Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stops in Barrie – OrilliaMatters

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stops in Barrie - OrilliaMatters
Trudeau promises more financial supports for seniors — but no independent accounting
"We know that one in three Canadians has no coverage at all, this is a serious concern," he said. "Our plan that we are putting forward is Dentacare."

Singh announced the plan would extend coverage to households with an income less than $70,000. "This is a bold step forward."

When it comes to water protection — including bodies of water like Lake Simcoe — Singh said: “One of the things that I find really troublesome is that we don’t have the right infrastructure to ensure when there is massive rainfall that water that shouldn’t be in the lake ends up in the lake.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stops in Barrie ahead of 2019 federal election

The NDP leader will be in Barrie on Wednesday afternoon to meet with NDP candidates Pekka Reinio and Dan Janssen.

“We put in place a mitigation fund, which is a significant investment, so cities and municipalities that are being flooded can actually get access to funds to put in place the right infrastructure to prevent those impacts, to mitigate those impacts,” Singh added.

We will have much more on Jagmeet Singhs visit to Barrie in our one-on-one interview the leader on CTV News at 6 p.m.

ANALYSIS: Jagmeet Singhs crucial Quebec launch lacks exposure to voters

The Liberals are offering new financial supports for seniors — but no independent analysis of how much they would cost Canadians.

Singh said it’s important to ensure that people know the information they need to so they can make informed decisions. He also said behaviour that can hurt people should be discouraged and that positive health behaviour should be encouraged.

During a campaign event in Fredericton, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced that a re-elected government led by him would provide a 10 per cent boost to Old Age Security (OAS) at age 75 and a 25 per cent increase to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for widows.

According to the Liberal Party, the OAS increase would give Canadians aged 75 and older an extra $729 each year and lift 20,000 seniors out of poverty.

The increase would take effect in July 2020 and would be indexed to keep up with inflation. The full value of the benefit would be received by every senior who makes less than $77,580 today.

Widows or widowers would receive up to $2,080 in additional benefits every year with the increased survivor's benefit under the CPP and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).

“Our plan is one that is very clear. We’ve laid it out, we’ve costed it and we have a path to achieve it,” Singh told reporters Wednesday regarding the dental care announcement.

Asked if Canadians would be required to pay higher premiums to pay for the increase, Trudeau did not provide a clear answer.

The visit came after Singh’s announcement Wednesday morning that an NDP government would extend full public dental coverage to households making less than $70,000 a year.

"That's a conversation that we're going to be having with the provinces," he said.

“I think we’ve got to be very careful in making sure we’ve got evidence and make an evidence-based decision around any new product.”

Trudeau said losing a partner is one of the hardest things to endure, and this added support will help during the period of grief.

One of the commitments we made in the last election was to empower the Parliamentary Budget Officer to be able to actually cost the different political parties election platforms and I can assure that we have been and are working with the Parliamentary Budget Officer on costing elements for our platform, he said. We will be releasing a fully costed, fully responsible platform in the coming weeks, including all the work done by the Parliamentary Budget Officer on specific measures.

"Seniors have built the Canada that we know and love today. And they deserve to enjoy their golden years to the fullest," Trudeau said during a campaign event in Fredericton.

We believe that by including the costing at the moment of the announcement, its better for Canadians so that they can have the details right away, said Mr. Scheer during a campaign stop in Hamilton. Obviously, the Liberals have a terrible fiscal record that they are ashamed of. I believe thats why theyre not participating in the very process that they themselves set up.

Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, warned that the boost in CPP could come at a big cost.

The Liberal government legislated the expanded mandate for the PBO by amending the Parliament of Canada Act as part of a 2017 omnibus budget bill. The changes authorized the PBO to cost individual spending promises upon request, but it did not give the PBO a mandate to review party platforms in their entirety.

"CPP premiums are already set to rise by 20 per cent over the next few years. Canadians should be informed of the costs of the new Liberal Party promise to boost survivors' pensions. This could be a big one and cost jobs. Also, seven provinces would need to agree before it goes ahead," Kelly said in a statement to CBC.

Mr. Page was the parliamentary budget officer from 2008 to 2013. He is currently the president and CEO of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa. The institute will provide its own assessment of the party platforms once they are released.

One national seniors' advocacy group applauded the measures. The Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) said a survey of its members found 64 per cent were worried about outliving their savings in retirement.

In contrast, the Liberal Party revealed this week that it is only submitting big ticket items to the PBO for analysis. The party has also decided that these PBO reports can only be released when the Liberal Party unveils its full platform later in the campaign.

"Seniors poverty is a growing concern. The Liberals' proposed OAS increase would make a real difference to Canada's poorest seniors. And the proposed increase to the CPP survivor benefit is critically important to income security, especially for widowed women," CARP said in a statement.

