Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said the NDP annoucement was made on Monday.
Vowing to “fight for you,” federal NDP candidates across Niagara on Tuesday unveiled a list of promises that they say will help make a difference in the lives of area residents.
The candidates were speaking outside the Welland Hospital, which the NDP fears could be closed by the provincial Tories.
Brian Barker, the New Democrat candidate in Niagara Falls riding, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie, said, “People in the Niagara region desperately need access to health care services. Douglas Memorial in Fort Erie is under the threat of closure and people in Niagara Falls still don’t have the new hospital they were promised.”
In a media statement, Barker said New Democrats will “fight to ensure all Canadians have the health care services they need including prescription drug and dental coverage.”
The candidates said they will “fight for things that matter to people in Niagara” such as pharmacare and dental care, affordable homes, student debt, fighting climate change, and capping cellphone and internet bills.
Barker said his party’s plan “recognizes how unique Niagara is in Canada and recognizes the role of Niagara-on-the-Lake within Niagara.
“Our plan provides direct funding to help municipalities deal with the climate crisis and repair the flooding that has affected us. It provides supports for farmers – whether they grow grapes or other crops – so that their products can make it to shelves with priority and their families can get the supports they need to keep their farms going.”
“As most people have seen, the NDP has been surging in Ontario and, as polls are showing, especially in Hamilton & Niagara. Yesterday we unveiled our plan, ‘A New Deal for Niagara’. It outlines specifically how the NDP will pay for and implement things like universal dental care and pharmacare while lowering student loan repayment costs, and your bills at home.
Niagara has an aging population and Barker said his party wants “to ensure that cost of living doesn’t outstrip incomes seniors are living on. It protects pensions, increases access to healthcare services instead of cutting them and finally makes affordable housing a reality in Niagara.”
As well, the NDP will continue to stand up to major corporations and developers to protect greenspaces, he said. “As the MP for Niagara-on-the-Lake, I recognize the importance of our natural and cultural heritage and would work with the community to make sure we’re open for business but that we can still protect the very character that makes the town so special.”
With only days till the election, Barker also expressed confidence about his chances. “As most people have seen, the NDP has been surging in Ontario and, as polls are showing, especially in Hamilton and Niagara,” he said, referring to Campaign Research poll that says the Liberals, Tories and NDP are running neck-and-neck in Hamilton-Niagara.
“Niagara-on-the-Lake is a very special and unique place, and as such it requires a locally focused approach to politics. Given our recent surge in the polls, I plan to bring that unique focus to Ottawa,” Barker said.