The courage to do what’s right
Our commitments to you
Advancing gender equity
Upholding LGBTQI2S+ rights
Promoting official languages
Enhancing our justice system
A government that works for you and not insiders
Making every vote count – for real
A better role in the world
Defence at home and abroad
Advancing gender equity
We know that our families, our communities, and our country are stronger when women thrive. In Canada today, it’s still all too common for women to experience discrimination and gender-based violence, particularly if they are members of a marginalized community.
The Liberals have failed to back up their words with strong action to address systemic discrimination against women, and the Conservatives slashed funding for women’s equality while they were in power, setting us back decades.
Gender equity is a fundamental value for New Democrats, and we’re committed to building a Canada where no one is left behind. Right now, Canadian women make 32% less than men, and the gap is even wider for racialized women, Indigenous women, immigrant women, and women with a disability. A New Democrat government will prioritize pay equity to put an end to gender-based wage discrimination, require employers to be transparent about pay, and implement and enforce tough and pro-active pay equity legislation and regulations right away.
Our vision of Canada is one where women’s organizations have stable funding so that women can access the support and advocacy they need, when they need it. We’ll develop a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence, backed by funding to ensure that shelter services and other programs are available in all regions of the country, especially areas that have traditionally been underserved. New Democrats will promote domestic violence leave policies in workplaces, improve police training on sexual assault, and require universities to develop plans to end sexual violence on campus. And we’ll address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQI2S+ people by working with Indigenous peoples to implement the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry.
New Democrats believe that women shouldn’t have to choose between having a family and having a career – but the fact is, nearly 300,000 more women in Canada could join the workforce if they had access to adequate child care. It’s time for quality, affordable, not-for-profit child care that’s available to all Canadian families, no matter where they live. We’ll also make parental leave more flexible, make it easier to qualify for Employment Insurance, and support more options for women to build careers in the trades and other non-traditional fields like agriculture, innovation, research, and STEM.
New Democrats believe in respecting peoples’ rights to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives. Yet many individuals seeking abortion services in Canada can’t access them. Only one hospital in six offers abortion, and some provinces refuse to cover the cost of surgical abortion outside hospitals. Lack of access is even worse for people in rural areas and the North.
Everyone deserves safe, accessible abortion and reproductive health care services – no matter where they live or how much money they make. It’s not enough for elected officials to say that they won’t reopen the abortion debate – we need leaders to take action to improve access to services. New Democrats will enforce the Canada Health Act to make sure that the provinces make medical and surgical abortion available in all parts of the country, without barriers. We will also ensure that a full range of prescription contraceptive and reproductive health care options are easily accessible at no cost through Medicare and our national pharmacare program.
And finally, New Democrats will tackle obstacles to women’s political participation by reforming the electoral system and introducing legislation to encourage political parties to run more women candidates.
Upholding LGBTQI2S+ rights
Although Canada has made important strides in upholding LGBTQI2S+ rights, there is more work to be done to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S+ Canadians and make Canada a country where everyone can live free from hate and bias.
One of the most significant setbacks of recent years is the Liberals’ decision to maintain the discriminatory ban on blood donation by men who have sex with anyone assigned male at birth. We need behaviour-based screening rather than policies that discriminate against an entire sexual orientation. A New Democrat government will end the discriminatory blood ban and put in place policies based in public health evidence to secure the blood supply.
When it comes to sexual orientation and gender expression, damaging practices such as so-called “conversion therapy” have no place in Canada. We will develop a national action plan to ban conversion therapy for minors in Canada, and work with provinces and territories to support eliminating this practice in all parts of the country.
Access to gender confirming procedures and medication can be life-saving for some transgender people. New Democrats will work with the provinces to make sure that there is equal access to gender confirming surgery across the country, and that these procedures and medications are covered by public health plans.
New Democrats believe that Canada has a unique and important role to play in helping LGBTQI2S+ refugees around the world. We will establish a clear and permanent path for resettlement of LGBTQI2S+ refugees in Canada to replace the current piecemeal approach that only deals with emergency cases as they arise.
We can also do more to end employment discrimination faced by members of the LGBTQI2S+ community. A New Democrat government will add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the Employment Equity Act in order to address the disadvantages experienced by the LGBTGQ2+ community – and particularly transgender people – in finding work.
Today, Indigenous and racialized people in Canada are facing a frightening evolution of hate. In communities across the country, discrimination remains a reality, all while racist and extremist views are increasingly inescapable on the internet.
