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NDP convention: The final resolutions

EI, housing, health care, veterans and foreign workers


 

Below are the last 16 policy resolutions that were passed at the NDP convention this morning and afternoon. Previous resolutions are here, here, here and here.

Greg Fingas, meanwhile, looks at one resolution that didn’t pass.

Now, the resolution didn’t pass. But that wasn’t a matter of it lacking support on the convention floor: instead, after one strong speech favouring the resolution, Libby Davies moved that it be referred to federal council with instructions that it return a formal policy later this year. And that motion, combined with the obvious support of the convention for the cause of ensuring that sex workers are recognized as citizens rather than stigmatized, looks to ensure that the NDP will present an unprecedentedly inclusive policy in the years to come.

3-01-13 Resolution on Employment Insurance
Submitted by Gaspésie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Charlesbourg – Haute-Saint-Charles

WHEREAS seasonal industries are a vibrant and essential part of Canadian identity and economy;

WHEREAS new categories of EI claimants and related definitions of suitable employment will depress overall wages, harm the economy of both rural and urban Canadian communities;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Conservative government must hire sufficient staff to properly administer Service Canada programs and dramatically reducing wait times;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the government improve the Working While on Claim pilot project so that it does not create disincentives for EI recipients to work while receiving claims;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the NDP calls on the government to reverse devastating changes it has made to Employment Insurance which restrict access and benefits, depress wages, push vulnerable Canadians into poverty and download costs to the provinces;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the NDP calls on the government to reinstate the Extra Five Weeks pilot project to avoid the impending “black hole” of financial insecurity facing workers in seasonal industries and the regional economies they support;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the NDP call on the Harper Government to repeal this regulation and restore access to these secondary benefits for all foreign workers;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That an NDP Government would repeal the residency requirement and allow full universal access to EI benefits to all those who contribute into the system;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That an NDP government would restore a just and universal EI program that ensures that all those contributing have fair and equal access to all the benefits;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the government of Canada restore and improve compassionate and parental leave benefits for seasonal and temporary off shore workers; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the “Cheap labor” policy of this current government be discontinued with a step to ensure that seasonal and temporary foreign workers receive the same rights benefits and responsibilities as all Canadian workers including and not restricted to a path to citizenship.

3-61-13 Resolution on Social Housing
Submitted by the Quebec Section

BE IT RESOLVED, that the following clause be added to section 3.5 of the policy book.

New Democrats believe in implementing a national strategy to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians in partnership with provinces, municipalities, Aboriginal communities, non-profit and private sector housing providers and civil society organizations, including those that represent groups in need of adequate housing.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP continue to remind Canadians that housing is fundamental right for all, and undertake to protect this right and enshrine it as a justiciable right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NDP call on the federal government to increase investment in social housing, and additionally to maintain and increase funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a registry of the social housing units available in Canada be created, and a mechanism for controlling transactions on social housing units funded by the CMHC be instituted.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an NDP government would adopt a law requiring that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) work in conjunction with other involved stakeholders to develop a national housing strategy.

3-36-13 Resolution on the Renewal of the Health Accords for 2014
Submitted by Saint-Hubert-Saint-Bruno

WHEREAS the Health Accords aimed at enabling important reforms of the healthcare system included in the Romanow Report that were struck in 2003 and 2004 will end in 2014;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party denounces the Conservative government’s unilateral decision to reduce health transfers to the provinces and territories, increasing their tax burden and stunting opportunities for collaboration and reform of the system;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party continue to support a universal, accessible, high quality public healthcare system;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the New Democrats continue to demand that the federal government enter into talks with the provinces and territories to renew health agreements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party demand that the next health accords include important reforms necessary for better access to prescription drugs, home care and long term care, health professionals including family doctors, as well as important measures to help Canadians live healthy lives.

