthcare in our community and I am not alone. If you feel the same way, I encourage you to check out Protect Health Care in Northeast Winnipeg on Facebook and sign their petition at change.org

On Dec. 4, the CancerCare Manitoba oncology clinic at Concordia Hospital will shut its doors permanently, making it impossible for cancer patients living in northeast Winnipeg and the surrounding area to get care close to home.

The elected members of the provincial government say that this is about improving patient care, but the facts tell a different story.

Nurses employed by CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) wrote a letter to Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen stating that these cuts are “contrary to what CCMB’s goals of patient care are and would most certainly increase the burden for the people [they] are trying to help”.

Still optimistic after five years as your MP

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Still optimistic after five years as your MP

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Last week marked five years since the Oct. 19, 2015 federal election. On that day, it was my honour to be elected the member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona. I want express my gratitude once again for the opportunity to serve our community.I was motivated to run out of a deep conviction that good public policy can make a real difference in people’s lives ... and that, far too often, governments in Ottawa were putting the interests of banks and large corporations ahead of the interests of working people and Canada’s most vulnerable.How else can we explain the failure of so many federal governments, of different stripes, to move ahead on a national pharmacare plan? Many studies have shown that Canadians already pay more for prescription drugs every year than a universal, public program would cost. Low estimates say Canadians would save at least $4 billion per year with such a plan, yet Conservatives oppose it and Liberals have dragged their heels for over 20 years.How else can we explain the failure of so many federal governments, of different stripes, to protect workers’ pensions? Despite repeated NDP proposals to change Canada’s corporate bankruptcy laws and give workers their due, Liberals and Conservatives continue to protect a regime that wrecked the retirement of workers like those at Sears.The last five years produced some unexpected events as well. After the Progressive Conservatives formed a government in Manitoba, the Concordia Hospital emergency room was suddenly on the chopping block. I am proud of my work with the Save the Concordia ER citizens’ group whose campaign forced the government to back down and maintain 24/7 access to health care in northeast Winnipeg.The pandemic was certainly unexpected and continues to raise new challenges. As the NDP’s critic of employment and workforce development, I am proud to be part of the NDP negotiating team that secured a $2,000/month benefit for out-of-work Canadians because of the pandemic, support for students, seniors, people living with disabilities and a first-of-its-kind paid sick leave for workers across the country.That is what it means to make Parliament work for people, something too often forgotten in the government back rooms of Ottawa where scandals are made.The struggles and stories of people in Elmwood-Transcona informed my approach to those negotiations and helped make a real difference for people not only here at home, but right across the country. That is something we should all be proud of. 

Last week marked five years since the Oct. 19, 2015 federal election. On that day, it was my honour to be elected the member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona. I want express my gratitude once again for the opportunity to serve our community.

I was motivated to run out of a deep conviction that good public policy can make a real difference in people’s lives ... and that, far too often, governments in Ottawa were putting the interests of banks and large corporations ahead of the interests of working people and Canada’s most vulnerable.

How else can we explain the failure of so many federal governments, of different stripes, to move ahead on a national pharmacare plan? 

Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Last week marked five years since the Oct. 19, 2015 federal election. On that day, it was my honour to be elected the member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona. I want express my gratitude once again for the opportunity to serve our community.I was motivated to run out of a deep conviction that good public policy can make a real difference in people’s lives ... and that, far too often, governments in Ottawa were putting the interests of banks and large corporations ahead of the interests of working people and Canada’s most vulnerable.How else can we explain the failure of so many federal governments, of different stripes, to move ahead on a national pharmacare plan? Many studies have shown that Canadians already pay more for prescription drugs every year than a universal, public program would cost. Low estimates say Canadians would save at least $4 billion per year with such a plan, yet Conservatives oppose it and Liberals have dragged their heels for over 20 years.How else can we explain the failure of so many federal governments, of different stripes, to protect workers’ pensions? Despite repeated NDP proposals to change Canada’s corporate bankruptcy laws and give workers their due, Liberals and Conservatives continue to protect a regime that wrecked the retirement of workers like those at Sears.The last five years produced some unexpected events as well. After the Progressive Conservatives formed a government in Manitoba, the Concordia Hospital emergency room was suddenly on the chopping block. I am proud of my work with the Save the Concordia ER citizens’ group whose campaign forced the government to back down and maintain 24/7 access to health care in northeast Winnipeg.The pandemic was certainly unexpected and continues to raise new challenges. As the NDP’s critic of employment and workforce development, I am proud to be part of the NDP negotiating team that secured a $2,000/month benefit for out-of-work Canadians because of the pandemic, support for students, seniors, people living with disabilities and a first-of-its-kind paid sick leave for workers across the country.That is what it means to make Parliament work for people, something too often forgotten in the government back rooms of Ottawa where scandals are made.The struggles and stories of people in Elmwood-Transcona informed my approach to those negotiations and helped make a real difference for people not only here at home, but right across the country. That is something we should all be proud of. 