As New Democrats, we recognize the inherent dignity of all people. We know that racism hurts deeply and diminishes the humanity of marginalized people. The impacts of hateful speech are real: hate crimes spiked to an all-time high in Canada in 2017, with an increasing number of incidents targeting Muslim, Jewish, and Black Canadians. Indigenous peoples face discrimination and racism in their daily lives, too often with tragic consequences. More subtle discrimination exacts a toll, too. In Canada today, racialized people are more likely to face systemic barriers to employment, while immigrants and racialized communities are the targets of divisive rhetoric that pits neighbours against each other.
New Democrats believe that we cannot stand by and allow racism to flourish in our communities. It’s time to choose: we must turn the talk of diversity into action to confront racism, and put an end to it for good. We will work together to tackle the hate, racism, white supremacy, and systemic discrimination that are hurting people across the country.
Anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate are too often allowed to flourish on the internet. A New Democrat government will convene a national working group to counter online hate and protect public safety, and make sure that social media platforms are responsible for removing hateful and extremist content before it can do harm.
It’s important that police practices respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and foster trust between law enforcement and Canadians. Carding, or “street checks”, do not respect Charter rights and erode trust between the police and communities. A New Democrat government will move immediately to ban carding by federal law enforcement, and work with local partners across Canada to end this practice in all jurisdictions across the country. This will include a review of the information obtained through carding that has been retained by police, and an examination of how that information has been shared between the RCMP and other police forces and government agencies.
To address the chronic overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians in the federal prison population, we will put in place a national task force to develop a roadmap to end this systemic injustice. Working alongside Indigenous communities, this approach will include addressing the need for greater judicial discretion in sentencing, developing culturally appropriate bail programs, increasing restorative and community justice programs, and better integrating Gladue principles in court proceedings. We will also develop and implement an African Canadian Justice Strategy, working with Black Canadians with experience and expertise on criminal justice issues.
Employment discrimination on the basis of race continues to be an unacceptable problem in Canada, one that the federal government has failed to take on. Today, a university educated Canadian-born member of a racialized community earns, on average, only 87.4 cents for every dollar earned by their white peers, a gap that is even more pronounced for racialized women.
A New Democrat government will conduct a comprehensive review of the existing employment equity regime to help close the racialized wage gap. New Democrats will strengthen labour laws and ensure diverse and equitable hiring within the federal public service, and in federally regulated industries. Jobs and training for underrepresented groups will be a core part of federal infrastructure plans.
Lastly, we will work with the provinces and territories to develop and enforce effective employment equity legislation, and to collect and analyze data on the racialization of poverty – because everyone should be able to build a good life with equal opportunity.
Promoting official languages
Canadians are proud of our two official languages, and they form an important part of our identity and our communities all across the country. But instead of making the changes needed to strengthen and promote language rights, the Liberal government neglected and even reduced support in some areas over the last four years.
It’s time for a different approach, one that makes life easier and ensures a bright future for minority language communities everywhere. A New Democrat government will enhance the Action Plan for Official Languages to improve access to services in the language of choice, including working with the provinces and territories to improve minority language education, and attract more French-speaking immigrants to communities all across the country.
We’ll also modernize the Official Languages Act to strengthen oversight and accountability, expand the scope of language rights, and ensure that minority language communities are consulted on decisions that impact them. New Democrats will make sure that Canadians can access justice in their language of choice, and that judges on the Supreme Court are bilingual.
These efforts will happen alongside our commitment to the promotion and revitalization of Indigenous languages – recognizing that honouring Canada’s linguistic heritage must include reconciliation.
Enhancing our justice system
Over a decade in government, the Conservatives made the wrong choices in criminal law that deepened inequality, led to the heavily clogged court system that we have today, and failed to make our communities any safer.
The Liberals came to power promising to make the criminal justice system fairer and more efficient. Instead, they’ve interfered in the justice process for big corporations facing criminal charges, and passed legislation that may actually lead to more wrongful convictions and leave many marginalized people without legal aid.
The result is a justice system that is overburdened, slow, and doesn’t treat everyone fairly. The status quo isn’t serving Canadians, and it’s time to change it to make the justice system fairer and better able to protect Canadians.
A New Democrat government will restore the independence of the judiciary by reducing reliance on mandatory minimums and allowing trial judges to have greater discretion in sentencing. As we work towards reconciliation, we will also make sure that Gladue principles are consistently applied in court proceedings, and uphold the importance of community based and restorative justice approaches.
