Better Pensions & Benefits  

“Canadian workers and their pensions should come before executives and big banks”

How come, when companies like Hamilton Speciality Bar go under, the debts owed to employees are allowed to go unpaid?

It’s just wrong when businesses go bankrupt and workers are forced to forego wages, pensions or health and welfare benefits while so-called “secured creditors”, like big banks, get their debts paid in full.

What’s more, executives are often paid large “retention bonuses” just to keep working during insolvency while workers are shown the door and never fully paid what they are owed.

Whether it’s Stelco or Sears, workers deserve to be protected from the legalized theft of their hard earned incomes during bankruptcy.  After-all, they earned those benefits through hard work.

In 2018, it’s time employee debts were honoured first, not last, when insolvency hits.

I know this issue too well and I will work to ensure the federal government protects workers during bankruptcy by creating insurance systems that see vulnerable creditors, like workers, come first and receive the full value of the debts owed to them upon bankruptcy.

That’s what I mean when I talk about standing up for Hamilton.

Better Incomes

“For too long, Liberal and Conservative governments have taken turns ignoring families struggling to make ends meet. I say, if the job market can’t provide people with a decent living, then government has to step up to protect the income security of its citizens.”

In some parts of Hamilton East – Stoney Creek, more than 1 in 5 families struggle to make ends meet.  In many neighbourhoods, more than half the children 5 and under are growing up in poverty. This is just not acceptable and it is directly tied to the inadequate incomes of parents.

I refuse to accept Justin’s Trudeau’s claim that Canada doesn’t need a federal minimum wage and I will work to implement a $15 minimum wage for the federal sector.

I will also work to establish a model federal jobs guarantee program in up to 15 high-unemployment communities across Canada.  My initiative would allow high-need communities, like ours, to participate in a 3-year pilot program to guarantee the option of employment for all of its residents.

This program would guarantee that adults in participating communities who want to work can do so, in a job that pays a living wage and provides benefits like health insurance, paid sick leave, and paid family leave – all while helping to advance critical priorities that are currently under-provided in Hamilton, like child and elder care, infrastructure, and community revitalization.

I will work to have the federal government fund the basic income pilot program abandoned in Ontario. That program provided a payment to eligible couples or individuals to ensure a minimum income level, regardless of employment status.

A reinstituted program would run for 3 years and provide up to 4000 residents, including Hamiltonians, with a maximum benefit of $16,989 per year, with married couples getting up to $24,027. This basic income initiative would investigate whether people living on low incomes better meet their basic needs and improve their education, housing, employment and health.

Better Trade Deals

“The new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal lets Donald Trump keep high tariffs against Canadian steel and aluminum.  That’s not “free trade.”  This Liberal agreement is neither a good deal, nor a fair deal for steelworkers, their families or the City of Hamilton.”

It’s pretty hard for our steel companies to sell steel in the American market when the US government imposes unjustifiable tariffs on our products.

It is equally unfair when Chinese steel firms have their product subsidized by their government so they can dump cheap steel on the Canadian market.

Any trade deal with the USA or China that turns a blind eye to such practices hurts our steel industry, steelworkers and their families.

Our government must insist that the United States remove their unfair tariffs on our steel and aluminum and must not agree to quotas that try to restrict the purchase of Canadian steel in the United States.

In any Canadian free trade negotiations with China, or any other country, their steel industry must be placed on an equal footing with steel producers based in Canada.

It’s time for a fair trade deal that stands up for Hamilton!

Better Housing

“Decent, safe and affordable housing is essential for everyone. You just can’t have a good life without it.  That’s why government should help families who try hard to maintain their homes and should create initiatives to see more good and affordable houses built in east Hamilton.”

In parts of Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, seniors on fixed incomes and other residents risk losing their housing because of higher rents. People are even moving out of their neighbourhoods because they can’t afford to stay.

I’ll work to have the federal government give tax credits to citizens who spend more than 30% of their incomes on rent and utilities.

If you earn less than $46,606 of taxable income a year and pay more than 30 % of that on rent and utilities, the federal government should provide you a 100 % tax credit for the portion of your rent that goes up beyond 30% of your income.

This will improve affordability and still allow landlords to make renovations to resolve structural problems, health and safety, plumbing, heating or electrical issues for tenants.

What’s more, many of our neighbourhoods have housing that needs major repairs (defective plumbing, electrical wiring, heating issues and homes needing structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings). Often these houses face a cost of repair that is at least twice as high—and in some cases three times as high—as our suburbs.

The state of these homes has depressed their value to average dwelling values of less than $250,000 whereas the average value of housing is about $500 000 in Hamilton.

I want to provide tax incentives to offset the cost of homeowners doing major repairs to any houses that are valued at less than $500 000.  Homeowners that live in their homes and fix major structural problems such as health and safety issues or resolve important heating or electrical problems or significantly improve environmental efficiency of their home should recover a tax credit equal to the cost of the renovation if the cost paid was above $1000 but less than $10,000 a year.

Better Education

“Students believe in the beauty of their dreams – a future with hope and opportunity through higher education.”

The federal government has forgotten that young people growing up in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek have dreams just like anybody else. And they want them to come true.

As an educator, I see post-secondary education becoming increasingly reserved for children from privileged backgrounds. I want to be your MP so we can make good education a reality for every capable young person in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.  If young people have the grades and are ready to do the work, we better make sure they get the chance to succeed at school. That’s what government is for.

I will work to make skills training and education accessible and affordable. I want to support young people who take pride in learning a trade.

I will first work to phase out all interest charges on all federal student loans and boost funding for the Canada Student Grants program. Canada should then make tuition and books free for post-secondary students.

Young Canadians completing post-secondary education should be supported by Canada establishing 40,000 jobs, co-op placements and internships so they can transition into good paying jobs.

I will support a requirement for youth apprenticeships in all major federally owned infrastructure and public works projects to make sure those all-important “first job” opportunities are there for our youth.