Last week marked five years since the Oct. 19, 2015 federal election. On that day, it was my honour to be elected the member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona. I want express my gratitude once again for the opportunity to serve our community.

I was motivated to run out of a deep conviction that good public policy can make a real difference in people’s lives ... and that, far too often, governments in Ottawa were putting the interests of banks and large corporations ahead of the interests of working people and Canada’s most vulnerable.

How else can we explain the failure of so many federal governments, of different stripes, to move ahead on a national pharmacare plan? 

Seniors cannot wait any longer for better care

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Seniors cannot wait any longer for better care

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Friday, Sep. 25, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the weak spots in Canada’s social safety net and in the institutions we all rely on. Tragically, the people most vulnerable to the devastating consequences of that weakness are our seniors.Seniors living in Canada’s long-term care sector were hit hardest with more than 840 outbreaks reported in LTC facilities and retirement homes up to May 25. There have been more since.Those outbreaks accounted for more than 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in the country, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. On average, deaths in LTC facilities accounted for only 42 per cent of COVID-related deaths in OECD countries. Canada is standing out but for the wrong reason.Even before the pandemic, our LTC system was under strain. Demand is already greater than capacity. To keep up with the growing demand we will have to double the number of LTC beds by 2035.In Manitoba, short-term thinking by the provincial government has compounded the problem. Park Manor is one of the few remaining LTC facilities in Winnipeg where some residents live four to a room. At a time when Manitoba should have been building more state-of-the-art LTC beds, the provincial government mothballed a shovel-ready expansion of Park Manor instead of investing in the facilities we need to care for our elders safely.We can, and we must, do a better job of long-term care across the country. Before the pandemic and since, the NDP has advocated in Ottawa for meaningful federal investment in long-term care.The NDP has also been the only party in the House of Commons to stand up to the privatization agenda that has led to more and more corporate-led seniors care.While Liberals and Conservatives praise the so-called “innovation” of for-profit care, a July 2020 study in the Canadian Medical Association journal tells a different story. It found:• Higher rates of infection and death in for-profit LTC facilities;• Outbreaks were more serious in LTC facilities owned by chains; • For-profit homes are less likely to meet current standards; • For-profit homes are more likely to have lower staffing levels.The time to fix long-term care in Canada is long past due. We owe it to Canada’s seniors to get it right.To get the job done in Manitoba we need a provincial government that believes in public services and a government in Ottawa that is prepared to invest in the not-for-profit solutions that get results.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the weak spots in Canada’s social safety net and in the institutions we all rely on. Tragically, the people most vulnerable to the devastating consequences of that weakness are our seniors.

Seniors living in Canada’s long-term care sector were hit hardest with more than 840 outbreaks reported in LTC facilities and retirement homes up to May 25. There have been more since.

Those outbreaks accounted for more than 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in the country, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. On average, deaths in LTC facilities accounted for only 42 per cent of COVID-related deaths in OECD countries. Canada is standing out but for the wrong reason.