We will also proactively expunge criminal records for Canadians convicted of minor cannabis possession. With cannabis now legal in Canada, too many people are still burdened with criminal records for simple possession – records that mean real hardships that affect their employment opportunities and their ability to travel. These records for minor cannabis possession will be completely erased, allowing people to get on with building their lives.
Finally, to make sure that the most vulnerable have access to the legal support they need, New Democrats will increase federal funding for legal aid programs across the country.
A government that works for you and not insiders
New Democrats know who we work for. While the other parties are busy working to protect big polluters, big corporations, and the richest few, New Democrats are working for you every day. We stand up for families, workers, and communities, in every corner of this country. And we are driven to form a government that works for you – and puts people at the heart of every decision we make.
Sadly, many Canadians have a hard time believing government can be ethical and accountable to voters. And that’s no wonder, given the decade of cynicism under the Conservatives, followed by the five ethics investigations launched under the Liberals, and the fact that Justin Trudeau was personally found guilty of breaking ethics laws.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can clean up politics and restore people’s trust in government. Ethical and transparent government is about more than talking points – it’s about making sure that Canadians can have faith that their government is acting in their interests, not in the interest of rich, well-connected insiders. It’s about making sure that the system works for the many, not the few. And that who you are or how you vote makes no difference when it comes to the services you get. Ethical government is essential for a healthy democracy, and when people lose that trust, we all suffer.
That’s why a New Democrat government will take immediate steps to boost accountability, end insider benefits, and take the influence of big money out of government for good. Canadians understand that our conflict of interest regime needs to be strong, comprehensive, and impose real penalties when politicians break the rules. Instead, under the Liberals we’ve seen one violation after another – from ministers neglecting to report their villas in France to a Prime Minister’s vacation on a billionaire's private island – with barely a slap on the wrist to show for it.
New Democrats will bring in tougher penalties in the Conflict of Interest Act to ensure that the abuse of public trust is treated seriously, and to fully ban cash-for-access events we will prohibit government officials from accepting donations from anyone whose private interest could be benefited by their decisions.
The rule of law also has to be free from political interference. Unfortunately, the attempts to interfere in the case against SNC-Lavalin have made it clear that for this Liberal government, there is one set of rules for the well connected – and another set of rules for the rest of us. A New Democrat government will immediately launch an independent public inquiry into alleged attempts from Prime Minister Trudeau’s office to interfere in the former Attorney General’s decision-making authority.
We will also formally prohibit corporations facing criminal charges from lobbying elected officials. Prosecutions of corporate crime must be thorough and completely independent of political interference.
Around the world people are rejecting institutions that don’t work for regular people. Yet here in Canada, Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to fix an undemocratic, unaccountable Senate. We’ll work with the provinces towards abolishing the Senate. In the meantime, a New Democrat government will insist that the Senate change its rules so unelected Senators can’t hold up legislation for months when it has already been adopted by the Members of Parliament who have been sent by voters to Ottawa.
We’ll also introduce an ethical social and environmental screen on government procurement, so that Canadians can be confident that their tax dollars are not going to pay for bribes in foreign countries or pollution that we’ll all have to pay to clean up later. Finally, we will empower the Auditor General to review taxpayer-funded government advertising to make sure that it is non-partisan.
Making every vote count – for real
The right to vote is one of our most important and fundamental democratic rights. And we believe that every vote should count.
While generations of Canadians have built strong democratic institutions, our outdated first-past-the-post voting system isn’t working as well as it should. Too often, majority governments are elected with only a minority of support. And that can feed disillusionment and cynicism for everyone who feels like their voice is not being heard.
Justin Trudeau said he would fix the democratic deficit. Before being elected, he promised to deliver reform that would ensure every vote counts – and to make 2015 the very last federal election to be held under this unfair electoral system.
But once in power, he broke his promise to Canadians and turned his back on progressive democratic reforms. It’s just one reason that millions of Canadians who supported Trudeau are deeply disappointed with his failure to deliver.
It’s time to make our voting system fairer, and actually deliver democratic reform to make sure that everyone’s vote counts. New Democrats are committed to cutting through the cynicism about politics and getting the job done.
A New Democrat government will bring in mixed member proportional representation that works for Canada – and we will do it in our first mandate in government. We’ll establish an independent citizen’s assembly to recommend the best way to put it in place for the next election to ensure both local representation and a federal government that reflects the voters’ choice of parties.
Once Canadians have the opportunity to experience the new voting system and compare it to the old one, we will hold a referendum to confirm the choice.