3-04-13 Resolution on Ending Sexual Harassment in the RCMP
Submitted by Alfred-Pellan

WHEREAS employees and formers employees of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have brought to light serious allegations of sexual harassment within the RCMP;

WHEREAS the allegations of sexual harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police undermines public confidence in the national police force; and

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party of Canada continues to urge the Government of Canada to take a leadership role in ending the culture of sexual harassment in the RCMP by identifying and addressing the underlying systemic causes of gender inequality in the RCMP; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to collect specific data on the occurrences of sexual harassment in federally regulated workplaces and report these findings to Parliament.

3-05-13 Resolution on Safe Food
Submitted by Blackstrap
WHEREAS concerns about food safety are growing across Canada.

WHEREAS numerous Canadian polls show consumers are concerned about food safety and food handling methods.

WHEREAS the policies and the rules are not always enforced.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP Opposition ensure that the federal government maintain Canadian food policies and inspection standards at the highest possible level and that policies for food safety, inspection and financial and human resources be reviewed regularly.

4-01-13 Omnibus 1 – Veterans
As Compiled by the Resolutions Committee
Submitted by Sackville-Eastern Shore, London—Fanshawe, London West

Part 1 – Veterans’ Care
BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 4.6 of the policy book by adding the following:

New Democrats believe in:

T. Improving, reviewing, and updating the New Veterans Charter including the lump-sum payment for injured veterans.

U. Applying the principle of One Veteran, One Standard to all federal government programs and services for veterans. Eliminate the current program approach that unfairly establishes “classes” of veterans and family members and offers benefits based on where or when the veteran served and the type of service.

Part 2 – Fairness for CF and RCMP veterans and their families

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 4.6 of the policy book by adding the following:

V. Responding to the concerns of veterans exposed to nuclear weapon trials and those who assisted in the Chalk River clean-up, known as Canada’s “Atomic Veterans”.

W. Respond to concerns about unequal standards of care for injured reservists.

Part 3 – Support for CF and RCMP Veterans and their families

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 4.6 of the policy book by adding the following:

X. Better support for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) for currently serving CF and RCMP members, veterans, and their families.

Y. Review outstanding grievances of CF and RCMP veterans who have been exposed to occupational hazards like asbestos, depleted uranium, defoliant spraying, and others, to see where departmental benefits and services can be applied. No veteran should fall through the cracks.

Z. Support research on unique challenges and health needs of military and RCMP veterans and their families and develop strategies to meet their health needs.

Part 4 – Replacement of Policy on Economic Security for CF and RCMP Veterans

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Section 4.6 of the policy book be deleted:

i. Ensuring economic security for Canadian Forces veterans and families, including all spouses, by extending the Veterans Independence Program and enhancing survivors’ pensions.and replaced by:

i. Ensuring economic security for Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans and their families by extending the Veterans Independence Program, enhancing survivors’ pensions, and supporting homeless or at risk veterans.

Part 5 – Replacement of Policy on Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP)

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Section 4.6. in the policy book be deleted:

k. Ending the unjust cuts to the Service Income Security Insurance Plan for medically released members of the Canadian Forces and former RCMP members and replaced by:

k. Ending the unjust offset of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) disability pensions for medically released members of the RCMP, similar to the end of the unjust offset of Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) that affected injured Canadian Forces veterans.

Part 6 – Replacement of Policy on Veterans Transition into Civilian Life

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Section 4.6 of the policy book be deleted:

l. Supporting initiatives to help veterans transition into the civilian workforce, such as “Helmets-toHardhats” program to help veterans transition to construction and shipbuilding trades and replaced by:

l. Supporting initiatives to help veterans transition into the civilian workforce including programs that help veterans transition to construction and shipbuilding trades.

Part 7 – Replacement of Policy on Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB)

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Section 4.6 of the policy book be deleted

S. Eliminating the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and/or reforming the Board by appointing its members from the military, RCMP, and medical personnel, in order to ensure that veterans’ appeals are fairly reviewed by their peers
and replaced by:

S. Replacing the Veterans Review and Appeal Board with a medical evidence-based peer reviewed process for disability benefit applications in consultation with veterans and veterans’ organizations.