According to background materials, the Liberal Party estimates the OAS increase would cost $1.63 billion in 2020-21, rising to $2.56 billion in 2023-24.

Trudeau is facing criticism for not providing the independent analysis of Liberal platform commitments, as the Conservatives and NDP have been doing. Today, he said only some parts of the platform would be subjected to the PBO's scrutiny.

"We will be releasing a fully costed, fully responsible platform in the coming weeks, including all the work done by the Parliamentary Budget Officer on specific measures," he said.

The Liberal Party campaign team told The Globe this week it decided these PBO reports will only be released when the full party platform is released, saying that releasing individual reports wouldnt tell the whole story.

The Liberals extended the mandate of the PBO to cost party platforms during election campaigns. The Liberals made a campaign promise in 2015 to "help Canadians make informed decisions during elections" and give Canadians a "credible, non-partisan way to compare each party's fiscal plans."

But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Trudeau's decision not to release costing with each campaign commitment, as his party has done, shows he has something to hide.

"Obviously the Liberals have a terrible fiscal record that they are ashamed of," Scheer said during a campaign event in Hamilton, Ont. "I believe that's why they're not participating in the very process that they themselves set up."

Speaking to a room of about 120 people, including a couple of dozen candidates, Singh talked about the importance of recognizing Quebecs cultural autonomy, with a platform that promises more money for immigrant integration, and the final say over infrastructure projects that have an environmental impact, such as pipelines.

Asked if the volume of requests has caused any delay or backlog, Sloane Mask, PBO's director of parliamentary relations and planning, told CBC this week the PBO "is meeting the current demand" for requests. The timing of the release of platform costing is up to the parties, she said.

Many knew who he was, for starters. A few wanted to discuss policy such as the environment, and, as expected, students were thrilled to hear about Singhs plan to immediately get rid of interest on student loans and eventually make tuition free. Quite a few students were just plain excited to meet him. They wanted selfies.

If the PBO is unable to complete a cost estimate, the request and the reason it could not be completed will be published on its website, Mask said.

With such bold promises, youd expect multiple opportunities to sell them to voters during his time in Quebec. But Singh had no big rallies. No secondary announcement to highlight or launch a particular part of the Quebec platform. And his schedule, overall, was light compared to the other party leaders.

Speaking about the new election costing mandate this spring, PBO Yves Giroux said the initiative will give political parties more certainty and boost their credibility.

Learning to roll w/NDP campaign: all of a sudden see Jagmeet Singh walk off. Where? To an impromptu photo op at a poutine festival in Saint-Hyacinthe. No one knows where. Journos wander for awhile asking locals for directions. Now theyre dancing to American Pie. With poutine. pic.twitter.com/c8f1oP6UFw

"But the main advantage will be for Canadians. Canadians will have enhanced reassurance that there is a non-partisan and professional organization that provides cost estimates for political parties' engagements," he said.

Its not a line youll hear from any other federal leader this campaign. But Jagmeet Singh said that to a student at McGill University who was asking about Singhs strength on the social media platform. And in his time connecting one on one with dozens of students on campus, he shone.

The NDP criticized Trudeau's track record on seniors' issues, pointing to thousands of retirees whose pensions were cut due to a lack of protections after Sears Canada's bankruptcy, and those seniors now without dental care and prescription coverage.

"At election time, Justin Trudeau gives us some pretty words but then gives tax breaks to the rich instead of doing the right thing for people. We'll protect pensions and take action on prescription drugs and dental care. That's what seniors deserve," said a statement from the NDP.

Singhs opponents Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer regularly have more events in a day. They have each held rallies with hundreds of people. (Of course, the Liberals and Conservatives also have much bigger war chests and campaign teams.)

The Conservatives said Liberal policies have made life less affordable for seniors, citing the carbon tax and the cancellation of the transit tax credit. Scheer is promising to help seniors by introducing a universal tax cut, cancelling the carbon tax and removing the GST from home heating.

Behind the scenes, a party official told Global News that Singh is busy when hes not at public events — having private meetings, doing regional media interviews and working on debate prep. (Of course, his opponents do that, too.)

"Justin Trudeau cannot be trusted to deliver for Canadian seniors. In 2015, Trudeau promised seniors he would create a seniors price index but he did nothing for four years and abandoned that plan. Now that he needs your vote, he's making even more promises that he won't keep," said a statement from the Conservative Party.

Singh then made an impromptu decision to walk over to a nearby poutine festival, but there werent too many people to talk to there — although his dancing to American Pie with poutine in hand did become popular on Twitter.

Kathleen Harris is a senior writer in the CBC's Parliament Hill bureau. She covers politics, immigration, justice and corrections.

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