Tom Parkin – CNC Opinion
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole wants to campaign for the support of working class Canadians. It’s a debate long past due and one NDP leader Jagmeet Singh should welcome.
Working class Canadians deserve a lot better. They are the people who build homes. Who take care of cities. Who care for people’s health. Who drive the buses to work and the trucks that stock the stores. They bring food. Care for children. Make and fix things. Work in mines and lumber mills.
Working class people are where the rubber hits the road – nothing works without workers.
Yet our current prime minister has been very clear that his political focus is helping middle class Canadians and those working hard to leave behind working class jobs. Sure, the managers, lawyers and other professionals make important contributions to our society. But they aren’t the ones who most need the Ottawa’s help. And working class people know it.
Surely that is why, again and again, polls show Liberal support is low among working class voters. Liberal support is concentrated among voters who consider themselves affluent or middle class.
There is a frustration and a dislike that grows when Trudeau puts affluent and middle class people at the front of the line and those who do the hard work at the back. And knowing this, no doubt Erin O’Toole thinks he can use that frustration for his political gain.
But regardless of O’Toole’s motives and intentions, working class people should welcome the attention. And so should NDP leader Jagmeet Singh – because it’s his chance to show his solutions.
Many working class jobs don’t have a drug plan. But only a few weeks ago, O’Toole voted with Trudeau and against an NDP motion to move ahead on pharmacare. Singh has pushed for a dental plan, which has been met with Conservative silence.
Singh’s NDP has been promised to wipe out big college and university debts, which steal opportunity from so many raised in working class homes. Again, O’Toole has said nothing.
Working class families are each year paying more and more for childcare – if they can find it. O’Toole promises nothing.
Working people need workplaces free of racist and sexist harassment and discrimination. O’Toole’s Conservatives have shown no plan.
And as this pandemic has shown, when a crisis hits, the working class is hit hardest. Working people need jobs in industries with a future. Singh has pushed for a green new deal to protect jobs from a climate crisis. O’Toole’s Conservatives recently voted to change nothing – because climate change isn’t real.
Working class Canadians deserve a competition for their support. Perhaps O’Toole’s maneuver will give them that. But it’s not likely his Conservatives will win it.