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A new deal to build stronger, more vibrant communities

People across the country are proud of where they live. But decades of cuts from Liberal and Conservative governments have added up. People can no longer rely on the services they need – and our communities are feeling the squeeze.

We can build safe and welcoming communities for Canadians, including new Canadians, by investing in public infrastructure, supporting Canadian art and culture, and making sure people have access to the services they count on – no matter where they live. Together, we can make our communities strong and vibrant.

Our commitments to you

Building the infrastructure we need

We’re committed to strong infrastructure because it makes people’s lives easier. And that means good jobs, reliable public services, convenient transit, affordable housing, and high-speed internet – no matter where you live.

Supporting Canadian arts and culture

Art and culture are at the heart of who we are as Canadians – but decades of cuts threaten our arts and film industries. We’re committed to supporting strong, independent Canadian arts and culture, and Canadian film, television, and media.

Investing in rural communities

Where you live shouldn’t limit your opportunities, or make it harder to access the services you need. New Democrats will improve in-person, transit, postal, and digital services in rural and northern communities.

Welcoming new Canadians

Our diversity is our strength. We’re committed to protecting newcomers, reuniting families, and resettling refugees with the fairness, respect, and dignity they deserve.

Working together for safer communities

Every Canadian deserves to feel safe and secure. We’ll support innovative community policing, support victims of crime, and fight hate and racism.
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Building the infrastructure we need

Investing in public infrastructure creates good jobs, makes our communities more livable, and helps fight climate change. It’s one of the most important ways that governments can make people’s lives easier.

But instead of rolling out an ambitious plan to get our communities moving like they promised in the last election, this Liberal government wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on an infrastructure bank that’s only supported two projects with loans. This privatization of public infrastructure through this bank will hit Canadians in the wallet. In fact, Justin Trudeau has refused to rule out the idea of forcing Canadians to pay back investors through tolls and other user fees.

New Democrats believe that Canadians should be able to count on the federal government to invest in infrastructure to make a real difference in communities across the country, not to pad the bank accounts of investment firms.

Our vision is one where communities can afford to build the infrastructure they need to thrive, from roads and bridges to community centres and child care centres, and everything in between. These investments will create good jobs in every part of the country. To get there, we will partner with provinces, territories, First Nations, and municipalities to deliver reliable public infrastructure funding that puts people – not profit – first. By using Community Benefit Agreements, we will guarantee that good jobs, training, apprenticeships, and support for local businesses are part of every infrastructure project.

When it comes to getting around, public transit should be a convenient and affordable option that makes your commute easier, all while taking cars off the road, cutting emissions, and reducing gridlock. New Democrats understand that getting our communities moving is critical for our economy and our quality of life. That’s why we’ll put in place a permanent, direct, allocation-based funding mechanism for modern public transit across Canada for the long run. We’ll also step up investments now to help cities transition their bus fleets to electric and to expand affordable rail and bus options in all parts of the country. And for municipalities that make it a priority, a New Democrat government will work with them towards fare-free transit to ease commutes and make life more affordable.

Nothing is more important than having a place to call home. No matter who you are, you need a safe and affordable place to live and raise your family. But Canadians across the country are facing a housing crisis and we need a government that gets back to work building new affordable housing to help confront it. A New Democrat government will partner with provinces and municipalities to create half a million units of affordable housing over the next ten years. This will include social housing, community, and non-market housing, as well as co-ops. We’ll also streamline the application process and immediately provide dedicated fast-start funds to help communities get the expertise and assistance they need to get projects off the ground now, not years from now. Wherever possible, we’ll encourage provinces to work with social enterprises to make sure that the training and jobs associated with building affordable housing go to those who need opportunities the most.

As the impacts of climate change are felt across the country, New Democrats believe that all levels of government have to step up to help communities cope with the impacts of extreme weather. That’s why a New Democrat government will expand federal funding to respond to disasters and support communities in proactively adapting their infrastructure to withstand floods, forest fires, and other extreme weather events. We will also partner with Canadians and communities to make serious investments in making buildings more energy efficient to help families save money and fight climate change.

In our digital age, technological infrastructure is more important than ever. That’s why we’re committed to making sure that every community in Canada has access to high-speed internet. We’ll also ensure that the right investments are made to expand cell phone coverage to all parts of the country, so that Canadians can stay connected – affordably – no matter where they are.

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Supporting Canadian arts and culture

Arts and culture are at the heart of who we are as Canadians. It’s how we listen and understand each other better. It’s how we connect across vast distances and celebrate our identities. And in such a diverse country, it’s how we share our incredible stories with each other in both official languages and with the entire world.