Young people are increasingly engaged in the world, and many are worried about facing a future with rising inequality and catastrophic climate change. It’s no surprise – often they can see themselves paying the biggest price for the decisions governments are making today. Young people can and should have a say in their future. Simply put, if you are old enough to work and pay taxes, you are old enough to have a say in who forms the government. It’s time to lower the voting age to 16.
Recognizing the threat posed by outside interference in Canadian elections, we believe that more needs to be done to stop the spread of disinformation and “fake news” online. Social media platforms must be held to their responsibility to flag and remove fraudulent accounts, and to respond promptly to harassment, threats, and hate speech. No one but the people of Canada should decide – or influence – the outcome of Canadian elections.
Finally, New Democrats will work to strengthen privacy protections for Canadians by boosting the power of the Privacy Commissioner to make and enforce orders.
A better role in the world
Canadians are proud of our role in the world, and they want a government that will make the right choices to help people – but under Conservative and Liberal governments, decades of cynical politicking and cuts have meant that Canada is often on the wrong side of important global issues.
It’s time for a different approach.
New Democrats believe that Canadian interests are best served by a strong and principled foreign policy based on human rights, multilateralism, and the best interests of global peace and security. We will stand up to Donald Trump and defend everyday people and Canadian values on the international stage.
Under a New Democrat government, Canada will be a force for peace. We will support nuclear disarmament, recommit to peacekeeping, and make sure that Canadian-made weapons are not fuelling conflict and human rights abuses abroad. We’ll also work towards a just and lasting two-state solution between Israel and Palestine that respects human rights and international law.
Canadians believe that we have an important role to play in helping the world’s most vulnerable. But under Justin Trudeau, Canadian international assistance spending has fallen to the lowest levels in 50 years, even as we face a migration crisis and rising global poverty.
We will make different choices. A New Democrat government is committed to boosting Canada’s international development assistance, with the goal of contributing 0.7 percent of our Gross National Income to international aid. Canada must do our fair share to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, including alleviating poverty, ensuring decent work, protecting the rights of Indigenous communities, and supporting global peace and justice. To improve global health, Canada should contribute more to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to end these epidemics and support heath care systems in developing countries.
Upholding the rights of women and girls will always be central to New Democrat foreign policy, and we will step up efforts to promote gender equality abroad with a strong international agenda to promote rights, security, and access to education for women and girls, including ensuring that women have a seat at the peace table. We’ll also hold Canadian companies to a high standard of corporate social responsibility at home and abroad – and ensure they meet it.
In addition, as we work hard here at home to confront the climate crisis, Canada must also take a global leadership role in helping low-income countries deal with the impacts of climate change. Never again do we want Canadian leaders to stand in the way of international action on climate change.
Defence at home and abroad
Canada’s military is responsible for three incredibly important roles – defending Canada, protecting Canadians at home, and contributing to a more stable, peaceful world through operations abroad. The Canadian Forces make our country proud because of the dedication of thousands of service members and veterans. And Canada’s military families make incredible sacrifices to enable their loved ones to serve our country. We thank and honour them for their continuing dedication, service, and sacrifice.
Unfortunately, after decades of Liberal and Conservative cuts and mismanagement, our military has been left with outdated equipment, inadequate support, and an unclear strategic mandate.
We need to do better for Canadians in uniform and for the defense of our country. A New Democrat government will make sure that our troops have the equipment, training, and support they need to do the difficult and dangerous work we ask them to undertake. We will ensure that funding supports our national defence and international commitments, with a renewed priority of advancing multilateral peacekeeping initiatives around the world.
Here at home, New Democrats are committed to bringing our search and rescue response times up to international standards, and ensuring that our capabilities are sufficient to meet the needs of the North.
We will keep shipbuilding procurement on time and on budget, and ensure that the work is spread out fairly across the country. Fighter jet replacement will be based on a free and fair competition to make sure that we get the best fighters to meet Canada’s needs, at the best price. And when it comes to operations here at home, New Democrats oppose the privatization of services on Canadian Forces bases across the country.
Our vision is a military where Canadian Armed Forces members can work safely, get the support they need when they need it, and count on fair policies to govern their work.
A New Democrat government will make mental health support for members and their families a priority. No member or veteran of the Canadian Forces should ever feel that they are all alone in dealing with the impact of their experiences or in transitioning to civilian life. They – and their families – need to know that their country and their government has their back, during their service and for the rest of their lives.
We are also committed to putting an end to sexual harassment and assault in the military. We will also ensure that the recruitment and retention efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces reflect the diversity of Canada. Finally, we will reform the universality of service principle to make sure that ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members are not unfairly pushed out of service.