Friday, Sep. 25, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the weak spots in Canada’s social safety net and in the institutions we all rely on. Tragically, the people most vulnerable to the devastating consequences of that weakness are our seniors.Seniors living in Canada’s long-term care sector were hit hardest with more than 840 outbreaks reported in LTC facilities and retirement homes up to May 25. There have been more since.Those outbreaks accounted for more than 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in the country, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. On average, deaths in LTC facilities accounted for only 42 per cent of COVID-related deaths in OECD countries. Canada is standing out but for the wrong reason.Even before the pandemic, our LTC system was under strain. Demand is already greater than capacity. To keep up with the growing demand we will have to double the number of LTC beds by 2035.In Manitoba, short-term thinking by the provincial government has compounded the problem. Park Manor is one of the few remaining LTC facilities in Winnipeg where some residents live four to a room. At a time when Manitoba should have been building more state-of-the-art LTC beds, the provincial government mothballed a shovel-ready expansion of Park Manor instead of investing in the facilities we need to care for our elders safely.We can, and we must, do a better job of long-term care across the country. Before the pandemic and since, the NDP has advocated in Ottawa for meaningful federal investment in long-term care.The NDP has also been the only party in the House of Commons to stand up to the privatization agenda that has led to more and more corporate-led seniors care.While Liberals and Conservatives praise the so-called “innovation” of for-profit care, a July 2020 study in the Canadian Medical Association journal tells a different story. It found:• Higher rates of infection and death in for-profit LTC facilities;• Outbreaks were more serious in LTC facilities owned by chains; • For-profit homes are less likely to meet current standards; • For-profit homes are more likely to have lower staffing levels.The time to fix long-term care in Canada is long past due. We owe it to Canada’s seniors to get it right.To get the job done in Manitoba we need a provincial government that believes in public services and a government in Ottawa that is prepared to invest in the not-for-profit solutions that get results.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the weak spots in Canada’s social safety net and in the institutions we all rely on. Tragically, the people most vulnerable to the devastating consequences of that weakness are our seniors.

Seniors living in Canada’s long-term care sector were hit hardest with more than 840 outbreaks reported in LTC facilities and retirement homes up to May 25. There have been more since.

Those outbreaks accounted for more than 80 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in the country, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. On average, deaths in LTC facilities accounted for only 42 per cent of COVID-related deaths in OECD countries. Canada is standing out but for the wrong reason.

Invest in child care now, not later

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 7 minute read Preview

Invest in child care now, not later

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 7 minute read Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

As businesses in Elmwood–Transcona and the economy reopen, parents have to make the difficult decision between going to work and taking care of their kids.Finding quality, affordable child care was already hard. With the pandemic requiring physical distancing in schools and daycares, it has only gotten harder.It is a challenge that especially puts pressure on women. Statistics Canada tells us women make up about half of Canada’s workforce but their participation in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years.Failing to find an answer to this public policy problem is not just an issue for women who want to pursue the rewards of a career. It poses a real financial threat to single-parent families and families that rely on two incomes to pay their bills.It is also a problem for many employers who depend on the education, training and experience of parents who would like to work, but will have to stay home if they cannot secure appropriate child care for their kids during their workday.In short, there is no economic recovery without universally affordable and readily available child care.The provincial government’s approach to childcare has clearly shown what not to do. Threatening the funding of child-care centres while asking them to accommodate the needs of essential workers wasted time and energy on unnecessary stress.We need more, not fewer, centre spaces, with trained staff, proper sanitization policies and funding to accommodate the additional staff and equipment required to make child care available during this pandemic.New Democrats have long called for a national strategy for child care in Canada. The pandemic has made the need for such an approach irrefutable.That’s why we have been calling for an immediate investment to stabilize the child-care sector.Our most recent effort culminated on Aug. 12 when we presented a motion in Parliament for a $2-billion transfer to provinces and territories to support a safe return to school and child care in the fall.The motion passed unanimously, but what we’ve learned through the pandemic is that getting a commitment is one thing; persistent follow up by the NDP is required to make sure the follow-through happens and people don’t fall through the cracks.Northeast Winnipeg has struggled for years with a lower proportion of child-care spaces available relative to the need. The solution to that inequity is a national, properly funded strategy, built on the principle that everyone in Canada should be able to access quality, affordable child care.To make a proper economic recovery, we can tolerate nothing less. The cost of failing to get our act together on child care will be far more in the long run than the cost of investing in a solution now.As businesses in Elmwood–Transcona and the economy reopen, parents have to make the difficult decision between going to work and taking care of their kids.Finding quality, affordable child care was already hard. With the pandemic requiring physical distancing in schools and daycares, it has only gotten harder.It is a challenge that especially puts pressure on women. Statistics Canada tells us women make up about half of Canada’s workforce but their participation in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years.Failing to find an answer to this public policy problem is not just an issue for women who want to pursue the rewards of a career. It poses a real financial threat to single-parent families and families that rely on two incomes to pay their bills.It is also a problem for many employers who depend on the education, training and experience of parents who would like to work, but will have to stay home if they cannot secure appropriate child care for their kids during their workday.In short, there is no economic recovery without universally affordable and readily available child care.The provincial government’s approach to childcare has clearly shown what not to do. Threatening the funding of child-care centres while asking them to accommodate the needs of essential workers wasted time and energy on unnecessary stress.We need more, not fewer, centre spaces, with trained staff, proper sanitization policies and funding to accommodate the additional staff and equipment required to make child care available during this pandemic.New Democrats have long called for a national strategy for child care in Canada. The pandemic has made the need for such an approach irrefutable.That’s why we have been calling for an immediate investment to stabilize the child-care sector.Our most recent effort culminated on Aug. 12 when we presented a motion in Parliament for a $2-billion transfer to provinces and territories to support a safe return to school and child care in the fall.The motion passed unanimously, but what we’ve learned through the pandemic is that getting a commitment is one thing; persistent follow up by the NDP is required to make sure the follow-through happens and people don’t fall through the cracks.Northeast Winnipeg has struggled for years with a lower proportion of child-care spaces available relative to the need. The solution to that inequity is a national, properly funded strategy, built on the principle that everyone in Canada should be able to access quality, affordable child care.To make a proper economic recovery, we can tolerate nothing less. The cost of failing to get our act together on child care will be far more in the long run than the cost of investing in a solution now. 

