By: Surjit Singh Flora
Jordan Boswell–Brampton Centre NDP Candidate
While elections occur only once every four years, with the amount of news coverage and media, it can seem a lot more often. It is easy to become desensitized to the people, the issues, and the noise. But now is the time to pay attention — to the people who are elected to the House. Elected officials work for us and will be our voice when it comes to issues of education, clean water, human trafficking, poverty, benefits for our city and province, our next generation’s future, and our safety. During the federal election, you have the power to refocus the conversation toward what genuine matters — issues that will be affected by decisions in the next four years. Peel Weekly News/Asia Metro Weekly will be conducting sit-down interviews with federal candidates throughout Peel Region. Our second conversation is with Jordan Boswell – Brampton Centre NDP Candidate
Flora: It is a fact that Brampton has zero Federal Office jobs (other than a passport office), and zero Federal Department office jobs. It is also a fact that Brampton has very few office sector jobs compared to our neighbouring municipality, Mississauga (Department of Revenue Canada, Department of Seniors Affairs are the exception to this, housing hundreds of jobs in Mississauga). Brampton residents who are skilled in these jobs must commute hours each day to Toronto, Mississauga and beyond.
To place a Federal Office in Brampton is 100 percent a Federal Government decision. If you are elected, will you make it a a priority to put office jobs in Brampton?
We are also aware there is talked to relocate all of/part of the jobs at the Federal Department of Transport office located in the Yonge and 401 area. Will you fight for Brampton to receive all or part of the jobs that may be relocated?
Boswell: We need to make sure Brampton gets its fair share, especially when it comes to jobs in our city. The lack of federal investment in our community has resulted in Brampton becoming a sleeper city, with many residents forced to commute to other cities for work. The 5 Liberal MPs we elected in the last election failed to stand up for jobs here, and fight for the investment we need and deserve.
Flora: Because it is a fact that Brampton has zero Federal Department jobs within our city, it therefore is also a fact that Brampton people AND businesses must travel outside their own city to deal with every single Federal matter. Not one Federal Department is located within Brampton.
Will you fight to correct this inequity? This is 100 percent a Federal decision.
Boswell: Similarly, to the first answer, Brampton hasn’t been getting its fair share. And as a result, we are falling behind. The 5 Liberal MPs in office neglected the needs of our community and weren’t able to secure the necessary support when it comes to services. We should have had the strongest voice in the House of Commons to help tackle this problem, but our elected representatives didn’t fight for issues like this.
Flora: Given months of headlines and news stories about “hallways healthcare” and gridlock at Brampton hospitals, one party has committed to getting Brampton residents better healthcare and even another hospital. This is 100 percent NOT a Federal decision.
Would you agree with that statement? What therefore specifically would you say to Brampton residents about this matter?
Boswell: I was proud to stand with our Leader, Jagmeet Singh, on the second day of the campaign to announce
we would fund a second hospital in Brampton. We are in a healthcare crisis, and it is unacceptable that a city of almost 650,000 people has one full hospital. We understand that healthcare falls under provincial
jurisdiction, but we believe we need leadership on the file, and are committed to providing the funding
for this project. We are taking the healthcare crisis in our city seriously, and have a bold plan to deliver
better service to Bramptonians.
Flora: Introduced by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and cancelled by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The reason for cancellation was said to be that the impact on climate change was negligible. However, for the pocketbooks of urban Canadians who rely on transit for work or school, this meant up to $1000/yr. back in our pockets.
Conservative leader Andrew has proposed restoring this tax credit. Will you support re-establishing this important and relevant tax savings for people.
Boswell: We know a city like Brampton relies on its public transit to move residents around. Especially since most people live in the city but work elsewhere such as Toronto a Mississauga, it is imperative that we reverse the neglect both Conservative and Liberal representatives have had when it comes to transit.
Our plan for the environment – Power to Change – heavily incorporates investment in public transit,
including the target of a fully electric transit grid by 2030 and working towards fare-free transit. We
believe better investing in public transit is not only good for the environment, but practical for users
who rely on it every day?
Flora: Specifically, what is your party policy for ensuring resources for protection of our Arctic lands.
Boswell: It is important for Canada to defend its sovereignty, particularly in the Arctic. We need to take a bolder stance to defend our land up north, and ensure the necessary action is taken to protect it from climate change. The current government has claimed to be a climate leader, but continue to purchase pipelines and subsidize the fossil fuel industry – both damaging to the survival of Canada’s Arctic.
Flora: Brampton is home to hundreds of thousands of new Canadians. The Federal Government has a role in settlement and support but has seemingly denied adequate real funding to Region of Peel, leaving these costs to property taxpayers.
What would you do to correct this high cost directly on Brampton property taxes?
Boswell: Canada is a county built on immigration, and it is something we certainly see in a community as diverse
as Brampton. We expect our immigration system to be compassionate and fair, which is why we are proposing important changes to the process. The first is to ensure foreign credentials are recognized in
Canada, and those who have certification are able to reach their potential in Canada. Far too often we
hear stories of newcomers who are qualified, but are under-employed because their certification is not
recognized. We also want to make our immigration system more compassionate, and focus more on
family reunification. This is an issue we hear a lot about in Brampton, and need to make it easier for
grandparents or other relatives to reunite with their families here in Canada.
Flora: Brampton is the closest downtown centre to Canada’s largest Airport, Pearson. Brampton is open for business. Recent changes to Trade and foreign policy have made Canadian products less competitive. What is your party’s response to restoring balance in Trade with Canadian companies once again being competitive? “Buy American” had also had a negative effect for Canada. Will the Federal Government consider a “Buy Canadian” policy without a protectionist policy violating the new Canada Mexico US Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA)?
Boswell: Canada is a trading nation, and our economy relies on trading with other countries. But we need to make sure this is fair trade and puts our workers first. We have seen how devastating other trade deals have been to our automotive, manufacturing, and agricultural sector, so we need to make sure we are putting Canadian workers first. Any trade deal our country enters into needs to protect those jobs in Canada and ensure none of the sectors involved are threatened in any way.
Flora: Many Canadian retired Seniors are known as “snowbirds”, travelling to the US for winter months. There is a maximum stay of 183 days permitted before the IRS will income tax revenue. For several years, it has been discussed to change the limit to eight months. Do you support this change? Does your party support this change?
Boswell: Seniors have built-up our communities, so we need to make sure to take care of them when it comes time for retirement. Especially when they are living on a fixed income, it can sometimes be challenging for them to keep up with the cost of living. One way we are addressing that is by expanding our healthcare system to include prescription medication. Pharmacare is something the Liberals have been promising for decades but have refused to take action. New Democrats believe you should pay with your health card, not your credit card at the Pharmacist, and are committed to deliver this service. This no doubt benefits all Canadians but will provide additional support to those on a fixed income.