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September

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    MPndp
    Today we achieved a significant feat in the House of Commons! We took over the agenda of the House by having the majority of Members of Parliament on hand to vote; catching the Conservative government completely off-guard. In doing so we managed to force a debate that the Conservatives have been trying to duck for way too long: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We forced a debate and secured a future vote on the issue, one that the NDP has been a vocal advocate and ally of, inside and outside of the House of Commons. So… what happened, exactly? • Thanks to the patience and hard work of caucus and staff, we had the vast majority of our MPs in the House today. • In a vote of all MPs, our members outnumbered all other parties combined, giving the New Democrats control of the agenda in the House. • Once we secured control of the agenda, Romeo Saganash stood up to move that we concur in the First Report of IFWA on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). • As everyone knows, we have already pledged our commitment to a National Inquiry on MMIW within the first 100 days of an NDP government mandate, and today we once again illustrated our resolve. • Has this ever happened before? Not like this. While majority governments have lost votes a handful of times, it was usually when government MPs voted with the opposition. There is no example in recent memory of an opposition party taking on the majority as a party and winning.
    3 hours ago | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    This Sunday September 21st , several Canadian cities will hold the Peoples’ Climate March. Please share this petition widely Share NDP’s petition : http://petition.ndp.ca/climate-change
    5 hours ago | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 18, 2014 STATEMENT BY THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION ON THE REJECTION OF ITS MOTION ON THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE Official Opposition Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie) made the following statement after his motion on the federal minimum wage was thrown out: “Rather than support the NDP motion to increase the federal minimum wage, Conservative MPs chose to vote against this commonsense initiative that would have bolstered the income of tens of thousands of Canadian families and helped fight wage inequality across the country. I also noted the unfortunate absence of Justin Trudeau. It seems the issue is not important enough for him to show up in House and display some firm and decisive support for workers in this country. “The Federal Labour Review Commission called for an increase in the minimum wage back in 2006 – an initiative that would have encouraged the provinces to emulate their federal counterpart. “This progressive increase in the minimum wage for federally regulated workers would have also put pressure on companies to follow suit. “The NDP has no intention of dropping this issue and still maintains its promise to restore the federal minimum wage if elected to government next year. “This measure is part of the NDP’s broader push to build a more just and prosperous economy for all Canadians.” -30- http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-official-opposition-rejection-its-motion-federal-minimum-wage
    Thu 1:14 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Here is what I had a chance to say in the House yesterday. September 16th, 1 p.m. Business of Supply http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/9/16/alex-atamanenko-1/ ---------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I had a chance to spend a few weeks in Australia this summer. I went to restaurants, and lo and behold, there was no tipping. I asked why there was no tipping. They said it was because they pay their people more. I found out this morning from my colleague from Hamilton East—Stoney Creek that the minimum wage in Australia is $17.45 an hour. If this can be done in Australia, where its people are making a half-decent living, why can we not do it here? My second question involves small business. Would the member not agree that one of the best guarantees to assist small business is to have people in the community who have money to spend? In other words, if we were to increase the minimum wage, the research has shown that most of this money would stay in the communities and that would help guarantee the survival of the small businesses in the small rural communities that I represent. I would like to get his comments on this.
    Wed 11:57 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    September 16, 2014 STATEMENT ON CANADIAN MILITARY DEPLOYMENT TO IRAQ The Leader of the Official Opposition Tom Mulcair made the following statement today: "Tonight's emergency debate on Canada's military involvement in Iraq must be followed by a parliamentary vote on a clear motion that outlines the details of Canada’s commitment. The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) poses a serious humanitarian and security threat. Responding to such a threat requires a full assessment of the facts on the ground and a clear understanding of the role that Canada should play. Yet, Stephen Harper and his government have not even answered such basic questions as the number of Canadian troops deployed to Iraq and their role. Stephen Harper's refusal to seek a clear mandate from Parliament for the deployment of Canadian troops in Iraq is a betrayal of his earlier promises to Canadians. In 2006, the Conservative party platform promised that “a Conservative government will […] make Parliament responsible for exercising oversight over the conduct of Canadian foreign policy and the commitment of Canadian Forces