Dewar sees NDP win
Paul Dewar, a candidate for to replace Jack Layton as leader of the federal NDP, visited Thompson Rivers University this week,speaking to a political science class before meeting local media for a Q&A session.
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By Jeremy Deutsch - Kamloops This Week
Published: February 01, 2012 3:00 PM
Updated: February 01, 2012 3:17 PM
It’s a safe bet there aren’t many ideas the federal NDP and Conservative parties would openly admire in each other.
However, there is one NDP leadership hopeful looking to take a page out of the Conservatives’ playbook to help his party win the next election.
Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar credits the Conservatives for the party’s work with its grassroots supporters — and he wants the NDP to take follow that lead.
“We need to do the same thing. Our party was formed from the grassroots,” he said during a stop in Kamloops on Tuesday, Jan. 31, as part of a provincewide tour to gather support for his campaign.
Dewar said the national party needs to provide support on the ground with federal organizers to build memberships and constituencies.
Dewar said members also need to focus on issues that matter locally.
He said it is recipe that will help win ridings like Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, which hasn’t flown the orange flag for more than a decade.
“I said we need to focus on the next 70 seats to win and one of those is right here,” he said.
As leader, Dewar said, he would push a pair of ideas to address affordable post-secondary education.
Dewar said he would partner with the provinces to lower the average tuition by $700 per student.
Dewar said he would also provide students the opportunity to volunteer for one year for a Canadian or national non-profit organization in exchange for a year’s tuition, a model that has been successful in some European countries.
While in Kamloops, the issues back in Ottawa, including MP pensions, weren’t far behind.
Dewar said it is fair to look at pensions, but suggested the issue should be dealt with by an independent body.
He is the fourth candidate to visit the city during the leadership race to succeed the late Jack Layton.
The race to replace Layton began in September and will wind up with a leadership convention and vote in Toronto on March 24.