Part 8 – Recognition of Aboriginal Veterans

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 6.4 of the policy book by adding the following:

New Democrats believe in:

j. Enhance recognition of the contribution of Aboriginal veterans.

Part 9 – Apology to Gay and Lesbian Veterans

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 6.2 of the policy book by adding the following:

New Democrats believe in:

i) Respond to the concerns of gay and lesbian veterans who were forced out the military with an eye to removing the “dishounourable discharge” from their records.

Part 10 – Enhancement of Veterans’ Rights

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 6.5 of the policy book by adding the following:

New Democrats believe in:

(d) Enhancement of Veterans rights so that principles of fair treatment will guide legislation, programs, and services that provide on-going support of CF and RCMP veterans and their families

(e) Ensuring veterans programs and services are kept current, quickly respond to identified gaps in veterans’ care, and continually update programs to ensure needs of veterans and their families are met.

(f) Expanding the role of Veterans Ombudsman to provide independent analysis and reports to Parliament.

(g) Adopt an Identity Card for CF and RCMP veterans and their families to better facilitate contact and communication with veterans and create efficiencies in the delivery of programs.

Part 11 – Greater Recognition of Women Veterans

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be amended to Section 6.1 of the policy book by adding the following:

New Democrats believe in:

k) Greater recognition of the significant contributions of women while serving in Canada’ military or RCMP whether they served during war, here at home, or on peacekeeping missions and that measures are in place to continually safeguard equality of all serving members.

Part 12 – Veterans

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the following clauses be added to Section 4.6 in the policy book, with the first clause replacing clause “s” and all subsequent clauses being alphabetized accordingly.

New Democrats believe in:

• Replacing the Veterans Review and Appeal Board with a medical evidence-based peer reviewed process for disability benefit applications in consultation with veterans and veterans’ organizations.

• Improving, reviewing, and updating the New Veterans Charter including the lump-sum payment for injured veterans.

• Applying the principle of One Veteran, One Standard to all federal government programs and services for veterans. Eliminate the current program approach that unfairly establishes “classes” of veterans and family members and offers benefits based on where or when the veteran served and the type of service.

• Ending the unjust offset of long-term disability pension benefits for medically released members of the RCMP. (Disability pension payments from Veterans Affairs are offset when members receive long-term disability benefits through the Great West Life Assurance Company Group Policy for disabilities or injuries that occurred while on duty).

• Better compensation, recognition, and call for public inquiry for veterans exposed to nuclear weapon trails and those who assisted in the Chalk River clean-up, known as Canada’s “Atomic Veterans”.

• Better support for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) for currently serving CF and RCMP members and veterans.

• Expanding the role of Veterans Ombudsman to provide independent analysis and reports to Parliament.

• Ensuring veterans programs and services are kept current, quickly respond to identified gaps in veterans’ care, and continually update programs to ensure needs of veterans and their families are met.

4-02-13 Resolution on Foreign Investment Review and Target
Submitted by UFCW Canada, UFCW Canada Local 1518, UFCW Canada Local 1000A

WHEREAS Target purchased the lease agreement for up to 220 Zellers Stores in Canada; and

WHEREAS over 10,000 Zellers employees have been terminated; and

WHEREAS Target will only offer former Zellers employees an interview with no guarantee of a job or recognition of their years of service; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED That an NDP government will lower the threshold for a full review under the Investment Canada Act; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED When determining the ‘net benefit’ test for the sale of a company, that the impact on the employees and their working conditions must be considered.

