Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. NDP unveils affordability action plan

At a home not far from the St. John's International Airport the New Democrats in Newfoundland and Labrador launched an affordability plan it hopes will take off with voters.

Third party facing challenges in the 2019 election

The Newfoundland and Labrador NDP launched its affordability action plan on Saturday. (Newfoundland and Labrador NDP)

At a home not far from the St. John's International Airport on Saturday, the New Democrats in Newfoundland and Labrador launched an affordability plan it hopes will take off with voters. 

Surrounded by supporters, fresh-faced candidates and former leader Lorraine Michael — who led the NDP to its record setting five seats in 2011 — Alison Coffin made her pitch to voters.

"We want to make it more affordable for people to live, stay and thrive in Newfoundland and Labrador," Coffin said.

A lot has changed for the party since 2011.

Dale Kirby and Christopher Mitchelmore left the NDP following a very public meltdown over Lorraine Michael's leadership back in 2013. The two later ran, and were elected, for the Liberal party in 2015.

George Murphy, who won a seat for the NDP in 2011, decided not to run in 2015, although he's now the Liberal's candidate for St. John's East-Quidi Vidi, where he will face off against Coffin and the PC's David Porter.

Michael and St. John's Centre NDP MHA Gerry Rogers aren't on the ballot for the May 16 provincial election but both have been very visible on the campaign trail supporting the NDP.

It's an uphill battle for the upbeat Coffin who just took over as the leader of the NDP back in March

"We have an incredibly strong slate of candidates and we are very proud of the team we have assembled and I stand behind them all," she said.

"I think they are fantastic."

Alison Coffin and Tomás Shea hammer down a sign in the Windsor Lake district. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

On Saturday she joined one of them, Tomás Shea, knocking on doors in the district of Windsor Lake.

At 27 years old, Shea feels you have to put your name forward if you want to see change. 

"If people who are young are willing to complain but not willing to come forward, I don't see the point," he said.

"I believe in the party's message and I believe in choice so I stepped forward'

Alicia and Matthew Dellavalle said they fully support the NDP. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The pair met Alicia and Matthew Dellavalle at their home near the airport.

"We want to see some change and I think it's about time we get some change from what we've for the last [while]," Matthew Dellavalle said.

"I think it can be done. I think the NDP has a chance and I think it's amazing what they are going to do."

Alicia, speaking from her wheelchair, told reporters how she has difficulty getting government support to make her house more accessible.

"I like the NDP because they are there for you," she said.

NDP leader Alison Coffin poses for a picture in front of her campaign van. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The Dellavalle's problems aren't isolated ones, Coffin said.

Her party's action plan is to make day to day living more affordable for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. 

"We are offering tangible solutions to very serious problems that are being [faced] by the people of the province," said Coffin.

The plan outlined by the NDP to make life more affordable include the following:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021
  • Collaborating with the Public Utilities Board to develop a realistic rate mitigation plan to keep rates at 13 cents a kilowatt-hour
  • Investing in child care with a goal of a $25-a-day child care program
  • Keeping the post-secondary education tuition freeze and reinstating the full needs-based grants program
  • Investing $2 million to retrofit more low-income households and $3 million to launch a small business retrofit program
  • Creating a regional public transit system that makes getting around more affordable.

"We are very concerned about the hydro electricity costs, we are very concerned about accessibility to child care and education," said Coffin.

"We are very concerned about women's rights and we are advocating strong policies that are going to help rectify those things."

With 14 NDP candidates on the ballot for the May 16 provincial election, the lowest for the party since 1972, Coffin hopes that people in this province are fed up with what they've seen from the Liberals and PCs and want to give the NDP a chance.

"I am here to prove that there are better ways to make choices for the people of the province."

The NDP said it will be releasing its full party platform on Monday.

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