We are on the eve of an historic national election. It is time to offer Canadians a vision of our nation, a new national dream for the 21st century, and a national agenda that uses all tools available to achieve great things for Canada and the world.
We are Canadians without borders, looking outward to an exciting future. We have come together from every corner of the globe to continue to build a progressive, vigorous multi-ethnic democracy that is unique in human history. We want to embrace the national responsibilities that have been thrust upon us because of our unique place in the international community.
Our destiny is to show that Canada can be a model for a troubled world, increasingly challenged by religious and sectarian friction, and environmental catastrophes. Our growing diversity as a people, our huge pool of human talent, is our greatest strength from which to forge a clear national purpose.
That national purpose must be to improve the quality of life both in Canada and elsewhere, to promote a common sense of humanity, good government and good citizenship around the world, to collaborate globally to ensure that economic prosperity coincides with environmental preservation.
We demand bold and visionary national leadership and a national government that governs resolutely for the Canadian people, not the provincial premiers. Canada is not Quebec. Canada is not Alberta. Neither Danny Williams nor Dalton McGuinty speaks to the national interest. Nor is it their job to do so: that is the job of the prime minister.
We need a prime minister, a national leader, who does not undermine the legitimacy of the national government by refusing to use the tools available to strengthen us as a nation. We need a prime minister, a national leader, who discharges our collective responsibility to help the most vulnerable in society and to pursue justice and equality both in Canada and abroad. We need a prime minister, a national leader, who pursues policies and initiatives that unite us, not divide us, that achieve equality of opportunity for all Canadians in practice, not just in theory.
We cannot go through another parliamentary session, whether under a minority or a majority government, with a federal government evading its serious leadership responsibilities. The time is long overdue to establish and vigorously pursue national standards for action across the full spectrum of challenges that confront us: protection of the environment, climate change, strengthening the national economic union, eliminating poverty and unemployment, enhancing national security, assuring safe streets, safe water, clean air.
Stephen Harper’s surreptitious dismantling of the federal government, his divisive leadership, his shirking of responsibilities and transfer of national resources to the provinces, is matched only by Jack Layton’s hypocrisy in claiming that he can deliver the very national programs for child care and climate change that the NDP put an end to through their action in 2005, all the while since, holding the door open for Mr. Harper. We must question Mr. Layton’s political judgment as he advances his personal and parochial agenda to somehow replace, at any cost, the Liberals on the national scene, at the expense of the principles he claims to possess and without a genuine sense of national purpose.
This failure in political judgment is largely responsible for the fact that, on the most important issue of the twenty-first century – the environment and our planetary survival, the NDP has been replaced by the Green Party as the conscience of the nation. Among other things, concern over the environment inspires Canadians to want to build a Canada where achievement is no longer measured by our level of consumption, but by our commitment and responsibility to our fellow citizens, where wealth is defined as well-being, not well-having. We need bold and visionary national leadership to mobilize this energy. Neither Stephen Harper nor Jack Layton is up to the challenge.
To continue to build our diverse and vibrant nation, and to play a meaningful role in the preservation and stewardship of the planet, we need a bold, visionary national government that will firmly and forcefully speak for all of us; a government that will harness global forces to further our core values, and guarantee equality of opportunity and social and economic justice for all Canadians.
We need a bold and visionary national government that will ensure that we have the institutions and tools necessary to reflect our shared values as we share those values with the world.
Every election is important and every election defines our future. The next general election will be one of the most important in Canadian history. This is not the time for 30 to 40%, and sometimes more, of eligible voters to settle for mediocrity in national politics by not voting. This is the time for Canadians to stand up clearly and demand bold national leadership, taking a stand in ensuring that Canada will remain at the front ranks of a world without borders.