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NDP message resonates in PC country

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair continued his swing through Conservative country Thursday with a couple of stops in the Central Okanagan.

Mulcair made a brief stop in West Kelowna before speaking with about 50 party faithfuls at O-Lake Cafe and Bistro in downtown Kelowna.

The NDP leader touched on a number of topics from unemployment to GMO's.

As you would expect his message resonated with those inside the coffee shop, but Mulcair says he was pleased with the turnout during his tour of the Okanagan.

While admitting this is PC territory, Mulcair also acknowledged the NDP brand is 'strong' and growing.

"People want a progressive view, they want a government that is going to acting in the public interest and, we're there," says Mulcair.

"We've got a great team of women and men capable of providing good, competent public administration. That's going to be one of the main aspects of the next election campaign."

In order to make inroads in the valley he says they have to show Canadians they deserve better.

Mulcair says Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been telling Canadians they have to accept less.

"They are going to have to work to age 67 to retire, we are going to bring that back to 65. He wants to cut $36B out of the transfers to health care, we are going to say...we want to preserve that."

He says the NDP can deliver all that without raising taxes.

For the first time in the party's history the NDP enjoys official opposition status in the House of Commons with a record 103 seats in 2011.

The party was able to attain those lofty heights under popular leader Jack Layton who has since passed away.

Mulcair, who assumed the leadership of the party in March, 2012, says he does feel pressure both personally and for the party to make the next step.

He believes the party can do that by respecting the electorate's intelligence and their ability to make smart choices.

"Stephen Harper is trying to govern with right wing slogans that haven't worked. Justin Trudeau is answering with common places and banality," says Mulcair.

"We are not answering the way the other two answer, we are giving a substantial answer. We are taking that across Canada for the next 20 months and we are convinced Canadians have enough confidence in themselves to deal straight up with a party that is saying these are the things we will accomplish together."

The next federal election is slated for Oct 19 of next year.

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