Standing ovation for Tom’s speech

Two interesting things happened in Toronto earlier this month: NDP leader Tom Mulcair gave a lunchtime speech to the Economic Club of Canada—and the CEOs and business leaders in attendance gave him a standing ovation when he finished.
Since I feel the most important issue facing all Canadians is the weak and deteriorating economy, I’d like to use this space to share some passages from Tom’s speech about how we see our economic challenges and opportunities—and what a New Democrat government would do to generate good jobs and growth to support communities and middle-class families across Canada.
Here are a few of his key points:
“In 2015, middle-class families are working harder but falling further and further behind. Over the last 35 years, while our GDP has grown 147 percent, income for the typical Canadian family has actually shrunk by seven percent.
“And household debt is up–way up—hitting a record 163 percent of disposable income. The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, calls that ‘a significant risk to Canada’s financial stability. . . .’
“Today, there are 200,000 more out-of-work Canadians than before the recession. And too many of the new jobs that are being created are part-time and precarious.
“In fact, since 2008, two-thirds of all jobs created in Ontario have been part-time, temporary, or in self-employment. . . .
“We have to provide immediate and permanent help to some of the hardest-working job creators in our economy, Canada’s small business owners—the backbone of local communities and the creators of 80 percent of all new jobs in this great country of ours.
“That’s why my plan starts by cutting the small business tax rate from 11 to nine percent—a near 20 percent reduction.
“With this one practical measure, small businesses can better weather the current economic climate, hire more employees, and help their local communities prosper for years to come.
“We tabled a motion to that effect in the House of Commons. The Conservatives voted against it. Weeks later, they put our small business tax cut plan in their budget.
“But let me say to small business operators here in Toronto and across Canada: don’t be fooled by Stephen Harper. If he truly believed in giving you a break–to help you create new jobs—he wouldn’t make you wait another three years for it to come into effect.
“In the NDP, we know where we stand. We actually support small businesses and we’ll begin the tax reductions right away. . . .
“I come from the school of Tommy Douglas, who balanced 17 budgets in a row while he ushered in medicare. Or Roy Romonow, who rescued Saskatchewan from bankruptcy with prudent fiscal management. Or Manitoba’s Gary Doer, who has the best track record of any premier in the modern era for balanced budgets.
“And you don’t have to take our word for it. The federal Department of Finance’s own reports show that NDP governments are the best at balancing the books when in office.
“There was one exception–but he turned out to be a Liberal. . . .
“I believe in living within our means because that’s the best way for Canadians to control their economic destiny. The best way to grow a strong private-sector economy, with a strong middle-class supported by sustainable social programs and prudent, strategic economic investments.
“You can’t do any of that unless your fiscal house is in order. . . .
“When we consider the recent job losses, the drop in oil prices, or the closures in the retail sector, I believe that the focus of our response must be on the hard-working families who feel the effects of these events day-in and day-out. Their struggles will always guide my priorities.
“Only with a strong middle-class, will we have a stronger Canada. And while there is much to concern Canadians today, as I look ahead, I have tremendous optimism. . . .
“And friends, that’s my offer to Canadians in this fall’s election. A choice between change or more of the same, a better economic plan versus one that isn’t working, a choice between a stronger middle class or one that falls further behind.
“By working together, we can bring change to Ottawa for a stronger, more prosperous Canada.”
You can read Tom’s speech in its entirety at