Questions for Niki Ashton

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Questions for Niki Ashton

This thread is for questions specific to Niki Ashton's leadership campaign and all that the success of which would entail.  Over the next few weeks and months, we will invite each NDP leadership candidate to answer your questions in a moderated discussion.

Please confine your contributions to the leadership candidate threads to questions directed at the individual candidate named in the thread title.  Discussions and comments can be posted in any of the several other federal NDP threads.

Issues Pages: 

Why did you support Canada's bombing of Libya?


Given that you joined the NDP caucus in supporting the Libya mission, what do you see as the role for the Canadian military, particularly in Canada's foreign affairs?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture


In 2009, you were the only MP in the House of Commons to stand up and question the Harper Conservatives from earmarking a portion of Social Sciences and the Humanites Research Council (SSHRC) doctoral fellowships -- grants from an arms-length institution -- for "business-related degrees." This act of courage has not been forgotten. Today, two of Canada's biggest three English-speaking Universities face looming TA and support staff strikes, and the other recently suffered two acrimonious job actions in recent years, including, incredibly, violent riot police attacking a peaceful protest--while some 30000 other students in that province are on strike against rising tuition fees. Our universities continue to abandon the classic principles of higher education in favour of a corporatized governance model which professionalizes degrees meant to make better citizens, not better producers and consumers; and rewards students who internalize neoliberal ideology resulting in historically high debt loads and tougher and tougher barriers to affordable education. What do you propose to do to undo the Conservative assault on higher education and restore education as a right for all, rather than the privilege of a few?


Niki, I have some questions about taxes.  I read your plan for a more inclusive economy, and I would like you to be a bit more specific about point number five, which was, "Tax reform, including measures that target the 'affordability gap' for many poor, working and middle income families. Ensure corporate tax structures promote innovation and job creation."

Could you please elaborate on what measures you feel the NDP should take to target the affordability gap, and what measures the NDP should take on corporate tax structures for job creation?  As well, for the economy, would you aim to strive toward a balanced budget or do you feel we should go for more stimulus funding (or both)?  Lastly, both Nathan Cullen and Brian Topp have spoken of raising taxes on the wealthiest Canadians, along with eliminating the exemption from capital gains taxes, and raising corporate taxes.  Are these things that you favour, and if so, by how much?


Given the pitbull politics that the Conservatives employ and the venomous-snake approach of the LPC,  in gearing up for the next 4 years each NDP leadership candidate should be able to explain to us how her or his acknowledged Achilles' heel  will be protected.

How do you propose to prepare yourself for the predictable attacks on your relative lack of experience in politics?  For instance, do you envision mobilization (of youth, minorities, and other supportive groups) to counter such attacks, and how would you strike a balance between waging the battles yourself and relying on veteran MPs? 




Todrick of Chat...

Niki Ashton, if you are selected as the next leader of the NDP and elected as the next Prime Minister of Canada will you do the following?

1. Nationalize all industries dealing with natural resources and place them under the control of the people of Canada?

2. Will you seize all former Crown Corporations and place them back under control of the people of Canada?

3. Will you ensure that no foreign government and business interests are never allowed to takeover Canada industries or companies?

4. Will you disband the Canadian Armed Forces? As a peaceful nation there is no need for a military force in Canada.

5. Will you force any industries in Canada to cease product of any material, equipment, products used in military applications?

6. Will you sure that any countries that Canada has bombed or invade (Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) over the last 20 years are paid for the damages the Canada military/Government illegally inflicted on this peace nations.


flight from kamakura

nikki, if you are not on the final 3 ballots at convention, who would be your second choice to lead the party, and what are the prime criteria by which you would make your decision?

thanks, and great campaign!

Todrick of Chat...

Erik, its okay I realize the NDP is not even remotely socialist. God forbidden that we the people of Canada had a party that acted in some type of communist manner.

I realize these hard questions will never be answered let alone asked.

Erik Redburn

But theyre not 'hard questions' at all Todd.  Theyre so obviously designed to put candidates in difficult positions yet so breathtakingly naive that I wouldn't blame them for just skipping over half of them.   

If we all now agree that the NDP is nolonger socialist, as you define it, and probably never was, could you then start focusing some of your ritualistic outrage on the actual ruling parties instead?  It might do us all a favour and make this place abit more interesting to visit again. 

Wilf Day

In the last election the Green Party vote dropped from 937,613 to 572,095. The NDP attracted most of those votes, partly because Jack Layton was such a strong champion for proportional representation. Yet many independent and Green voters are skeptical; they say the NDP talks a great line about PR in opposition, yet the Manitoba government never wants to talk about it. This is a chronic problem; Rene Levesque tried to implement PR in 1981 to 1985, but his MNAs gave it a first class funeral. MPs see no advantage in changing the system that let them win. How can you assure Green and other skeptical voters that a federal NDP government will do better on democratic reform than the Manitoba government has?

Erik Redburn

Gee Todd, it might not be a good idea to dismantle our entire military if we intend on nationalizing our entire resource sector. 

