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NDP slaps Tories with laundry list of economic demands

NDP finance critic Peggy Nash, shown campaigning in her Toronto riding on April 29, 2011, calls the Conservatives 'out of touch.'

J.P. MOCZULSKI/j.p. moczulski The Globe and Mail

The NDP is demanding the Conservatives take action to "avert another recession" as MPs prepare to hammer the government over job creation and its economic performance.

It's opposition day on Parliament Hill Thursday, and the New Democrats have presented a strongly-worded motion demanding the government also do something about pensions and even infrastructure.

In addition to concerns about another recession, the motion calls on the Tories to "take immediate action to promote job creation and address the persistently high unemployment rate among Canadian workers, particularly high among young Canadians, in the context of the International Monetary Fund prediction of yet higher unemployment rates in the future unless swift action is taken."

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The motion, which will be outlined at a press conference Thursday morning by NDP finance critic Peggy Nash, also demands the government take immediate action to guarantee stable pensions and to fix the "crumbling infrastructure essential to our economy and the security of Canadians."

According to Ms. Nash, "the Conservatives are out of touch." In an interview with The Globe, she added: "We will hold this government to account and we need action now."

The Toronto MP has been up on her feet in Question Period this week questioning the government about its jobs plan – or lack thereof. Last week, she managed to rattle Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who accused her of "bad mouthing the Canadian economy" with her pointed questions about the government ignoring some important fiscal indicators.

The Conservatives are trying to counter the Official Opposition's persistent economic probing by sending out a missive to supporters criticizing the NDP for "lacking any credible economic policies of its own."

Tory strategists take "placeholder" NDP chief Nycole Turmel to task, arguing the party is "not fit to govern" because its "medicine for Canada's economy is the same reckless spending and out of control debt that has infected the global economy."

The NDP motion will be debated Thursday ahead of a vote Monday. The result of the vote is not binding on the government.

Meet the new boss, nothing like the old boss

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It's a small world out there and Dimitri Soudas, who has only known a Conservative boss, starts work next month for a Chrétien Liberal.

You can leave Parliament Hill but not politics. And it turns out, Mr. Soudas and his new boss, Derek Kent, have a lot in common.

Mr. Soudas was the scrappy, partisan and extremely loyal director of communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He left government earlier this month for Toronto and would not say where he had landed – until this week.

The 32-year-old is the new executive director of communications at the Canadian Olympic Committee, where he will strategize about how to promote Canadian athletes instead of how to promote Mr. Harper and his message.

Mr. Kent, chief marketing officer for the COC, worked in senior roles for Allan Rock, a Liberal cabinet minister under Jean Chrétien. He told The Globe that Mr. Soudas brings a "great reputation" and "wealth of communications knowledge" to the COC.

The Liberal – who left government in 2000 and most recently served as U.S. media relations director for Nike, based in Manhattan – says that despite political allegiances, he and Mr. Soudas have a lot in common. They are both bilingual Montrealers; they started in politics at a young age (Mr. Kent was a press secretary at age 27); both have worked for prime ministers; and of course, the most important tie that binds, they are Habs fans.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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