4-03-13 Resolution on Recognizing Jaswant Singh Khaira as a Human Rights Defender
Submitted by Bramalea-Gore Malton

WHEREAS Jaswant Singh Khalra’s investigation of thousands of cases of missing, murdered and disappeared Sikhs in the Punjab earned him recognition from Amnesty International as a defender of human rights;

WHEREAS Jaswant Singh Khalra visited Canada and presented his findings to Canadians and Members of Parliament immediately before his forced disappearance in 1995;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT New Democrats recognize Jaswant Singh Khalra as an important defender of human rights and in his memory, recommit to the pursuit of justice and transparency characterized by our shared values of truth, justice and respect of human rights

4-05-13 Resolution on International Trade
Submitted by Submitted by: Kitchener Waterloo, Davenport, South Shore-St. Margaret’s, CEP (the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union), New Westminster-Coquitlam 

WHEREAS the people of Canada’s ability to regulate and support local economic development has been undermined numerous times under World Trade Organization tribunals and NAFTA investor-state arbitration regimes

BE IT RESOLVED that the following clauses be added to Section 4.5 of the policy book:

“g. preserving the rights of municipal governments and provincial entities such as Hydro Quebec and Manitoba Hydro to include local content and other local economic development requirements as part of their procurement policy

h. not negotiating investor-state dispute resolutions mechanisms into trade agreements, consistent with the policy of the Labour government and party of Australia.”

4-13-13 Resolution on Temporary Foreign Workers
Submitted by Toronto—Danforth

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the following clause be added to Section 4.3 of the policy book:

i. Working with foreign embassies of sending countries to ensure temporary foreign workers coming to Canada are informed of their rights; working with the provinces to institute a licensing system for foreign recruiters (as is done in Manitoba) and a registration system for employers of temporary foreign workers; and providing access to federal hearings for temporary foreign
workers who face deportation.

E-1 Emergency resolution on NunatuKavut Community
Submitted by: Labrador

WHEREAS the NDP has consistently called on the Government of Canada to live up to its responsibilities towards all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, and to make treaties, as well as the settlement and implementation of comprehensive land claims a priority;

WHEREAS, this Conservative government has not respected its obligations under Section 35 of the Constitution to consult Aboriginal peoples when contemplating actions that may negatively impact on their rights, but instead has chosen to use a confrontational approach; and

WHEREAS this disrespectful approach of the Conservatives extends to their refusal to even negotiate in good faith the outstanding land claims in Labrador, which has led members of the NunatuKavut Community to resort to hunger strikes and civil disobedience, just to be heard;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party condemns the Conservative government’s confrontational approach, and demands that it immediately begin good faith negotiations with NunatuKavut Community Council on their comprehensive land claims; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party reaffirms its commitment to a nation-to-nation dialogue with all Aboriginal peoples, be they First Nations, Métis or Inuit.

E-2 Labour sponsored venture capital tax credit
Submitted by : various members

WHEREAS labour-sponsored venture capital companies, like the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Fondaction, and GrowthWorks Capital, are important drivers for economic development, particularly for the start-up of small businesses, which create and maintain quality jobs here in Canada;

WHEREAS labour-sponsored funds are important sources of venture capital, a sector of the Canadian economy which, even adjusted for the size of our economy, was up to twenty times lower than in the United States;

WHEREAS according to Deloitte, the lack of risk capital restricts innovation across the country;

WHEREAS many investors planned their retirement based on the return they could obtain from investments and tax credit they get from contributing to a labour-sponsored venture capital fund.

WHEREAS the Conservative government claims it wants to encourage Canadians to save money for the retirement;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the NDP opposes the Conservative government’s ideological decision in Budget 2013 to eliminate the labour-sponsored venture capital tax credit for funds like the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Fondactions, and GrowthWorksCapital, companies that serves as savings vehicles for many Canadians planning their retirement; that provide funding to help small business start-ups and encourage innovation, which is largely lacking in Canada; and that help create and safeguard jobs across the country, particularly in the rural areas.

