Ottawa Centre residents packed into the office of NDP candidate Paul Dewar for his campaign launch. He spoke briefly to supporters, outlining key issues: affordable housing, integrity of public service and the environment.
Dewar criticized Harper for disregarding the needs of senior citizens in his budget.
“There was an opportunity to let seniors out of poverty, and instead of doing the right thing and honouring that commitment that we put forward, Mr Harper decided that corporate tax cuts was the way to go,” he said.
He also slammed the Harper government for manipulating the public service to promote its political agenda. He vowed to fight for integrity in politics and to reinstate trust between politicians and the public.
Dewar commented on climate change and the need for sustainable energy.
“We need to make sure that climate change starts with conservation. We need to build infrastructure for green energy, and we need to do that right here in Ottawa and right across the country because climate change is the number one issue for the future of our country,” he said.
Dewar also said that he wanted to see Canada play a leadership role in the world.
“I would like to see a government — an NDP government — to make sure Canada reasserts its role in the world. We have the diplomats to do it, we have the public servants to do it, we have the NGOs to do it, and we have the people to do it. I want to see that happen because we have gone backwards when it comes to foreign affairs,” he said.
After the launch Dewar spoke briefly to Xtra on the fate of Bill C-389. The bill, introduced by Bill Siksay, would add “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. It was passed in the Commons but stalled in the Senate.
“It’s pathetic, really, that we see progressive things happening and get through the Commons then die in the Senate… this could have been law by now,” he said. “This happens all too often: it happened with climate change, it happened with the transgender bill, and it happened with the medicine regime bill.”
Dewar stated that he will be picking up Bill C-393 after the election. C-393 would make it possible for Canadian generic-drug companies to supply developing countries with affordable medication.