to foreign operations.” Again in 2007, his Speech from the Throne reiterated “…our Government has made clear to Canadians and our allies that any future military deployments must also be supported by a majority of parliamentarians.” These promises must be kept. After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Canadians expect their leaders to approach potential military commitments with prudence and transparency. Many recall that in 2003, Mr. Harper in his role as Opposition leader was keen to join the US invasion of Iraq. It is of particular concern that the government appears incapable of conveying a coherent understanding of the mission's objectives, strategy, costs and timelines. Such vagueness under the Liberals led to almost a decade of mission creep in Afghanistan. Mr. Harper risks repeating these mistakes as he commits Canada to military involvement in Iraq without presenting a clear mandate for Canadian Forces members or securing the consent of Canada's Parliament. At tonight's debate, New Democrats will seek answers to these important questions and reiterate our calls for addressing the humanitarian needs caused by this conflict, combating sexual violence, upholding international humanitarian law and seeking to bring war criminals to justice. We will once again demand that the government put a clear mandate for Canada's military deployment to a vote of Canada's Parliament. Canadians deserve better than a government that cannot - or will not - answer basic questions about our country's military deployment to Iraq." -30- http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-canadian-military-deployment-to-iraq
    Tue 11:59 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 12, 2014 CONSERVATIVES GIVE CHINA CONTROL OVER INVESTMENTS IN CANADA Quiet ratification of FIPA locks Canada into a bad deal for 31 years OTTAWA – After a two year delay, the Conservatives today ratified a controversial Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China that will give China’s state-controlled companies the same protection under the law as private Canadian companies. “Instead of admitting their mistake and getting a deal that actually benefits Canadian companies, the Conservatives have locked Canada into a badly one-sided agreement for the next three decades,” said NDP International Trade critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway). “In effect, it will give China access to, and control over, some of Canada’s natural resources for the next 31 years, and subject Canadian taxpayers to enormous liabilities through investor lawsuits,” he underlined. Davies reiterated the importance of engaging with China and other emerging markets, while providing clear rules that give confidence to investors and also protect and promote Canada’s interests. The FIPA, however, offers business advantages to Chinese companies without giving Canadian companies operating in China the same benefits. New Democrats led the fight against FIPA in Parliament, while the Liberals joined with the Conservatives to support the agreement. “This deal was negotiated in secret, and no wonder – it does nothing to level the playing field and ratifying it is not in Canada’s best interest,” said Guy Caron, Deputy International Trade critic (Rimouski-Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques). “Canadians will pay the price for the Conservatives’ incompetent and secretive approach to this FIPA.”
    Sep 12, 2014 1:05 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    ATAMANENKO WARNS CANADIAN SNOWBIRDS MAY BE SUBJECT to US TAX LAWS CASTLEGAR, BC – BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko cautions Canadians that there is a common misconception about American residency requirements. “Most snowbirds believe that, by spending fewer than 183 days each year in the U.S., they will avoid U.S. tax pitfalls. It is not as simple as that,” said Atamanenko. For casual vacationers this is not likely to be a problem, but many retirees own second homes and/or spend the winter months in the southern states. These snowbirds must keep careful track of their time in the U.S. and may have to submit forms to the IRS in order to maintain their primary residency in Canada. There have been no changes to either U.S. tax or residency regulations. What has changed is that the regulations can now be enforced. When Canada and the United States signed the international agreement on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), they also adopted the Entry/Exit Initiative. The Initiative allows border officials in both countries to swap information on its citizens’ passports. Previously only entry dates could be tracked by the U.S. As of June 30th this year each day in the U.S. is recorded automatically by the American Department of Homeland Security. A quick trip across the border to buy gas counts as a full day. Anyone remaining in the U.S. for an extended period of time, or who makes multiple trips every year, must carefully count their days to ensure that they don’t exceed the annual threshold of 120 days. Atamanenko warns Canadians who routinely exceed the 120 day annual total that they must file the Closer Connection Exemption Statement for Aliens (IRS form 8840) which establishes a closer residency connection to Canada. Individuals who file the form each year by June 15th may remain in the U.S. for up to 182 days. Canadians who remain in the U.S. more than 120 days in consecutive years and do not file form 8840 may be detained at the border or barred from entering the U.S. for several years. Anyone who overstays either threshold is flagged as an American resident and will be bound by US world income and estate tax laws. There are also serious tax consequences in Canada.
