In anticipation of the 2019 Federal Election this Fall, SEIU-West President Barb Cape sent an open letter in early September to the following candidates as they represent the four major parties in four areas where our members live and work:
- Sheri Benson (New Democratic Party, Saskatoon West)
- Jeremy Patzer (Conservative Party, Cypress Hills-Grasslands)
- Tammy Cook-Searson (Liberal Party, Desnthé-Missinippi-Churchill River)
- Naomi Hunter (Green Party, Regina-Lewvan)
We have just received our first response! Sheri Benson, MP and candidate for the New Democratic Party in Saskatoon West, has responded to our questionnaire as follows:
- What will you do to make sure that the federal government sustains and strengthens public health care across Canada, regardless of incomes?
New Democrats have always stood up for our public health care, and we will continue to ensure that Canadians have strong public health care services across the country. Medicare should be a head-to-toe system that covers not only primary care but prescription drugs, dental care, mental health care, eye care and other services. We will work with the provinces to reinvest in health care, reverse the Conservative cuts that the Liberals did nothing to fix, and expand services for Canadians.
2. What will your party do to ensure that all students have the resources they need to succeed in public school?
New Democrats believe in strong public education. We would make sure that no student goes to class hungry with a national school nutrition program, and honour Shannen’s Dream by ensuring that every Indigenous child has a safe, comfy school to go to in their community. We would also better support post-secondary students by abolishing interest on federal student loans and working to make the post-secondary education system part of the public education system.
3. What will you do to shape Canada’s response to the climate crisis and ensure a just transition for workers in the shift to renewable energies?
We need a plan that takes serious action to address climate change and that doesn’t leave any regions or communities behind. That’s why our plan would create 300,000 jobs across Canada by investing $15 billion in an ambitious plan to cut emissions, create low-carbon jobs, improve transit, and save families over $900 every year on energy costs with a program for efficiency retrofits.
4. What will you do to make sure that all Canadian parents, wherever they live and whatever their income, have access to good quality, regulated child care?
Our vision is to give families relief. Every parent across Canada should be able to find the child care they need, when they need it, with a licensed provider who is making a fair wage. We’ll work with other levels of government, Indigenous communities, families and child care workers to ensure that care is inclusive and responsive to the needs of all Canadian children. And we’ll introduce legislation that enshrines Canada’s commitment to high-quality, public child care in law. Public early childhood education and child care that is affordable and available to all families helps our economy and gives parents real choices. We will build on their work to make child care better for families by investing $1 billion in 2020 and growing that investment annually, along with the provinces and territories. We’re on the side of parents to ensure affordable, quality child care for all – because no one should be forced to choose between having a family and having a career.
5. What will you do to ensure that people have better access to good secure jobs, post-secondary education, home ownership, and a good quality of life without overwhelming student debt or having to work several part-time jobs just to get by?
New Democrats will make life more affordable for young people and work towards a better path to stable, well-paying jobs by abolishing interest on federal student loans, improving access to job training, and making it easier for unions to fight for their members by banning replacement workers. We would make housing more affordable by building 500,000 affordable homes across Canada, creating a foreign buyers’ tax to curb speculation, and double the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. We would also ban unpaid internships outside of accredited education programs, fight for pay equity with legislation and regulation, and ensure that part-time and contract workers get protections and benefits.
6. What will you do to make sure that Canadians retain and strengthen their control of our public services?
New Democrats will always fight to keep our public services public against Liberal and Conservative attempts to privatize or contract them out. We believe that public services are strongest when they are in public hands and oriented solely towards serving the public instead of private profits.
7. With the rise in hate crimes in Canada, what will your party do to address the inflamed racism and division amongst our communities?
It’s time for the federal government to tackle the growing threat of hate crimes targeting communities in Canada. We will begin work immediately to ensure that all major cities have dedicated hate crime units within local police forces, and to convene a national working group to counter online hate. New Democrats will always stand up against all forms of hate, racism, including anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, gender-based violence, homophobia, and transphobia. New Democrats believe that we cannot stand by and allow racism to flourish in our communities. We must turn the talk of diversity into action to confront racism, and put an end to it for good. We will work together to tackle the hate, racism, white supremacy and systemic discrimination that are hurting people across the country. Anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate are too often allowed to flourish on the internet. A New Democrat government will convene a national working group to counter online hate and protect public safety, and make sure that social media platforms are responsible for remove hateful and extremist content before it can do harm.
8. Do you and your party support the countless Canadians in their call for a universal public pharmacare program?
Yes. New Democrats will work with the provinces to create a universal, public Pharmacare program in Canada that covers everyone with no cost at the point of care, just like Medicare. Liberals have talked about doing this for years, but only New Democrats will actually get it done.