At the heart of my vision of One Canada for All Canadians is a more inclusive Canada. It is a Canada where citizens, communities, governments come together to build a better union.
I believe Canadians want a strong federal government to take the leadership role that Stephen Harper has deliberately abandoned. Not to dictate to Canadians, but to inspire us, guide us and bring us together. The federal government, as the only level of government elected by – and answering to – all Canadians, has a unique mandate to serve the national interest, and rally the nation in service of shared challenges and common ideals.
Bold national leadership thrives on the demands and realities of our times – a world where the old ideological polarities make little sense and the traditional tug-of-war between provincial and federal jurisdiction is a dangerous distraction from the nation’s urgent business – whether combating climate change or maintaining competitiveness in a rapidly evolving global economy. National leadership is not about imposing blueprints or micromanaging matters better left to other levels of government and organizations. It is about articulating vision and principles that bring citizens and governments together to work in the national interest.
Some things, like health care standards, a national price on carbon, or an Infrastructure Financing Authority, can only be pursued in national forums. All Canadians benefit when we all cooperate to lower drug prices, share best practices in health, and establish national environmental standards that ensure the competition for investment and jobs in Canada is won by a race to the top, not the bottom. And greater national coherence will support the international coherence we need to permit Canada to play once again a significant role in the global community.
Canadians want to see an end to the most top-down, insular and elitist government in Canada’s history led by Mr. Harper operating directly out of the PMO. A government that – from science to healthcare, to the environment, to infrastructure, to our relations with Aboriginal Canadians – is deliberately letting us drift apart, conditioning us to expect less and less of our national government and of ourselves.
There has never been a better time to give Canadians a clear choice between a Canada where we all work together in the national interest, and the Canada of Mr. Harper where everyone fends for themselves.