Tom Mulcair talks health care and Trans-Pacific Partnership at Surrey Town Hall

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A packed crowd of supporters joined Tom Mulcair during today’s NDP town hall meeting at Surrey’s Bear Creek Pavilion.

Health Care

Mulcair’s address focused mainly on health care, specifically the cost of prescription medications.

The topic was brought up several times during Mulcair’s speech, as it appeared that he was trying to reach out specifically to the older voters in the crowd.

Mulcair made his health care platform clear, saying that if elected, the NDP would hire 7,000 more doctors and nurse practitioners.

The NDP leader took some jabs at his Liberal and Conservative opponents as well, criticizing them for their plans to cut health care.

“While Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau promise cuts to health care, the NDP’s plan hires more doctors and nurses and lower prescription drug costs for all Canadians. Nothing is more important than our families’ health, yet Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau both plan cuts,” Mulcair said.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Another pressing topic brought up was the recent announcement of Canada’s involvement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP involves 12 countries including Canada, and would establish the largest free-trade zone in the world. Much like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TPP aims to reduce or eliminate tariffs on specific imports and exports.

However, the TPP would make significant changes to Canada’s auto industry, as it requires 45 per cent of auto parts to be made within the TPP countries. This would mean that Canadian automakers would face serious competition with Asian markets.

Canada’s dairy industry would also be impacted by the deal, as it would allow TPP countries to gain access to 3.25 per cent of the nation’s 2016 dairy production.

Mulcair spoke bluntly about the TPP, saying he does not support Stephen Harper’s “secret trade deal.” He went on to mention that the deal would result in more job loss here in Canada.

“In our auto industry and on our dairy farms, families are worried sick because tens of thousands of jobs are on the line,” he said.

He tied his concerns regarding the TPP back to the issues of health care and the cost of prescription drugs in Canada.

“For every Canadian, Stephen Harper’s secret trade agreement could mean even higher prescription drug costs. Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada could lose permanent control over drug prices in this country. And once we lose control, its gone forever,” Mulcair stated.

With only 12 days until Canadians caste their vote, the NDP has fallen in the polls, trailing behind the Liberals and Conservatives with 23.1 per cent support nationally.

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Simran Singh is a Contributor at Vancity Buzz. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Journalism at the University of British Columbia. She is a big fan of coffee, writing and exploring Vancouver. Send a story idea her way at simran@vancitybuzz.com
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