Rachel Aiello

August 12, 2021



OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is promising to tax the “super rich,” improve accessibility for mental health care, create one million “good jobs” and set up a Crown corporation for vaccine production, if his party was to form government.

Bright and early Thursday morning, the NDP released “commitments to Canadians” and a plan for a “fair” pandemic recovery that essentially amounts to the campaign platform that Singh and his candidates will be running on should a federal election be called in the near future.

While much of the 115-page document comprises commitments previously made by the New Democrats, including in previous elections, the party says it includes other new ideas that have been informed by Canadians’ struggles during the last 18 months. There are a mix of long-term promises and pledges the party believes are achievable within a first mandate.

“The same way we fought for you and your families in the pandemic, we commit to you, to fight for you, moving forward in the recovery. And that’s why we’re laying out our vision for the future,” Singh said Thursday.

The NDP says if it was to form government it would start shoring up the country for future pandemics by setting up federally-led domestic vaccine and personal protective equipment manufacturing, things the Liberals have already put in motion. The party also wants to implement sweeping reforms to the long-term care system in Canada after COVID-19 exposed serious shortcomings.

The party unveiled in its platform that its long-promised wealth tax would actually hit a wider swath of the population than previously anticipated, generating potentially $10 billion in revenue which would be used to help cover other costly commitments.

The NDP says if elected, it would impose a one per cent tax on households with assets worth more than $10 million, whereas previously Singh had said he’d go after those worth more than $20 million.

The party would also implement an “excess profit tax” of 15 per cent on large corporations that saw their profits skyrocket during the pandemic, which the party estimates could bring in $8 billion in federal revenue.

“That’s the vision that we have for Canada: Making the ultra-rich pay their fair share, so we can invest in people,” said the NDP leader.

Singh’s promise of enhanced mental health coverage would start with providing free access to uninsured Canadians and then would expand, according to the platform.

“We know mental health is something that suffered for a lot of people through the pandemic, and we know the importance of getting good, timely, mental health care on overall health and well-being,” said an NDP official speaking to reporters on background.

Among the other key policy pledges the party is making:

  • National child care, pharmacare and dental care programs up and running within first term;
  •  Fully paid sick leave for workers, continuing pandemic aid programs, and a “small business recovery package”;
  •  Forgiving up to $20,000 in student debt and making post-secondary part of the public education system;
  •  Boosting the federal minimum wage and creating at least 500,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade;
  •  Mechanisms to make high-speed internet and cell phone services more affordable;
  •  Setting up a “climate emergency” cabinet committee to help jumpstart reducing emissions by 50 per cent come 2030;
  •  Developing a “national action plan for reconciliation” with Indigenous peoples acting on all calls for action and justice; and
  •  Following through on unfulfilled Liberal promises to the LGBTQ2S+ community and addressing systemic racism.

The NDP says it is their desire to “build a fairer economy for working Canadians,” and to “tackle the deep roots of injustice and inequality,” that Singh will be running on in his campaign against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.

“In every corner of the country, families are worried about jobs, the health of our loved ones, and the public services that everyone counts on. We all want to go back to some sort of ‘normal’ after the pandemic… But as I listen to Canadians, I hear the worry in people’s voices,” said Singh in the preamble of the platform document, which is titled “Ready for Better.”

“Sadly, for the last six years the Liberals haven’t done much to make life any easier,” it reads.

Much of what the NDP are saying they would do, would require collaboration with the provinces, something the party says it is confident Singh can achieve.

NDP officials briefing reporters about the platform said that while the majority of the party’s pledges have been outlined in the plan, there will be more announcements to come. They also promised that full costing for commitments not already priced out with the help of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, would be presented should a campaign kick off.

“These are our priorities, our vision for a recovery that hopefully we are in, or are getting to soon. If we find ourselves in an election campaign, which many of you think will happen, and I think will happen, then obviously this will be the foundation of what we’ll talk about in an election campaign,” said an NDP official.

While the NDP leader recently published an open letter stating that Trudeau would be “selfish” to call an election while the pandemic is ongoing, all sides have been engaging in pseudo electioneering. Singh released his commitment document in Newfoundland Thursday, as part of a tour of Atlantic Canada.

c. CTV