On his visit to the federal riding of Kootenay-Columbia, New Democrat Leader Jack Layton called on Stephen Harper to stop playing political games and start taking measures to make life more affordable for families and seniors.
“Since the new year I have been travelling to many communities all across Canada and the one thing which is repeated to me is that it is getting harder to make ends meet,” said Layton during a stop in Cranbrook.
“The NDP is suggesting practical solutions such as removing the federal sales tax from home heating so that people can better afford to heat their homes this winter.”
Layton joined the new NDP candidate for the Kootenay-Columbia riding, Mark Shmigelsky, in a casual meeting with local seniors.
“Along with the HST, seniors are telling us that they have been hit hard by the recession. Private investments are too risky to solely depend on for the future,” said Shmigelsky.
New Democrats, seniors’ groups, policy experts and actuaries have spent the last year pushing the government to improve the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
“The CPP is the most secure, portable and low-cost pension reform option available to Canadians – and it’s inflation-protected,” said Layton. “But the Conservatives have chosen to bypass it completely with a privately administered, voluntary plan, where employers get to choose if they want to contribute. And if the markets aren’t doing well, then neither is your pension. This doesn’t sound like an improvement to me.”
As for the possibility of an election Layton said this will depend on Stephen Harper.
“Mr. Harper has to cultivate a relationship in Ottawa. Canadians want us working together,” Layton said.
Layton also feels the attack-styled television ads that the Conservatives have been using are similar to “being in a schoolyard and poking someone in the eye. It is not becoming of a Prime Minister.”
Layton also had high praise for Shmigelsky who he feels will be able to get results for the people in the Kootenay-Columbia riding.
“Mark has a history of serving the people and understands what people are going through,” Layton said.
Shmigelsky said he was honoured to have the federal NDP leader visit the riding so shortly after his nomination as a canidate. “I believe we can win this riding. I’m really looking forward to working with Jack Layton to improve pensions and make life more affordable for families.”