Why I'm Running Again
I am running again so that I can help defeat Stephen Harper. Even if he loses his majority but still has the most seats, then Harper stays. I am determined not to let that happen because as a Member of Parliament, I have seen the damage done by this Conservative Government up close over the past four years. At the same time as taking this opportunity to defeat Stephen Harper, Canadians could also make this one of the most historic elections ever, one that sees Canada’s first NDP government.
The Conservatives deserve to be driven from office as they have trampled democracy. They have used their majority consistently to shut down debate in Parliament – cutting off debate more than 100 times. They also used their majority to pass the Unfair Elections Act in a blatant attempt to suppress voter turnout and to create even more opportunities to manipulate the election rules in their own favour. One of the changes in the Elections Act allowed them to more than double the spending limits by calling this never-ending campaign and then count on their greater financial resources to let them outspend the opposition parties.
The Conservatives have severely damaged Canada’s international reputation as a promoter of peace, democracy, and development. They have abandoned Canada’s role as a world leader on the environment and climate change. They have skewed immigration policy to restrict the number of entrants in the family reunification and skilled immigrant categories and cut back the number of refugees resettled here. Instead they have shifted the balance of entrants to low paid, temporary foreign workers who have no rights in Canada and no stake in our country’s future. Most shamefully, the Conservatives have pushed veterans aside and severely cut services to those who have served our country. The impacts of this disrespect for veterans is all too evident here in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.
I am also running again because I want to be part of Canada’s first NDP Government. This will be a government which will bring about a national program to provide quality, affordable and accessible childcare at $15 a day. As well, I want to be part of a government which will tackle climate change by transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy and a government which will implement a cap and trade system to guarantee significant reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions.
I want to be part of a government which will guarantee universal access to prescription drugs and lift seniors out of poverty by increasing the GIS. Canadians deserve a government which will guarantee a secure retirement for all by returning the retirement age to 65 and expanding the Canada Pension Plan. We need a government which will legislate a $15 an hour living wage in the federal sector and which will promote and protect high paying, skilled jobs in renewable energy, high technology, and manufacturing. And perhaps most of all, I want a government that will reform our electoral system and bring in proportional representation, making 2015 the last unfair election.
Among my personal priorities in the next parliament will be to make sure C-51 is repealed immediately. As the one who led the NDP opposition to this bill in the House of Commons and the Public Safety Committee this feels like personal unfinished business to me. I will also reintroduce my Bill C-279, which was passed by the Commons and killed by the unelected Senate, and this will finally guarantee transgender Canadians the same rights and protections the rest of us already enjoy. I will work hard to deliver the long promised shipbuilding jobs for our community and to restore respect for veterans. I will also make sure that the federal government implements an Action Plan for the recovery of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and provides environmental protection for our local watersheds.
Again, let me stress that I want to make sure Stephen Harper is defeated in October and remind you that every seat will count if we want to make sure this happens. It is simple, if the NDP doesn't have more seats than Harper, then he gets to stay.
If Canadians do elect an NDP government, then we can get to work once again on building a Canada where no one is left behind, a Canada which respects and values diversity, a Canada with good jobs in a sustainable economy, and a Canada which leads the world in the fight against climate change and in building peace and democracy around the world.