LONDON - With Canadian households more in debt than ever, New Democrat incumbent Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) says it is time Canadians had a government that protects consumer interests and puts an end to predatory gouging by Canada’s banks and credit card providers.

“While banks benefit from record-low interest rates, Canadians continue to pay some of the highest credit card fees in the world,” said Mathyssen. “The car breaks down, or the washing machine stops working, or the children are growing so fast they need new shoes, and in the current economy many families have no choice but to turn to their credit cards just to make ends meet. As a result, the average Canadian family is now $100,000 in debt. At the same time Canada’s big banks made $21 billion last year! Its time the gouging stopped and its time Canadian families get a break.”

The Harper Conservatives have repeatedly failed to stand up for Canadian consumers and small businesses by refusing to regulate interest rates and excessive credit card fees, says Mathyssen.

New Democrats plan to cap credit card interest rates at five per cent plus prime, crack down on excessive transaction charges and make the Conservative’s voluntary credit card and transaction Code of Ethics into law.

“I believe we need strong banks for a healthy economy,” said Mathyssen. “But 5% plus prime still allows for healthy profits and would give Canadians a fair deal.”