As businesses in Elmwood–Transcona and the economy reopen, parents have to make the difficult decision between going to work and taking care of their kids.

Finding quality, affordable child care was already hard. With the pandemic requiring physical distancing in schools and daycares, it has only gotten harder.

It is a challenge that especially puts pressure on women. Statistics Canada tells us women make up about half of Canada’s workforce but their participation in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

As businesses in Elmwood–Transcona and the economy reopen, parents have to make the difficult decision between going to work and taking care of their kids.Finding quality, affordable child care was already hard. With the pandemic requiring physical distancing in schools and daycares, it has only gotten harder.It is a challenge that especially puts pressure on women. Statistics Canada tells us women make up about half of Canada’s workforce but their participation in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years.Failing to find an answer to this public policy problem is not just an issue for women who want to pursue the rewards of a career. It poses a real financial threat to single-parent families and families that rely on two incomes to pay their bills.It is also a problem for many employers who depend on the education, training and experience of parents who would like to work, but will have to stay home if they cannot secure appropriate child care for their kids during their workday.In short, there is no economic recovery without universally affordable and readily available child care.The provincial government’s approach to childcare has clearly shown what not to do. Threatening the funding of child-care centres while asking them to accommodate the needs of essential workers wasted time and energy on unnecessary stress.We need more, not fewer, centre spaces, with trained staff, proper sanitization policies and funding to accommodate the additional staff and equipment required to make child care available during this pandemic.New Democrats have long called for a national strategy for child care in Canada. The pandemic has made the need for such an approach irrefutable.That’s why we have been calling for an immediate investment to stabilize the child-care sector.Our most recent effort culminated on Aug. 12 when we presented a motion in Parliament for a $2-billion transfer to provinces and territories to support a safe return to school and child care in the fall.The motion passed unanimously, but what we’ve learned through the pandemic is that getting a commitment is one thing; persistent follow up by the NDP is required to make sure the follow-through happens and people don’t fall through the cracks.Northeast Winnipeg has struggled for years with a lower proportion of child-care spaces available relative to the need. The solution to that inequity is a national, properly funded strategy, built on the principle that everyone in Canada should be able to access quality, affordable child care.To make a proper economic recovery, we can tolerate nothing less. The cost of failing to get our act together on child care will be far more in the long run than the cost of investing in a solution now.As businesses in Elmwood–Transcona and the economy reopen, parents have to make the difficult decision between going to work and taking care of their kids.Finding quality, affordable child care was already hard. With the pandemic requiring physical distancing in schools and daycares, it has only gotten harder.It is a challenge that especially puts pressure on women. Statistics Canada tells us women make up about half of Canada’s workforce but their participation in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years.Failing to find an answer to this public policy problem is not just an issue for women who want to pursue the rewards of a career. It poses a real financial threat to single-parent families and families that rely on two incomes to pay their bills.It is also a problem for many employers who depend on the education, training and experience of parents who would like to work, but will have to stay home if they cannot secure appropriate child care for their kids during their workday.In short, there is no economic recovery without universally affordable and readily available child care.The provincial government’s approach to childcare has clearly shown what not to do. Threatening the funding of child-care centres while asking them to accommodate the needs of essential workers wasted time and energy on unnecessary stress.We need more, not fewer, centre spaces, with trained staff, proper sanitization policies and funding to accommodate the additional staff and equipment required to make child care available during this pandemic.New Democrats have long called for a national strategy for child care in Canada. The pandemic has made the need for such an approach irrefutable.That’s why we have been calling for an immediate investment to stabilize the child-care sector.Our most recent effort culminated on Aug. 12 when we presented a motion in Parliament for a $2-billion transfer to provinces and territories to support a safe return to school and child care in the fall.The motion passed unanimously, but what we’ve learned through the pandemic is that getting a commitment is one thing; persistent follow up by the NDP is required to make sure the follow-through happens and people don’t fall through the cracks.Northeast Winnipeg has struggled for years with a lower proportion of child-care spaces available relative to the need. The solution to that inequity is a national, properly funded strategy, built on the principle that everyone in Canada should be able to access quality, affordable child care.To make a proper economic recovery, we can tolerate nothing less. The cost of failing to get our act together on child care will be far more in the long run than the cost of investing in a solution now. 