Canada’s film and television industry is also a big part of our economy’s future and is at the heart of our culture in this increasingly digital era. Almost 180,000 people work in this $9 billion industry across Canada in good family-sustaining jobs.

But after decades of cuts, a rapidly digitizing media landscape, and government inaction are putting Canadian arts, culture, and jobs at risk.

It’s time for a different approach.

New Democrats will protect our heritage and support a strong, independent Canadian arts and culture industry. New Democrats will make sure that Canadian talent can thrive on both digital and traditional platforms – here at home and around the world. We think that artists should be able to earn a decent living from their art and that government has an important role to play in making sure that a diversity of Canadian voices tell our stories.

Most Canadians now get their news from Facebook and Netflix is the largest broadcaster in the country. But these web giants don’t pay the same taxes, or contribute to funding Canadian content in the same way that traditional media do. Canadian film, television, and media is up against a tidal wave of well-funded American content but the Liberals have refused to take action to level the playing field.

That’s why we will step up to make sure that Netflix, Facebook, Google, and other digital media companies play by the same rules as Canadian broadcasters. That means paying taxes, supporting Canadian content in both official languages, and taking responsibility for what appears on their platforms - just like other media outlets.

We’ll also increase funding for CBC and Radio-Canada to help reverse the damage of decades of funding cuts under both Liberal and Conservative governments. Public broadcasting has a remarkable legacy of connecting all points of our country and it needs to have an even stronger future now more than ever to help make sure that Canadians have access to accurate, relevant information no matter where they live.

We will make sure that arts and cultural institutions receive stable, long-term funding to grow and promote Canada’s diverse cultures and histories. We will also extend support to Canadian media to assist them in making the digital transition.

The arts also have a vital place in reconciliation. A New Democrat government will provide financial support for Indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre as part of our larger efforts to honour and support Indigenous arts and culture.

Finally, recognizing the special challenges faced by people who make a living in the arts and culture industry, we’ll make life more affordable by putting in place income tax averaging for artists and cultural workers.

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Investing in rural communities

We need a government that listens to all of Canada’s regions and recognizes the incredible contributions that our rural, remote, and northern communities make to the prosperity and strength of our entire country. Unfortunately, for too long, Liberal and Conservative governments have tried to pit one region against another, while failing to deliver the help that Canadians living in rural and remote communities need. And the Conservatives made damaging cuts to service delivery in rural Canada, forcing people to drive for hours to get the services they need.

It’s time for change that makes life better in all of our regions. New Democrats have a plan to make life easier no matter where you live and make sure that all communities in our country have a bright future.

People in rural Canada deserve better access to services but the future of our rural communities depends on those services being available. That’s why a New Democrat government will focus on improving access to in-person services in northern and rural communities. In order to make our rural and northern communities safer, and to recognize the selfless work of our volunteer emergency responders, we’ll also expand the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit and ensure that federal funding for rural and First Nations policing is made available in a fair, predictable, and sustainable way.

In many rural areas, simple things like going to the bank have become complicated and difficult. Despite record profits, financial institutions are closing rural branches and cutting services in more and more communities every year. It’s clear that we need to find other ways to deliver these important financial services. Today, almost 1,200 rural communities in Canada have a post office but no financial services. That’s why a New Democrat government will work with Canada Post to develop a model of postal banking that will help nearly two million Canadians access more affordable, quality banking services where none are currently available.

Travel is a necessity of life in rural Canada and it should be easier to get around without putting a dent in the family budget. But instead of improving rural tranist services, the lack of funding and coordination under this Liberal government has made the situation worse. Combined with Greyhound’s route cancellations, too many communities have been left stranded without reliable transportation services.

New Democrats believe that every community in Canada should be able to count on reliable transit to connect them to their jobs, health care services, schools, and family members. That’s why we’ll work with the provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities to grow affordable transit services for rural areas, including restoring cancelled bus services in Western Canada, expanding bus service into East Kootenay, restarting the Ontario Northlander train, and much more to keep our communities connected.

Staying connected digitally is more essential than ever, yet too many rural communities in Canada don’t have reliable cell phone or broadband service. A New Democrat government will change that by delivering high-speed rural broadband to all communities in Canada without delay and ensuring that reliable cell phone service is expanded to every area of Canada, while keeping rates affordable for families and businesses.

Rural Canada drives at least a third of the country’s economy, but successive Liberal and Conservative governments have missed the opportunity to develop these regions to their full potential. A New Democrat government will invest in regional economic development agencies and provide economic support for rural areas to invest in job creation in areas like tourism and community development.

Many northern, rural, and remote communities are working hard to retain families, attract workers, and stop out-migration but they can’t do it alone. That’s why New Democrats will put in place a new tax credit for graduates to work in designated rural and northern communities, and make it easier for employers to hire and retain the workers they need.

