Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair spoke about his platform at Nanaimo’s Coast Bastion Hotel on March 3.

“My only priority is to get rid of Stephen Harper’s conservatives and replace them with our progressives,” Mulcair said. “I could make Stephen Harper turn beet red in 35 seconds.”

Mulcair’s points of focus include strengthening jobs and the economy, supporting small businesses, promoting social programs, encouraging youth engagement, and ensuring environmentally friendly strategies.

“Without a social license, nothing gets built,” he said.

According to Mulcair, the NDP are the only ones standing up to Bill C-51. “Liberals are against it but will vote for it,” he stated.

Mulcair stated the NDP believes Canadians deserve to have both a strong economy, as well as a healthy environment. The NDP’s proposed plans include increasing environmental assessments and supporting small businesses.

80 percent of new jobs are created by small and medium businesses, which he said gives initiative to support them, Mulcair said. The tax rate would be lowered from 11 to nine percent for small and medium businesses.

“The NDP will fight tooth and nail to determine a system where the size of a family’s income doesn’t determine whether they have health care,” Mulcair said.

Mulcair stated he would aim to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Mulcair also claimed the NDP will address the poor conditions on First Nations’ reserves and further promote equality.

When asked about the NDP’s stance on medical marijuana, Mulcair said the NDP will rely on evidence-based decision-making. He stated the use of marijuana is a personal choice by an adult and that it would be decriminalized.

Mulcair said the NDP will tackle the issue of student debt and encourage young people to vote.

“When young people stay home, the right wing wins and democracy loses,” he said.

Mulcair concluded by quoting former NDP leader Jack Layton: “Never let them tell you what can’t be done,” he said.

The VIU Political Society presented Mulcair with a letter of recommendations put together by club members and other students who were polled on what they believe would make a great Prime Minister. The list was as follows:

  • We would like to see your government oppose C-51 so students don’t feel afraid of future consequences while participating in lawful protest.
  • We would like to see polling stations at universities to make it easier to vote.
  • We would like to see the NDP reduce child poverty in BC.
  • We would like to see education reform; Political Science should be taught at an early age from an unbiased source.
  • We would like to see an emphasis on helping university grads with job placement.
  • We would like to see stricter banking and corporate regulation to lessen the inequality in our country. Without this, our determination and belief in the system just isn’t there.