OTTAWA – With election speculation rampant under a minority parliament, the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing (AMK) NDP riding association has nominated Carol Hughes to stand for re-election for what would be her fifth term in AMK. Ms. Hughes was acclaimed at a meeting last week by New Democrats in the riding.
“I want to say how humbled I am for the support I have received and continue to receive from the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing NDP members of the federal riding association and also the people of (AMK) who have put their trust in me time and again to bring their voices and concerns to parliament.”
Ms. Hughes told the Recorder, “I’ve been the NDP (AMK) representative for quite some time now and we have built up a good rapport with constituents. There has been a good flow to help provide services to people in the communities, although COVID-19 has changed the format we provide this. We would rather be in our communities meeting with constituents on a one-on-one basis. But even with the pandemic, we have been able to keep up our case work up and take part in events.”
“There is still a lot of work to do,” stated Ms. Hughes. “One of the things I would like to see in place before I would ever think of not running for the party is to have quality, affordable internet services in place across the riding. We have done a lot of work toward this but there is a lot more to do. I would like to see this come to fruition.”
“The work we have done as the NDP in our communities has borne fruit over the years, but we have a lot more we would like to accomplish,” said Ms. Hughes.
“The NDP has been getting results for Canadians,” stated Ms. Hughes. “For the (Canada Emergency Response Benefit, CERB) the government intended to allow a small benefit to (Employment Insurance, EI) but we pushed the government to provide $2,000 instead of the $1,000 they had originally been proposing.”
The NDP helped urge the government to increase the wage subsidy amount they had been proposing, “to keep people in jobs and to help maintain businesses,” she continued, noting even with this support, “unfortunately, some businesses have not been successful in staying afloat because of the pandemic.”
“The federal government was quick to announce that Canada was (among) the first to get COVID-19 vaccines in the arms of people. Now we are the 57th as a country in terms of the number of people that have been vaccinated,” said Ms. Hughes. “If you don’t get enough vaccines in place to give everyone shots, it is a problem,” she said.
The Liberal government has promised to boost old age security for seniors and more support for disabled persons, but has not provided this, said Ms. Hughes.
“It is unfortunate what is happening in long-term care,” continued Ms. Hughes. “We need enhanced and guaranteed proper care for long-term care put into the Canada Health Act. And, we need to get rid of for-profit health care; no one should make money on long-term care, but we have businesses making money on the backs of our seniors. Meanwhile, we have been seeing seniors in these long-term care facilities dying left and right. And in the majority of the cases where this has taken place, it has been in privately owned long-term care facilities.”
“And we need to make sure the workers in these LTC facilities get a living wage, security and benefits,” said Ms. Hughes. “A lot of these workers have had to work part-time at other jobs to make a living.”
Commenting on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines again, Ms. Hughes said, “obtaining the vaccines, and enough of them to put in the arm of every person in the country, is the responsibility of the federal government. But they put all their eggs in one basket; they didn’t put their foot down originally to make sure there are enough vaccines. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have dropped the ball on this. Even back as far as SARS the country should have been self-sufficient and be making our own vaccines. The Conservatives changed this about 50 years ago, and since then we have relied on other countries to provide these vaccines.”
First elected in 2008, Ms. Hughes won the last election on October 21, 2019.
If she is successful in the next election she will be back for her fifth term as AMK’s representative in the House of Commons. She has been the sitting member in the riding for more than 12 years and four months.
Ms. Hughes becomes the first announced candidate in the AMK for the next federal election, which is set for on or before October 16, 2023.