To make all of Canada’s communities sustainable for the long term, we need to change how we build them. Rural communities need fair access to federal infrastructure and transit funds, and more help to prepare for and deal with the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. New Democrats will work with provinces to put in place a new deal for rural infrastructure programs that provide long-term predictable funding for communities. And we’ll increase the amount of help the federal government provides to communities to adapt to climate change and rebuild when disasters happen. We’ll make sure that affordable housing investments go to rural communities, too, and that federal infrastructure dollars flow now to create good local jobs that stay in the community.

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Welcoming new Canadians

Immigration makes Canada stronger, Welcoming new talent and energy from around the world builds our communities and boosts our economy. Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world and we are richer and stronger for it.

Yet, under the Liberal government, too many new Canadians are waiting years to reunify with family members. Highly educated people are struggling to get work in their field of expertise, causing stress for their families as they struggle to make ends meet and to fulfill their potential. And instead of helping, too many Conservatives want to make the situation worse with dangerous statements that seek to divide our communities.

Our immigration system should be accountable to Canadians and rooted in the values of fairness, respect, and dignity. We know that immigrants strengthen our country and we will always stand against those who would use fear of our neighbours to divide us. We believe in a Canada where newcomers can rely on a fair process and find success when they arrive. And where no one is separated from their loved ones for years because of backlogs.

That’s why a New Democrat government will make sure that our immigration policies and levels meet Canada’s labour force needs and recognize people’s experiences, contributions, and ties to Canada. We will work with the provinces to address gaps in settlement services and improve foreign credentials recognition.

We believe that in Canada, family reunification should be a priority. But this year, thousands of families who hoped to apply to bring a parent or grandparent were let down when the available spots were filled in just eleven minutes. New Democrats will end the unfair cap on applications to sponsor parents and grandparents, and take on the backlogs that delay reunification for years.

We need all kinds of workers in Canada and if someone is good enough to come and work here, then there should be a path for them to stay permanently. New Democrats will protect newcomers by taking on unscrupulous immigration consultants, ensuring that the industry is regulated by the government. And we’ll treat caregivers brought to Canada with respect and dignity, providing them with status and allowing them to reunite with their families without delay.

As the world experiences an unprecedented refugee crisis, Canada also has a vital role to play in resettling people forced out of their homes by conflict, persecution, and disasters. But under the Liberal government, the backlog of asylum seekers is set to more than double in the next few years. A New Democrat government will fix the system to get rid of the backlog and work with Canadians to resettle refugees in our communities and ensure that they are given the support they need to build successful lives and new homes here in Canada.

Finally, New Democrats will make the right choice to promote safety, security, and efficiency in Canada’s border communities by suspending the Safe Third Country agreement with the United States, allowing people to make asylum claims at official border crossings.

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Working together for safer communities

Every Canadian deserves to feel secure in the knowledge that their streets, home, business, and community are safe. New Democrats know that building a sense of community safety is not just about the absence of crime. It’s about making sure that everyone matters, that we address the root causes of crime, and that the justice system treats everyone fairly.

When we focus on increasing social inclusion, promoting public health, ensuring food security, access to education, affordable housing, and increasing youth engagement, we not only provide Canadians with important services, we also reduce the risk of crime. But when crime threatens and safety is at risk, there’s much more that the federal government can do to protect Canadians and foster safer communities for the long term.

A New Democrat government will work with the provinces, territories, and Indigenous governments to support innovative models of community policing. And we will make sure that the RCMP retains trained members and provides a harassment-free work environment.

It’s time for the federal government to tackle the growing threat of hate crimes targeting communities in Canada. We will begin work immediately to ensure that all major cities have dedicated hate crime units within local police forces and to convene a national working group to counter online hate. New Democrats will always stand up against all forms of hate, racism, including anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, gender-based violence, homophobia, and transphobia.

Too many lives have been lost in Canadian cities to rising gun crime. We will work to keep assault weapons and illegal handguns off our streets and to tackle gun smuggling and organized crime.

To help protect our communities against gangs, New Democrats will make sure that communities have access to funding for anti-gang projects that help deter at-risk youth from joining gangs. We’ll address radicalization by focusing on preventing youth from falling prey to violent extremism through support for community-led initiatives.

Our vision of public safety is one that is informed by the need for more restorative justice. Victims should have access to the services and supports they need, such as counselling, referrals, police, and court-related services, and a voice in decisions that may impact their safety.

New Democrats will deal with threats to our national security, including foreign interference and espionage, terrorism, and cybercrime, by working with our international allies, enhancing real-time oversight of security services, and fully respecting the privacy and Charter rights of all Canadians.