Riding high, NDP leader returns to Vancouver Island North to support candidate

NDP leader Jack Layton, in his bid to replace Stephen Harper as prime minister of Canada, says he is humbled but determined by a groundswell of NDP support suggested by the latest popularity polls.
As of Wednesday, an Angus Reid poll showed the New Democrats riding atop all other parties in Quebec — with 38-per-cent support — 11 percentage points ahead of the Bloc Quebecois.

Jack Layton was in the Comox Valley earlier in the campaign to support Vancouver Island North NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard.

NDP leader Jack Layton, in his bid to replace Stephen Harper as prime minister of Canada, says he is humbled but determined by a groundswell of NDP support suggested by the latest popularity polls.

As of Wednesday, an Angus Reid poll showed the New Democrats riding atop all other parties in Quebec — with 38-per-cent support — 11 percentage points ahead of the Bloc Quebecois.

The poll had the NDP at 30-per-cent support, second only to the Conservatives, who were at 35 per cent.

An earlier CTV News/Globe/Nanos poll shows NDP national support at 23.6 per cent, the Liberals at 25.6 per cent and Harper’s Conservatives at 39.2 per cent. An Ekos poll has the NDP in second place behind the Tories.

“We’re very hopeful, but we know that we have a lot of work to do in these closing days,” Layton — who led a rally Friday at a Courtenay secondary school — said Wednesday from Winnipeg. “It’s always a tight race, but we have an opportunity to help defeat Stephen Harper and his government, which many people want to do.”

He feels the service record of Vancouver Island North NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard, a member of Courtenay council and chair of the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board, will contribute to that process.

“Ronna-Rae will be a voice for the North Island in Ottawa, instead of the other way around — Ottawa’s missive to the people of the North Island telling them what’s good for them,” Layton said in reference to incumbent Conservative MP John Duncan, whom he chastised for voting to impose the harmonized sales tax without consulting the people of B.C.

“We do think that people are realizing they have a choice here. (Liberal leader) Michael Ignatieff’s not going to be the answer. He’s been part of the problem, supporting Stephen Harper so many times.”

Along with Leonard, Layton speaks highly of Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder, Nanaimo-Alberni candidate Zeni Maartman and Victoria MP/deputy speaker Denise Savoie.

“These are high-quality women who really take the job seriously and work hard to take the voice of their constituents and their concerns, and I think people are responding to our practical suggestions.”

These include a national housing strategy, a nine- to 11-per-cent small business tax cut and a Post-Secondary Education Act. The latter would ensure college and university education is affordable and of high quality, and kept public and non-profit.

“The level of student debt is so high that many students are having to abandon their studies,” Layton said.

Retirement security is also an NDP priority.

“There are a great many seniors who have nothing but the GIS/OAS system,” Layton said, noting 250,000 Canadians, mostly women, live below the poverty line. “The banks don’t need yet another big tax break so they can give million-dollar bonuses to their top millionaire managers. Seniors need the help, so let’s be there for them, and that’s a commitment we made that we would take as a top priority in that first 100 days of an NDP administration.”

The party wants to double Canada Pension Plan payments in a step-by-step process over several years.

“If we don’t start now, we’re going to find in a few years, and already this is happening to some people, they can’t retire,” Layton said. “We want seniors to be able to be comfortable. They’ve earned the right.

“That’s why we are upset with the imposition of the HST, as I know many British Columbians are. There’s certainly no way that Mr. Harper should be rewarded for having imposed that kind of a tax.”

If the HST is voted down in the coming referendum, the NDP says British Columbians should not have to pay back the $1.6 billion “bribe” offered by the Tories.

“That would mean you’d have to cut education and health services,” said Layton, adding the NDP has budgeted the $1.6 billion staying in B.C. in its platform. “It’s a question of fairness. I challenge the Conservatives to match our commitment.”

From Winnipeg, Layton’s campaign trail stopped in Edmonton and Yellowknife en route to the Island. Canadians go to the polls Monday.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

PRACC Chair Fred Robertson happy with how windmill blade display turned out

“Rotary really stepped up, which was excellent.”

Island Foods renovates bottle depot and cans old bottle return system

“I don’t want people to spend the whole day here,” said Angela Taylor on Port McNeill’s bottle depot.

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Sointula Resource Centre to hold fundraising play

The play will “grab people’s attention” says Stephanie Rockman.

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

B.C. VIEWS: Looking under the hood of ICBC’s war on crashes

Is our accident rate really soaring, or is it inefficiency?

B.C. tent city residents have three weeks to clear out: Supreme Court

Fire risk, criminal activity in neighbourhood cited as reasons for judgment

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

16 people died when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan

Most Read