    Sep 12, 2014 11:49 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    September 9 2014 MP VERY CONCERNED ABOUT CANADIAN TROOPS IN IRAQ OTTAWA, ON - BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko is questioning the deployment of Canadian troops on the ground in Iraq. “Prior to any military involvement in this tragic conflict, there need to be committee hearings and an opportunity for the House of Commons to debate and vote. MPs need to know exactly what is at stake,” stated the NDP MP. Atamanenko noted that Canadians have experienced “mission creep” before under the Conservatives. Given the history of western military involvement in Iraq and other situations where initial troop development led to larger scale military missions, the Official Opposition believes that this mission must be reviewed very carefully. “It is important that the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff appear before Committee to answer questions. Make no mistake, we are sending our soldiers into war”, added Atamanenko. “We, as Canadians, need to determine if we wish to assist the Americans who are in essence, responsible for this tragedy as a result of their invasion of Iraq in 2003”. The federal NDP is urging the Government of Canada to help coordinate the construction of refugee camps to help alleviate the burden on the Kurdistan Regional Government.
    Sep 12, 2014 11:45 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    The Nelson RCMP are seeking the public's assistance in locating 56-year-old Surrey resident, Paul Tayes. He is described as 5'9", 180 lbs, brown hair and blue eyes. Mr. Tayes arrived at the Kookanee Provincial Campground Tuesday, Sept. 2nd, around 8:30 pm. RCMP, Conservation and Search and Rescue are still searching the area and speaking to potential witnesses that may have last seen him. RCMP are liaising with family to ensure they are kept up to date as the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Nelson RCMP.
    Sep 09, 2014 11:44 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Here is a link to an interesting article that provides a historical context for the current conflicts in Syria and Iraq: www.tomdispatch.com/.../tomgram%3A_engelhardt,_the_escalation_follies
    Sep 09, 2014 10:06 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    blogs.theprovince.com/.../alex-tsakumis-b-c-liberals-are-hoping-to-bankrupt- the-bctf/
    Sep 09, 2014 10:01 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I had a chance to visit the barbecue in support of teachers in Fruitvale on Friday, and also stopped in at J.L. Crowe high school in Trail on the way back to Castlegar. It is not easy for teachers to be on strike. We need to support them in their struggle against a ruthless provincial government that does not value education. As a former teacher I know how important this current struggle is for the future of our children.
    Sep 09, 2014 9:55 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    NEW DEMOCRATS CALL FOR A MORATORIUM ON CONVERTING HOME DELIVERY TO POSTAL BOXES OTTAWA – NDP Canada Post critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie) has called on the Conservative government to place a moratorium on building post office boxes that are set to replace home mail delivery across the country. Over the last several months, New Democrats have visited several communities to get a sense of where citizens stand on the cuts to Canada Post and the Conservative government’s decision to end home mail delivery. The response has been clear: people are committed to maintaining their postal services and concerns quickly turn to anger when informed about the Conservatives’ plan. “New Democrats continue to stand with the public—and many dissatisfied Canadian mayors—in their opposition to the changes at Canada Post. A moratorium is the only way to ensure that real public consultations are held,” said Boulerice. “We’ve had enough of these closed-door consultations. We want transparency – it’s the only way to work together to find a viable solution for the future of this public service.” New Democrats agree know that Canada Post must modernize in order to meet the challenges facing the postal service, but feels that this should not come at the public’s expense. There is no valid explanation to justify these cuts, the thousands of jobs lost, or the end of home delivery services. This Crown Corporation has run a profit over the last 20 years.
    Sep 03, 2014 9:58 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    It was a pleasure to take part in the Nelson Pride Festival and to spend some time with my colleague MLA Michelle Mungall. Congratulations to all those hard-working volunteers who made the weekend a huge success. Thanks for inviting me to participate!
    Sep 02, 2014 11:07 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior

August

July

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    MPndp
    While watching the CBC news last night I was very disturbed to see their segment showing the Parliamentary delegation of Conservative and Liberal MPs on a visit to Israel. I personally find this type of visit sponsored by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs to be highly insensitive to the suffering of the Palestinian people. As Israeli rockets are killing innocent women and children we see footage of Canadian MPs shamelessly enjoying themselves and apparently oblivious to the human suffering taking place in Gaza. Regardless of which side one believes is to blame for this conflict, it is in very poor taste to take part in a goodwill mission while atrocities are being committed that are being condemned internationally. Thankfully, because of the one-sided nature of the trip the NDP refused to take part.
    Jul 31, 2014 10:56 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior

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Alex Atamanenko

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