TALKING LEADERSHIP                                Federal NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton meets with supporters at the Italian Hall on Sunday, July 30. Read more about her visit online at www.albernivalleynews.com                                 ELENA RARDON PHOTO

TALKING LEADERSHIP Federal NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton meets with supporters at the Italian Hall on Sunday, July 30. Read more about her visit online at www.albernivalleynews.com ELENA RARDON PHOTO

NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton pitches free tuition

Manitoba MP paid a visit to Port Alberni this weekend to meet with supporters

NDP leadership hopeful Niki Ashton paid a visit to Port Alberni on Sunday, July 30 to share her bold, progressive vision for the next federal election.

Ashton, an MP for the Churchill—Keewatinook Aski district in Manitoba, held a meet and greet at the Italian Hall where she met with local NDP supporters and shared some of her policies as a candidate for federal NDP leadership.

Ashton is the second NDP hopeful to visit Port Alberni in July, after Guy Caron paid a visit to Char’s Landing earlier last month.

Ashton promoted free tuition, pointing out that 17 countries in the world, a number of them less wealthy than Canada, offer free tuition.

She also talked about the importance of environmental justice and said it was important for the NDP to take a clear stance in opposition to Kinder Morgan and other forms of energy that will exacerbate climate change.

Ashton stressed creating good, green jobs in the community. “People and communities like ours also want to be part of more sustainable economy,” she said, “and an economy that seeks to benefit their children, their grandchildren and our collective future.”

The NDP need to engage in democratic reform within their own party, said Ashton, starting with the grassroots. “We need to spend more time talking about policies and principles, and maybe a bit less time on polling and public relations,” she said. “We need to get at what really matters to our communities, what really matters to Canadians.”

She pointed out that during the 2015 election, the Liberals had an inspiring vision that excited many Canadians. “I can’t think of a better party than the NDP to truly do that work and mobilize people, including young people, around a progressive vision that we will live up to,” she said.

37 percent of eligible voters in the next election will be millennials. “Polls indicate that this is a generation that tends to be more progressive and it’s also a generation that’s calling for bold ideas, not necessarily out of a theoretical wishful place, but out of sheer necessity,” she said.

Ashton pointed out that progressive movements are rising in other countries around the world, from Bernie Sanders in the U.S. to Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K.

“A bold, principled agenda is needed now, more than ever,” she said.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com