Tom Mulcair is confident Canadians, including those in the Okanagan, are looking for an alternative to negativity.
The federal NDP leader spoke before about 100 people at the Vernon Recreation Complex Wednesday, and he says the turnout bodes well for the party.
“It’s an area strongly Conservative but we saw the spirit in the hall,” he said, adding that many voters are being turned off by the messages from the Conservatives and the Liberals.
“We have a positive message about what can be accomplished together.”
As part of preparations for the 2015 federal election, Mulcair says his party is attempting to keep Prime Minister Stephen Harper accountable.
“We’ve been taking him on. We’re the first real opposition he’s faced and he’s not enjoying it.”
Mulcair says Canadians’ faith in the democratic system has been undermined by the Senate scandal and robocalls, and the Conservatives’ proposed election forms won’t help.
“It should be called the rigged elections act,” he said, adding that he wants cross-country hearings on the legislation.
Mulcair also touched on what he sees as a growing financial struggle for Canadians, and particularly many seniors who have to leave retirement and go back to work.
“The people who built our country are being told they have to live in abject poverty,” he said, adding that there is also a need to engage more youth in the decision-making process.
“Young people are being left a mass of social, economic and environmental inequalities on their backs.”
Instead of shipping oil overseas, Mulcair says the natural resource should be used to create value-added jobs in Canada.
During his stop, the issue of Canada Post abandoning door-to-door mail delivery was also raised.
“There are a lot of Canadians that this affects, especially seniors and people with disabilities,” said Colt Wilson, local Canadian Union of Postal Workers president.
Mulcair says Canada Post has ran a profit in 17 of 18 years and the Crown corporation should expand into programs like banking, instead of cutting back services.
“Canada would be the only developed country without door-to-door delivery.”
Mulcair also vowed, if elected, to reopen Veterans Canada offices, closed by the Conservatives.
But while much of Mulcair’s speech focused on Harper, he also took aim at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
“There is a track record with the Liberals of saying one thing during an election and doing the opposite when elected,” said Mulcair, adding that any attempts to unite forces to defeat the Conservatives have failed.
“The Liberals are hopelessly arrogant and will not work with anyone else.”
While meeting with the local media, Mulcair made a push for compulsory labelling for genetically modified food items, a major issue for a number of North Okanagan residents.
“It’s part of public protection and people want to know what’s on their plate,” he said.