As businesses in Elmwood–Transcona and the economy reopen, parents have to make the difficult decision between going to work and taking care of their kids.

Finding quality, affordable child care was already hard. With the pandemic requiring physical distancing in schools and daycares, it has only gotten harder.

It is a challenge that especially puts pressure on women. Statistics Canada tells us women make up about half of Canada’s workforce but their participation in the workforce is at its lowest in 30 years.

Caring close to home

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Preview

Caring close to home

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 15, 2020

As the world struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of attention is focused on governments. Clearly, there is an important role for governments in securing public health and supporting the economy in these challenging times.

But there is only so much that government can do. While there are legitimate debates to be had about what programs get good value for money, caring for the people in our community cannot happen without the involvement of people who live in our neighbourhood.Elmwood–Transcona is blessed with many people who are rising to the occasion.

This includes all the people who have continued to work through the pandemic — healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, transportation workers, childcare workers and more.

It also includes people who assist the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Monday, Jun. 15, 2020

As the world struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of attention is focused on governments. Clearly, there is an important role for governments in securing public health and supporting the economy in these challenging times.

But there is only so much that government can do. While there are legitimate debates to be had about what programs get good value for money, caring for the people in our community cannot happen without the involvement of people who live in our neighbourhood.Elmwood–Transcona is blessed with many people who are rising to the occasion.

This includes all the people who have continued to work through the pandemic — healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, transportation workers, childcare workers and more.

It also includes people who assist the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Community stories drive pandemic response

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Preview

Community stories drive pandemic response

Daniel Blaikie 3 minute read Monday, May. 11, 2020

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down in ways none of us could have imagined. It has changed everything; from the way we work to the way we get our food, our daily routines and so much more.

 Throughout the crisis, I have been taking the stories and struggles that people in Elmwood–Transcona have shared into negotiations with government to get a crisis response that meets the needs of as many Canadians as possible.

As employment and workforce development critic, one of my roles is to advocate for a better employment insurance system. Fearing the EI system would be inadequate, we called for direct financial assistance to everyone while the government tinkered with the program. The government’s eventual answer was the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

My office was quickly flooded with calls and emails about the new CERB program. Too many people were falling through the cracks.

Monday, May. 11, 2020

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down in ways none of us could have imagined. It has changed everything; from the way we work to the way we get our food, our daily routines and so much more.

 Throughout the crisis, I have been taking the stories and struggles that people in Elmwood–Transcona have shared into negotiations with government to get a crisis response that meets the needs of as many Canadians as possible.

As employment and workforce development critic, one of my roles is to advocate for a better employment insurance system. Fearing the EI system would be inadequate, we called for direct financial assistance to everyone while the government tinkered with the program. The government’s eventual answer was the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

My office was quickly flooded with calls and emails about the new CERB program. Too many people were falling through the cracks.

