NRLC Federal NDP Leadership Forum


Update: Nathan Cullen and Paul Dewar were able to attend (Brian Topp was stuck in a meeting), and we even had a brief surprise appearance by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.  Both candidates exemplified the high calibre of candidates that are running for the NDP leadership.  Both were dynamic, informed, and capable of doing the job.  I'd suggest that viewing the Leadership Debate video archive is a good idea.

The St. Catharines Standard wrote a good article covering the evening, read it here.

*****

The Niagara Regional Labour Council is sponsoring a Federal NDP Leadership Forum at Club Capri, 36 Cleveland Street, Thorold, from 6:30 to 9 pm on Thursday, February 23rd.

Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, and Brian Topp are all confirmed.  Peggy Nash may also be able to attend.  A poster is available here.

Remember, make sure you're a member of the NDP by February 18th to be eligible to vote for the new leader (aka the next Prime Minister!).  Membership is just $25, or $5 if you're under/unemployed.  Join here!

MP Rob Nicholson's office occupied in support of OAS and Retirement Security


A group of pensioners, soon-to-be pensioners, labour activists and supporters, angry at the Harper Government’s announcement that it intends to cut Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, are presently occupying the Constituency Office of Conservative MP Rob Nicholson in Niagara Falls, Ontario. They are among hundreds of other seniors, retirees, workers and family members who have resorted to holding sit-ins at 21 Ontario Tory constituency offices, to demand that retirees and seniors be elevated out of poverty.

“Our government should be supporting retirees and seniors, not greedy corporations,” said Daniel Peat, President of the Niagara Regional Labour Council. “Harper is spending billions to reduce corporate taxes but he refuses to call on these same corporations to invest a fraction of their publicly-subsidized savings in pensioners. Only a minor increase in Canada Pension Plan contributions would double CPP benefits for all retirees and seniors.”

Outraged constituents have resorted to occupying their local constituency offices to demand that Conservative Members of Parliament abandon plans to push back the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, or reduce pension benefits. Instead, they are calling for the Harper government to introduce modest increases to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions that would double benefits for all retirees and seniors.

“There is no excuse for Prime Minister Harper to cut the meagre incomes of pensioners or consign the working poor to two more years of poverty. Nearly every economist and the government’s own Parliamentary Watch Dog, Kevin Page, are forecasting the long-term sustainability of public pensions,” said Ryan. “If Harper thinks that he can take on retirees and seniors in this country without a fight from the labour movement, he is sorely mistaken. Harper has touched the 'third rail' of Canadian politics and in doing so he has unleashed a labour and seniors movement of ‘Blue-Grey Power’ that is prepared to mobilize the public to defend the income security of the retirees of today and tomorrow.”

For a full list of occupations currently taking place in Conservative MP constituency offices across Ontario, visit: www.OFL.ca