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Singh talks doubling GST credits and more childcare benefits during B.C. stop

Federal NDP leader comes to Vancouver Island to talk cost of living, health care
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rallies supporters for a photo op at Nanaimo’s Sway’ A’ Lana Lagoon on Tuesday, July 5. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, on his way to Victoria to talk to the premier, stopped in Nanaimo to walk along the waterfront and talk to people about cost-of-living challenges they’re facing.

Singh, accompanied by his family and Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Lisa Marie Barron, walked along the Harbourfront Walkway on Tuesday, July 5.

Singh has been promoting the idea of doubling GST tax credits and increasing child benefits, which would add up to about $1,000 for some families. He said a lot of people are feeling pinched with soaring inflation piling on top of high costs for housing and rent.

The NDP leader said GST credits and child benefit cheques are a “very direct and very immediate” way to help people who need it quickly.

“With the GST [credit], we know that as inflation has gone up, the GST revenue has gone up, so that windfall that the government has, we can redistribute that back to people that are squeezed by the cost of living going up, that are feeling it at the pumps, at the grocery store,” Singh said.

He said raising interest rates as a sole response to inflation challenges “working families” and said GST credits won’t add to inflation because it’s a redistribution of money already in the system.

“I’m hearing day in and day out about people struggling to make ends meet,” said Barron. “So I’m happy to have Jagmeet here to hear from them and also talk about some real tangible solutions that we know that we can push for.”

READ ALSO: Strategic support for B.C. residents needed as central bank works on inflation, experts say

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Singh previewed that later this afternoon, he will be talking to B.C. Premier John Horgan about health care. Premiers have asked for increased federal health transfers and Singh supports that increase, saying more money for provincial health systems would help with short- and long-term improvements, starting with hiring more health-care workers. He also suggested the federal government could fast-track immigration for health-care workers who want to come to Canada.

Singh is calling for an “immediate recovery plan” for health care.

“We need to support it, we need to save it and we need to invest in it…” he said. “Often when health-care is not at the level that people need it, then you’ll start to hear folks mention maybe we need private health care and that is dangerous because it’s going to mean a two-tier system – if you’ve got money, you get care, and if you don’t have money, you don’t get care. And we can’t let that happen in Canada.”

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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