Thanks to all our local heroes

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

Thanks to all our local heroes

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Monday, Apr. 13, 2020

In the time since I last wrote for The Herald, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down.Thank you to all the health care workers putting themselves at risk to fight the virus on the front lines of the crisis.Thank you to all the workers in essential industries whose labour and courage are keeping the lights on, sanitizing our buildings, stocking the grocery shelves, delivering packages and doing so much more to help us all get through this challenging time.Thank you to all our neighbours who are following the advice of public health officials; maintaining the appropriate physical distance and staying home whenever possible. That, above all else, is what will help us come out the other side of this crisis with the least amount of suffering and sorrow.Like many people in our community, my wife and I have been learning to share a home office as we both work from home and figure out how to supervise and home school our two young children. Whether you are working or not, whether you are living alone or with family, this period of physical distancing and self-isolation is a big adjustment for everyone. If you’re feeling anxious or frustrated (or both), you are not alone. Reach out to your friends and family. By working together and supporting each other, we will meet this challenge.As your MP, I have been corresponding and speaking with hundreds of people in Elmwood-Transcona over the last several weeks. My office has been working to help people support loved ones abroad and access the financial support for individuals and businesses announced by the government.The questions and stories that I hear in our community drive my work in teleconferences with government officials. Together with my colleagues in the NDP, I have been pushing for a government response that leaves no one behind.Some of our early proposals have already been adopted: a benefit for workers not covered by EI, a 75 per cent wage subsidy for businesses and relief from student loan payments.We continue to push for interest relief on credit card and other debt, a moratorium on rent, mortgage and utility payments, a living wage and courage bonus for essential service workers and support for seniors and people living with disabilities who face higher costs on the same income.If you have questions about any of the new federal programs, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You’ll find us at 204-984-2499 or daniel.blaikie@parl.gc.ca. For more regular updates, you can follow me on social media.

In the time since I last wrote for The Herald, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down.

Thank you to all the health care workers putting themselves at risk to fight the virus on the front lines of the crisis.

Thank you to all the workers in essential industries whose labour and courage are keeping the lights on, sanitizing our buildings, stocking the grocery shelves, delivering packages and doing so much more to help us all get through this challenging time.

Monday, Apr. 13, 2020

In the time since I last wrote for The Herald, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down.Thank you to all the health care workers putting themselves at risk to fight the virus on the front lines of the crisis.Thank you to all the workers in essential industries whose labour and courage are keeping the lights on, sanitizing our buildings, stocking the grocery shelves, delivering packages and doing so much more to help us all get through this challenging time.Thank you to all our neighbours who are following the advice of public health officials; maintaining the appropriate physical distance and staying home whenever possible. That, above all else, is what will help us come out the other side of this crisis with the least amount of suffering and sorrow.Like many people in our community, my wife and I have been learning to share a home office as we both work from home and figure out how to supervise and home school our two young children. Whether you are working or not, whether you are living alone or with family, this period of physical distancing and self-isolation is a big adjustment for everyone. If you’re feeling anxious or frustrated (or both), you are not alone. Reach out to your friends and family. By working together and supporting each other, we will meet this challenge.As your MP, I have been corresponding and speaking with hundreds of people in Elmwood-Transcona over the last several weeks. My office has been working to help people support loved ones abroad and access the financial support for individuals and businesses announced by the government.The questions and stories that I hear in our community drive my work in teleconferences with government officials. Together with my colleagues in the NDP, I have been pushing for a government response that leaves no one behind.Some of our early proposals have already been adopted: a benefit for workers not covered by EI, a 75 per cent wage subsidy for businesses and relief from student loan payments.We continue to push for interest relief on credit card and other debt, a moratorium on rent, mortgage and utility payments, a living wage and courage bonus for essential service workers and support for seniors and people living with disabilities who face higher costs on the same income.If you have questions about any of the new federal programs, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You’ll find us at 204-984-2499 or daniel.blaikie@parl.gc.ca. For more regular updates, you can follow me on social media.

In the time since I last wrote for The Herald, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down.

Thank you to all the health care workers putting themselves at risk to fight the virus on the front lines of the crisis.

Thank you to all the workers in essential industries whose labour and courage are keeping the lights on, sanitizing our buildings, stocking the grocery shelves, delivering packages and doing so much more to help us all get through this challenging time.

