Still optimistic after five years as your MP
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/10/2020 (949 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
Elmwood-Transcona constituency report
Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.