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NDP candidate Niki Ashton makes Vernon stop

NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton was in Vernon Thursday to speak to a small crowd of party-faithfuls at The Pantry leading up to the March 24 vote for a new federal NDP leader. - Jennifer Smith/Morning Star
NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton was in Vernon Thursday to speak to a small crowd of party-faithfuls at The Pantry leading up to the March 24 vote for a new federal NDP leader.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith/Morning Star

Many people feel abandoned during the financial downturn, says an NDP leadership hopeful.

Niki Ashton, MP for Churchill, Man, used a stop in Vernon Thursday to focus on the economy and the need for job growth.

“There are growing inequalities we’re seeing in our communities, regions and in the country,” she told about 15 people at Vernon’s Pantry restaurant.

“We’re seeing economic inequalities grow. There are some who have who will have more and the rest have difficulties making ends meet.”

Ashton slammed the Conservative government, saying it has allowed raw resources to be shipped offshore instead of insisting that value-added products be made here as a way of stimulating employment.

“We need to build a greater say over our economy. A lot of what drives the economy is resource extraction and Canadians are seeing a lot of that wealth shipped out. We’re seeing a hollowing out of the economy.”

Ashton insists the federal government must stand up to foreign ownership and trade agreements to protect the interests of Canadians.

In terms of increasing the NDP’s base, Ashton says there must be a continued focus on Quebec but there are also opportunities arising in the four western provinces.

“The west is being taken for granted,” she said, adding that the Conservatives are not standing up for wheat farmers, forestry or the oil sector.

“This isn’t a government standing up for value-added jobs.”

There are seven individuals seeking the leadership of the official opposition. The convention is March 24.

And no matter who rises to the top, Ashton wants the party to remain relevant so it can form government.

“Many Canadians were inspired by Jack Layton’s message and the NDP’s message and they will continue to look at us,” she said.

“It’s up to us to take that on. We have an opportunity to make history.”

 

 

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