Dear NDP candidates, please feel free to ignore certain Babblers.   I don't believe they could ever be won over.


Several members of your team were involved in the Ryan Meili campaign for SK NDP leader that energised that leadership race. What have you learned from them, that could be used to energise the Federal NDP and help renew its roots in Saskatchewan?

wage zombie

As technology becomes an ever larger part of our lives, access to that technology at an early age becomes critical.  For children these days, not having access to a computer at a young age will become more and more like not having access to books at an early age.  As the economy changes, Canada would benefit from a high level of technological literacy throughout the country.

What approach would you take towards getting technology in the hands of all Canadian children?  Do you see a "one tablet per child" as an achievable program?

Todrick of Chat...

Erik Redburn wrote:

But theyre not 'hard questions' at all Todd.  Theyre so obviously designed to put candidates in difficult positions yet so breathtakingly naive that I wouldn't blame them for just skipping over half of them.   

If we all now agree that the NDP is nolonger socialist, as you define it, and probably never was, could you then start focusing some of your ritualistic outrage on the actual ruling parties instead?  It might do us all a favour and make this place abit more interesting to visit again. 


I would like a so called "progressive party" act like a progressive party.

They are politicians, they should asked about difficult questions and be put into complex positions.

Lord Palmerston

Except they're not "difficult questions" because we obviously know what the answer is.




We're working with the Ashton campaign on a date/time for her babble Q&A.  Thus far, Mulcair is the only leadership candidate to decline our invitation.



Why is foreign ownership inferior to domestic ownership of Canadian companies?

Do we want foreign investment in Canada or should it be reduced?

If we move to restrict foreign investment/ownership in Canada, should other countries retaliate by restricting Canadian ownership/investment in theirs?

Would you move to restrict foreign ownership as prime minister by nationalizing existing foreign companies?

What sectors of the Canadian economy need to be re-nationalised? How would you do it? How would you pay for it? What sectors would you start with first?


To Niki Ashton, 

There have been more than 14,000 foreign takeovers of Canadian corporations and valuable assets since just 1985. More than three dozen key sectors of Canada's economy are majority foreign-owned and controlled and mostly by rich Americans. We've witnessed the closure of Electro-Motive recently in London, Ontario and 450 jobs lost to Caterpillar-Indiana now a right-to-work state. Ken Lewenza said recently that Caterpillar violated investment rules when they bought E-M in 2010.

Followup Question: Would an NDP government pursue legal action against Caterpillar through a NAFTA dispute procedure or the WTO?


When the Harper Government took power in 2006, there were more than 2.1 million manufacturing jobs in Canada. Today there are 1.743 million - a loss of nearly 400,000 manufacturing jobs on Harper's watch. More than 40,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the last 12 months.

Followup Questions: What would you do to stem the decades-long tide of predatory foreign takeovers of Canadian corporations and assets? And at what point would re-nationalising all those thousands of former Canadian corporations become a lesson in bankruptcy? 

Would an NDP government led by you consider re-nationalising any key sectors of Canada's economy, like manufacturing and oil/energy?

Would you consider nationalising even a percentage of the [u]profits[/u] from oil or energy in general(ie. energy nationalism) as opposed to taking public ownership of the oil derricks and all drilling rights etc?

Thanks and have a great day,

babbler Fidel aka Patrick

ETA: Niki for PM!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Will you overturn Harper's defunding of important social programs - and one that's dear to my heart that may be on the chopping block next: Katimavik?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Niki will be joining us this Monday, March 5 at 12:00 PST/3:00 EST! Get your questions in before Sunday!


Can you name anything good the Conservatives have done that you would continue as Prime Minister?


Hi Ms Ashton - Thank you for taking the time to read our questions.

Ms Ashton, Stephen Harper and his team have taken aim at Health Canada's Medical Marijuana Program, as they have stated their intent to phase out medical cannabis growing and medical cannabis use by patients.

Many Canadians use medical marijuana for nausea and appetite following chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, where it has shown itself to be very effective. The plant is also used for a variety of other human ailments. Thousands of Canadians currently grow their own medical cannabis and get medical relief with this plant. People who grow their own save money doing so and legally must have their doctors on board in order to get their license to grow - these are responsible law abiding citizens. The economics is  clear: Medical cannabis growers can grow their own product without costing the insurance industry a penny - most patient/growers use sunshine and a few dollars that patients are willing to pay themselves on seeds.

It's really just a small freedom we're asking for, the freedom to grow our own medicine.

Ms. Ashton, Mr. Harper and his conservatives want to remove from Canadians the right to grow their own plants/medicine safely. He wants to replace their own home grown product with a less effective pharmaceutical product that will cost regular folks plenty of money.

He has also created mandatory 1 year sentences for people growing more than 5 plants. And he has budgeted for prisons to hold these cannabis growers - medical or not, once growing the plant is made illegal.

Ms. Ashton, will you fight Mr. Harper to ensure that Canadians can continue to freely and affordably grow / use this important medical product?

Or are you daring, and do you wonder, like many of us do, why it is illegal when we know so much about the benefits of it?

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