User-pay healthcare is not efficient healthcare

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Preview

User-pay healthcare is not efficient healthcare

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 5 minute read Friday, Mar. 6, 2020

 

A recent report suggests Ottawa is looking at withholding a portion of Manitoba’s health transfer for two reasons: 1) Some Manitobans are paying out-of-pocket to get quicker access to diagnostic services;2) Some nurse practitioners are practicing privately and charging for services that are insured if you get them from a physician.You might ask “Why should I care?” There are at least three reasons why people in Elmwood–Transcona should care.The first reason is a matter of social justic — at hospitals or health clinics, people should be asked for their health cards, not their credit cards. When we charge for admission, many people who need medical assistance simply do not show up. You shouldn’t have to win an auction to get timely care, either. That’s why how much you are willing to pay should not determine how quickly you access care.  The Canada Health Act was established to protect this principle and it is the job of the federal government to enforce it.The second reason we should care is, contrary to what some believe, letting people pay for quicker care does not make care quicker for everyone else. That might be true if we had a surplus of doctors and nurses but instead we keep hearing that we don’t have enough.Every hour spent treating a patient who has paid out-of-pocket is an hour not spent in the public system, where patients are prioritized based on their medical need, not their ability to pay. When it comes to healthcare, the fairest solution is also the most efficient.Finally, when the Canada Health Act is properly enforced, the federal government holds back one dollar for every dollar inappropriately spent. Not only do we lose the time that the healthcare professional would otherwise spend working in the public system, we also lose the money that would have paid for that work.Two things that Manitoba really needs are: 1) More funding ; 2) More person-hours of skilled healthcare professionals. Allowing people to jump the queue based on their ability to pay sets us back on both counts.While I welcome action to enforce the Canada Health Act, such action should be accompanied by an increase in the health transfer escalator from three per cent to 5.2 per cent, as demanded unanimously by Canada’s premiers. The federal government can only maintain the moral authority to enforce the Canada Health Act to the extent that it is a meaningful funder of health services across the country. 

A recent report suggests Ottawa is looking at withholding a portion of Manitoba’s health transfer for two reasons: 

1) Some Manitobans are paying out-of-pocket to get quicker access to diagnostic services;2) Some nurse practitioners are practicing privately and charging for services that are insured if you get them from a physician.

Friday, Mar. 6, 2020

 

A recent report suggests Ottawa is looking at withholding a portion of Manitoba’s health transfer for two reasons: 1) Some Manitobans are paying out-of-pocket to get quicker access to diagnostic services;2) Some nurse practitioners are practicing privately and charging for services that are insured if you get them from a physician.You might ask “Why should I care?” There are at least three reasons why people in Elmwood–Transcona should care.The first reason is a matter of social justic — at hospitals or health clinics, people should be asked for their health cards, not their credit cards. When we charge for admission, many people who need medical assistance simply do not show up. You shouldn’t have to win an auction to get timely care, either. That’s why how much you are willing to pay should not determine how quickly you access care.  The Canada Health Act was established to protect this principle and it is the job of the federal government to enforce it.The second reason we should care is, contrary to what some believe, letting people pay for quicker care does not make care quicker for everyone else. That might be true if we had a surplus of doctors and nurses but instead we keep hearing that we don’t have enough.Every hour spent treating a patient who has paid out-of-pocket is an hour not spent in the public system, where patients are prioritized based on their medical need, not their ability to pay. When it comes to healthcare, the fairest solution is also the most efficient.Finally, when the Canada Health Act is properly enforced, the federal government holds back one dollar for every dollar inappropriately spent. Not only do we lose the time that the healthcare professional would otherwise spend working in the public system, we also lose the money that would have paid for that work.Two things that Manitoba really needs are: 1) More funding ; 2) More person-hours of skilled healthcare professionals. Allowing people to jump the queue based on their ability to pay sets us back on both counts.While I welcome action to enforce the Canada Health Act, such action should be accompanied by an increase in the health transfer escalator from three per cent to 5.2 per cent, as demanded unanimously by Canada’s premiers. The federal government can only maintain the moral authority to enforce the Canada Health Act to the extent that it is a meaningful funder of health services across the country. 

