Sunday, September 28, 2008
We have the platform and the policies. We have integrity and plenty of talent.
So just what are we missing?
Dion has looked much sharper in the past few days and perhaps it's partially being the underdog. Our rivals would say it could be a result of lowered expectations, but I'd suggest that is a media creation and competition spin.
Now that Harper has demonstrated that no low blow will go unused, I believe what we need to do is to increase the heat in the leader's message -- continue with a strong focus on policy, but also striking back. Not with low blows like that prince of narcissistic sanctimony, but with sharply chiselled honest shots right at the heart of the so-called CON leadership. This is what I'd say...
Stephen Harper's Conservatives may be feeling that their goal of Dividing and Conquering the hearts and minds of Canadians is nearly achieved. With the polls in their favour, Stephen Harper has lowered his aim with gutter attacks at those who question his policies. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper does not think Canadians need to have answers.
He has shown he doesn't want to debate the issues man-to-man. In his contempt for the electoral process, Stephen Harper has chosen to hide, silence and stifle his own candidates for fear their own words could inform Canadians on just what Stephen Harper knows.
We've had two-and-a-half years of a Conservative government, a government that is no longer New, no longer guided by the North Star, and apparently no longer needing the Blessing of God. A government that out-spent all others, one that reduced Canada's economic standing to the bottom of the G8, and still pretends that everything is A-OK. His government has overseen job losses, economic instability, ministerial bungling and environmental sliding, and his answer is to put on a sweater.
What Canadians have also had in the past two-and-a-half years is an administration that cannot function without creating enemies.
It has spent energy and funds dividing Canadians on the purpose of government, on the good that government can do. Attacking the governments of Ontario and Newfoundland for political gain. Scaring public sector employees, scientists and the men and women who are sworn to protect Canadians' food sources and who watch over our nuclear industries, or who study climate change. Dissent nor questions are permitted, and those who do are declared enemies of the national good.
Stephen Harper's actions go against the ideals of justice and integrity that Canadians deserve from their leaders. There is no line that he would not cross, no fight he would not pick, for pure partisan gain. One has to wonder, who will he target next? Consider who he has targeted already.
He would not tolerate a few protesters from the AIDS conference in Toronto -- instead, choosing to punish those who are already victims by delaying funding announcements. Ask arts and cultural groups across this great nation, the people who are vital parts of local economies, what it feels like to be on the wrong side of Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper would even deny Canadians the right to share their grief in the repatriation of our valiant soldiers, if not for the outcries of the soldiers' families.
Instead of being part of a global solution to climate change, he chose to drag the world back from a possible landmark agreement. Under Stephen Harper, Canada is no longer a leader, a beacon of hope that other nations can turn to for guidance. Instead, Stephen Harper has us following the beat of the do-nothings, who stand at the door arguing 'After you.' These are not the actions of a government that cares about what kind of world our grandchildren will inherit.
We must give Stephen Harper his due, though. When it comes to insulting the Canadian public, he has set new standards. He's able to blame every misstep and dangerous decision he's done in the past two and a half years on past Liberal governments, while taking credit for the last eight Liberal balanced budgets. He's appointed his own Elections Canada commissioner, and when he didn't like the job he was doing investigating Conservative shenanigans, made him a Liberal.
When his team members insult the families of our gallant soldiers or make jokes about people dying from the Listeria crisis, he's responded true to form. He gave Ryan Sparrow a vacation, and put Gerry Ritz in the Conservative witness protection program.
Accountability won't get in the way of a Stephen Harper government -- it was only a disposable election slogan, like his promise to not tax income trusts. Well, we Liberals are up to the challenge of governing for all Canadians, with a platform that responds to the challenges of today and tomorrow.
In 1993, Canadians said 'Enough!' of fiscal mismanagement and growing deficits, and asked a Liberal government to correct the mistakes by a Conservative government. Jean Chretien and Paul Martin delivered. Now, the challenge is on a larger scale, one that if unanswered will bring the global economy to its knees. The Green Shift -- where Canadians have more take-home pay, while polluters pay more -- is meant to meet that challenge. Our platform has been vetted and scrutinized by independent economists and environmentalists and received positive support. The Liberal Party is ready for the job.
Stephen Harper is not up to the challenge. He has offered nothing but silence, misinformation and indifference to the economic and environmental tests that we face. The truth is, Stephen Harper doesn't want to lead Canada. He wants to divide it. We ask that Canadians who cherish social justice, compassionate and fiscally responsible governance choose the Liberal Party, for a richer, fairer, greener future.