E-3 Emergency resolution on United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
Submitted by: La Pointe-de-l’Île

WHEREAS Canada is the only country in the world to pull out of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, despite the growing crisis of climate change and the human toll taken by drought in the world’s poorest regions;

WHEREAS this convention is the world’s only binding instrument addressing desertification and drought;

WHEREAS Canada’s annual contribution is actually less than the $350,461 spent by Senator Pamela Wallin on travel since September 2010;

WHEREAS more than half of all deaths in natural disasters worldwide are related to drought, which also has severe impacts in the Canadian prairies; and

WHEREAS this decision follows on the heels of other Conservative moves to ignore the impacts of climate change, including muzzling government scientists, pulling out of the Kyoto agreement, shutting down the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and closing the world-leading Experimental Lakes Area;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT New Democrats condemn the Conservative decision to pull out of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and call for its immediate reversal;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT New Democrats pledge to continue to work to address the crisis of climate change at home and abroad, including through participation in agreements and programs to address the impacts of desertification.

E-4 Emergency resolution regarding recent disclosures about abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program
Submitted by: various members

WHEREAS Conservatives have completely mismanaged the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFW) – and Canadians are paying the price;

WHEREAS lax Conservative oversight of the TFW program has led to misuse of the program, outsourcing of jobs to temporary foreign workers, and abuses of workers at other work sites;

WHEREAS Conservatives have feigned outrage hoping Canadians forget that they created the loopholes that allow companies to abuse the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and displace Canadian workers; and

WHEREAS Canadians are demanding immediate action because they are tired of empty promises and unaccountable reviews;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT New Democrats demand the closing of loopholes in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that allows employers to fire Canadian workers and replace them with temporary foreign workers;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT New Democrats condemn the Conservative provision allowing Temporary Foreign Workers to be paid 15% less than Canadian workers;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT New Democrats call for increased monitoring of compliance including working with the provinces to ensure that the rights of temporary foreign workers are protected and that exploitation of workers does not occur; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT New Democrats demand a clear timeline for independent review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and its impact on Canadian employment and labour standards.

E-5 Emergency resolution on the on-going crisis in First Nations Communities
Submitted by : Aboriginal Commission

WHEREAS the continuing incation of the Conservative government has pushed the arleady heightened sense of frustration felt by First Nations expressed through the Idle No More grassroots movement to a tipping point :

WHEREAS in a country like ours, no one should have to risk their health to be heard by this Government; and

WHEREA the path that this Conservative government has choses unnecessarily escalates tension among First Nations and sets the stage for future confrontations;

BE IT RESOLVED that the New Democratic Party demands the immediate fulfillment of commitments made by the Government of Canada at both the January 24, 2012 and January 11, 2013 meetings; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT a New Democrat government would renew the Crown-First Nations relationship on a respectful nation-to-nation basis.

E-6 Emergency resolution regarding the newly released information on tax havens
Submitted by : various members

WHEREAS the Canadian government is losing billions of dollars in revenue as a result of illegal tax evasion and unethical tax avoidance using overseas tax havens;

WHEREAS this loss of revenue through the use of tax havens places an additional tax burden on the millions of Canadians who pay their fair share of taxes;

WHEREAS this Conservative government has announced plans to cut hundreds of millions of dollars for assessment and compliance at the Canada Revenue Agency that will hinder our ability to pursue tax cheats; and

WHEREAS a recent leak of financial data, containing information on hundreds of Canadians using tax havens, has highlighted the inadequacy of existing measures to combat tax evasion;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the New Democratic Party of Canada call on the federal government to:

a) provide the Canada Revenue Agency with the resources necessary to successfully meet its mandate in serving Canadians and cracking down on tax cheats;

b) finally estimate the “tax gap” – the total loss of revenue caused by the inappropriate use of tax havens – or to provide the necessary information for this calculation to the Parliamentary Budget Officer; and

c) take immediate action to curb tax evasion through tax havens by negotiating automatic tax information exchange agreements.


 

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