A recent report suggests Ottawa is looking at withholding a portion of Manitoba’s health transfer for two reasons: 

1) Some Manitobans are paying out-of-pocket to get quicker access to diagnostic services;2) Some nurse practitioners are practicing privately and charging for services that are insured if you get them from a physician.

New year, new beginnings

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 4 minute read Preview

New year, new beginnings

Daniel Blaikie - Elmwood-Transcona MP Constituency Report 4 minute read Friday, Jan. 10, 2020

Happy New Year to everyone in Elmwood–Transcona! This is my first column in The Herald since the last election and I want to begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to serve a second term as the Member of Parliament for Elmwood–Transcona.In addition to serving in a new — and very different — Parliament, I will also be serving from a new office in the constituency. For those of you who appreciated our previous location, you will be glad to know we are not far away. The new office is located at 207–1111 Munroe Ave., on the corner of Munroe and Panet Road.The new space will make it easier for constituents to meet privately with my caseworker when confidential personal information is being exchanged. It will mean that, on busy days, constituents can wait to speak with myself or my staff in an appropriate waiting area, rather than seating in the hallway. It means that community groups that would like to bring more than two or three people to meet with me can do so without struggling to find space for everyone.In short, my team is learning from our experience and challenging ourselves to find better ways to serve our community.As your MP, I will be in the House of Commons to highlight the things that need to change. I am committed to working constructively to get tangible results for people whenever I can, and I will be there to fight for the things that matter when the government is not open to negotiation.Those things include: lowering the cost of prescription drugs with a universal, public pharmacare program, getting meaningful action on climate change, making child care more accessible and affordable, protecting people’s pensions, building more social housing and beginning to seriously explore the possibility of providing basic dental care to each and every Canadian, regardless of their income.That work starts with ensuring that the wealthiest Canadians are paying their fair share of the tax burden and the NDP is already making proposals in Ottawa for how to do that.I look forward to keeping you informed on our work and getting your feedback as the year goes on.

Happy New Year to everyone in Elmwood–Transcona! 

This is my first column in The Herald since the last election and I want to begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to serve a second term as the Member of Parliament for Elmwood–Transcona.

In addition to serving in a new — and very different — Parliament, I will also be serving from a new office in the constituency. For those of you who appreciated our previous location, you will be glad to know we are not far away. The new office is located at 207–1111 Munroe Ave., on the corner of Munroe and Panet Road.

Friday, Jan. 10, 2020

Happy New Year to everyone in Elmwood–Transcona! This is my first column in The Herald since the last election and I want to begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to serve a second term as the Member of Parliament for Elmwood–Transcona.In addition to serving in a new — and very different — Parliament, I will also be serving from a new office in the constituency. For those of you who appreciated our previous location, you will be glad to know we are not far away. The new office is located at 207–1111 Munroe Ave., on the corner of Munroe and Panet Road.The new space will make it easier for constituents to meet privately with my caseworker when confidential personal information is being exchanged. It will mean that, on busy days, constituents can wait to speak with myself or my staff in an appropriate waiting area, rather than seating in the hallway. It means that community groups that would like to bring more than two or three people to meet with me can do so without struggling to find space for everyone.In short, my team is learning from our experience and challenging ourselves to find better ways to serve our community.As your MP, I will be in the House of Commons to highlight the things that need to change. I am committed to working constructively to get tangible results for people whenever I can, and I will be there to fight for the things that matter when the government is not open to negotiation.Those things include: lowering the cost of prescription drugs with a universal, public pharmacare program, getting meaningful action on climate change, making child care more accessible and affordable, protecting people’s pensions, building more social housing and beginning to seriously explore the possibility of providing basic dental care to each and every Canadian, regardless of their income.That work starts with ensuring that the wealthiest Canadians are paying their fair share of the tax burden and the NDP is already making proposals in Ottawa for how to do that.I look forward to keeping you informed on our work and getting your feedback as the year goes on.

Happy New Year to everyone in Elmwood–Transcona! 

This is my first column in The Herald since the last election and I want to begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to serve a second term as the Member of Parliament for Elmwood–Transcona.

In addition to serving in a new — and very different — Parliament, I will also be serving from a new office in the constituency. For those of you who appreciated our previous location, you will be glad to know we are not far away. The new office is located at 207–1111 Munroe Ave., on the corner of Munroe and Panet Road.