Canada’s cities are vibrant, diverse spaces that offer world-class educational institutions, thriving cultural scenes, and booming economies. But they are also the front lines of some of Canada’s most pressing challenges including inequality, poverty, and unaffordable housing.
Charlie understands that Canada’s long-term economic success is inextricably linked to the success of our urban centres. Urban Canada needs a federal government that’s got its back to build cities that are liveable and creative, with economies that belong to us.
Make housing a right
Housing affordability and supply are critical issues facing several Canadian cities. Charlie’s plan to make the right to housing a reality by working with cities, addressing affordability, building new social housing, and promoting co-operatives and community ownership is bold and comprehensive.
Get our cities moving with leadership on transportation
Cities are constantly changing and growing, and we need national coordination and leadership to improve access to transit and intercity transportation. Changing how we get from place to place will be a critical part of our response to climate change, and provide improved mobility for people living with disabilities or without personal vehicles – transit and transportation are issues of justice.
Lead a green transition in partnership with cities
Canada’s cities will be the front lines of transition to a low-carbon future. Municipalities will need federal leadership and cooperation to take bold steps in rethinking land use, efficiency and transport. As NDP leader and Prime Minister, Charlie will work with cities in improving green construction standards, fighting sprawl, and reducing our emissions.
Fight hunger and food insecurity
Too many Canadians rely on food banks or struggle to put food on the table. Charlie will work with cities and provinces to develop locally-driven food security strategies to ensure that everyone, and especially vulnerable social groups such as children and expectant mothers, have access to healthy food. These will focus on environmental protection to ensure long-term access to food and water from local sources, supporting local food initiatives, and fighting the phenomenon of food deserts.
Make inclusion a priority for new Canadians
Organizations and programs that serve newcomers to Canada do critical work in offering free ESL classes, employment assistance, and other services, and Charlie will ensure that the federal government adequately funds them.
End underfunding of urban Indigenous services
Indigenous people living in cities need better supports – in partnership with cities, Charlie will focus on strengthening friendship centres, ensuring that Indigenous people benefit from new housing initiatives, and support access to postsecondary education and training.
Make accessibility a right
People living with disabilities face substantial barriers in existing urban spaces. As Prime Minister, Charlie would work closely with cities to make them more accessible and liveable for people living with disabilities.
Make science and academic research a priority
Canadian scientists and researchers in every field do world-leading work, but Conservative and Liberal governments have focused too much on reaping commercial benefits from their work. An NDP government led by Charlie Angus would implement the recommendations of the Naylor Report on Fundamental Science, shifting to stable, predictable funding for basic research, improving the diversity of scientific and other academic fields of research, and emphasizing early career researchers in allocating new research money. Liberal superclusters that promote a few hand-picked firms and fields isn’t the way to go – we need to support young researchers and the kind of basic research that expands the boundaries of human knowledge.
Eliminate barriers to post-secondary education
Knowledge economies are growth economies, and knowledge economies need educated workers. We have to prepare Canadians for the economy of the next century by making post-secondary education available to everyone by working towards a comprehensive education accord with the provinces that eliminates tuition, ensures adequate funding for research, sets standards for mental health and sexual assault policies, and improves working conditions for students, staff and adjunct or contract faculty on campus. In the meantime, Charlie would eliminate loan interest, make the Repayment Assistance Program more accessible, put new money into the PSSSP for Indigenous students and ensure better bridge-in support, increase weekly aid limits for all students, and better harmonize federal and provincial retraining programs.
Ensure digital inclusion
Access to high-speed internet is a necessity of modern life. Charlie would work with cities and provinces to ensure that everyone has access to broadband internet by bringing down costs and expanding access to poorly-served areas by fighting corporate concentration and expanding promising public and co-operative service delivery and ownership options.
Fight precarity in the arts and culture sector
Charlie was a musician and journalist before he was a politician – and he understands that Canadian artists need greater income stability. Among other measures, he would legislate a resale right for artists, a widely-recognized right in 69 other countries that permits visual artists to collect royalties from resale of their works, and income tax averaging for all artists to help make finances and life more predictable. Charlie will also work with our cultural industries to ensure that our arts programs and investments are as effective as possible at fostering creativity and helping artists market their art in Canada or abroad.
Create a national Neighbourhood Ownership Program and Fund
For decades, rural Canada has enjoyed the Community Futures program, which has allowed democratic and locally-led social and business development efforts to flourish. It’s time for a new program that gives urban communities the same opportunity to shape their own economic destinies by setting up democratically governed neighbourhood corporations that serve local needs and priorities. Community Futures Development Corporations have a very good record in promoting employment, productivity and economic growth, and businesses they support have high survival rates. A promising experiment in urban Manitoba demonstrates the potential of expanding the concept to urban Canada.
Make sure that public dollars build community wealth
Too often, the benefits of development don’t go to existing communities. Charlie would make community benefit agreements a requirement for federal funds in urban development, legislate a framework for them, and encourage their adoption by provinces and cities. Communities should have the option to require commitments on such things as housing, green space, child care, land trusts, green design or business incubators from private developers. Community benefit agreements have both delivered legitimacy and enthusiastic participation for developers and substantial social gains for communities.
Reimagining municipal governance
The 19th century model of municipal government has not been revisited in a long time – but the world has changed. Canada’s cities are global cities, and we need a new partnership between national and local government that recognizes these changes. Charlie would work with cities to establish a new governance framework to ensure that cities have a more direct say in federal policies that impact them, and that policies are made with local realities and challenges in mind.