6 Reasons Why Jagmeet Singh Wants You To Vote NDP
He's promising to remove interest from federal student loans and build 500,000 units of affordable housing.
This article is a part of a Narcity series breaking down the highlights of what you need to know about where Canada's Political Party Leaders stand on issues important to millennials. Each leader was contacted by Narcity for comment. You can read more of our coverage of Canada's 2021 Federal Election here.
The NDP has released its campaign platform of promises, pledges and commitments, and Narcity spoke with Singh to learn more about what his party is planning to do for Canadians if elected on September 20.
Here are a few of the NDP's top priorities, including housing, post-secondary education and climate change.
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If elected, an NDP government is promising to create at least 500,000 units of affordable housing that are also of quality in the next 10 years, with half of them done within five years. The party also says it would waive federal GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units to help them get built faster.
The NDP wants to re-introduce 30-year terms for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation insured mortgages that are on entry-level homes purchased by first-time home buyers. That would mean smaller monthly payments.
It also promises to help with closing costs by doubling the Home Buyer's Tax Credit to $1,500.
To try and put a lid on high house prices and bring costs down, the party is pledging to put a 20% Foreign Buyer's tax on the sale of homes to people who aren't Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Singh also announced during a campaign stop that the NDP would give up to $5,000 a year to people who rent.
The NDP has promised to make investments that will create over a million jobs in its first term if it ends up in power.
The party has committed to creating a low-income supplement for Employment Insurance (EI) so that nobody receives less than $2,000 a month if they rely on EI regular or special benefits. They say EI would also be made available to people who quit their jobs to go back to school, to provide necessary childcare or to protect their health or the health of family members who are immunocompromised.
For Canadians who work in seasonal industries, the party is promising to bring back the Extra Five Weeks pilot project and make it permanent to bridge the gap between when EI ends and seasonal work starts.
The NDP wants to put a federal minimum wage in place starting at $15 an hour and then rising to $20 an hour.
Singh told Narcity that while the minimum wage for workers in other industries and sectors is up to provinces and territories, he's open to finding ways to help everyone, not just federal employees. "If there are ways that we can encourage better wages for all workers, I want to do that," he said.
3. Climate Change
The party has a target of reducing Canada's emissions by at least 50% from the 2005 levels by 2030. To help do that, they have promised to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies and put carbon budgets in place.
Another goal for the NDP is to implement an Environmental Bill of Rights and protect 30% of the country's land, freshwater and oceans by 2030.
They have also pledged to create an Office of Environmental Justice so that disproportionate impacts of pollution and loss of biodiversity on low-income, racialized and other marginalized communities can be addressed.
If provinces and municipalities identify it as a priority, the NDP says it would help them move towards fare-free transit to lower emissions but also ease commutes and help people make ends meet.
The party is also promising to waive the federal sales tax on zero-emissions vehicle purchases and increase the incentives for getting them up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles.
The NDP says it is planning to remove interest from federal student loans and introduce a targeted debt forgiveness program for graduates that will forgive up to $20,000 of student debt.
If elected, the party says it would move away from loans and permanently double non-repayable Canada Student Grants.
They want to work with provinces and territories to cap and reduce tuition fees and build towards making post-secondary education a part of Canada's public education system so that there is no cost barrier.
5. Vaccine Mandates
The NDP is in favour of requiring vaccinations for federal workers and says it would work with public sector unions to provide more education, remove barriers and give workers opportunities to get doses.
Singh told Narcity he believes the federal government should have a federal vaccine passport that people can use to show proof of identification and vaccination.
"There certainly should be one centralized document that can be used for international travel because we're going to need that anyways but also for moving around within Canada," he said. "I absolutely believe we need one, it would be easier for people to get around."
6. Other Priorities
Other issues that are top of mind for the NDP include strengthening public health care, undertaking the work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and creating a future that racism, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia have no place in.
The party wants to legislate 10 paid sick days for federally regulated workplaces and expand Medicare to include quality prescription drug coverage for everyone. They are also promising to put an end to high prices on everything from housing to medication.
Another NDP commitment is to implement a mixed-member proportional representation electoral system that would ensure voters' choices are reflected locally and federally. They also want to lower the voting age to 16.
To learn more about Canada's New Democratic Party's election promises, check out their campaign platform here.