Friday, October 5, 2012

One vote at a time . . .

Next weekend I will cast a ballot to nominate the person I would like to carry the NDP banner in a by-election that must be called to replace my friend Denise Savoie, who retired from office last month after years of stellar service to the community.  My heartfelt thanks go out to Denise for all the good work she has done in Victoria and on the national stage to give voice to the issues and initiatives important to our community.

I will be supporting a candidate who reflects my values and priorities and someone who I think can carry forward the legacy that Denise has built in our community.  It is most important to me that in Victoria and across Canada that we focus on the coming calamity of climate change.  It is probably the most pressing issue of our time, and we need a candidate for our times. 

There is no challenge today more critical than our intractable dependence on fossil fuels to power an unsustainable way of life that must change, and not just for the reasons of environmental catastrophe that awaits us if we do not act.

New Democrats have a long and proud history of tackling the social and economic issues that reach beyond the comfortable and the well to do.  We brought socialized health care to Canada that is being eroded by those who believe we should return to a failed private delivery system that would cheat many Canadians of their rights as citizens. 

We have fought for decades for new models of economic sustainability and equity to ensure that our citizens have decent jobs to support themselves and their families, and can make a positive contribution to our country and to our communities.

We have fought for equality and the rights of Canadians regardless of race, colour, sexual orientation or the many other differences we celebrate in our diverse country.  No party has been a more vocal advocate for issues of social just than the New Democrats – past and present.

Canada also used to play a positive role in building a peaceful world and we have lost our way.  My father wore the blue beret with a pride that I could celebrate.  Today we seek military might and export aggression alongside the rest of the tools of our undoing. 

We need to be a voice again for peace and reconciliation at home and abroad, and we need to catch up to many of our partners in other nations who are working towards a sustainable future.  I fear that the only sustainability our current government is interested in is the outward flow of our resources and the return of money that will, ironically, pay only for the damage we will have wrought on the world and ourselves.

Health care will not only be pressured by an aging population who need the contributions of young and diverse flows of immigrants the Harper government is trying to keep out of Canada (except for those who can be exploited in servitude).  It will also be challenged by the epidemic of sedentary lifestyles that we have adopted and new diseases and pests that who need no passport, only a changing climate in which to thrive.

Our crumbling infrastructure needs the money that Harper invests in fighter jets, and climate change will challenge us here too.   It will be harder to create jobs from denuded forests, drought stricken farmlands, or to house people in communities flooded by rising sea levels.  These threats are real; the cold war targets we are preparing for are not.

We cannot move forward relying on the models of the past, and we need new, genuine voices for change, for sustainability and for a true agenda on social justice that recognizes the interdependence of our community and our environment.

I have considered all of these issues and face a difficult choice.  We have before us exceptional citizens with diverse histories and a commitment to our community and our country that demonstrates again that New Democrats have the best to offer the people of Victoria who want a responsible voice in Parliament.  But at some point I will have to cast my vote, and so, after having listened to those who are candidates for the nomination, and a feeling that I know all of them well enough to call them friends, I am casting my vote for Murray Rankin.

Murray brings a voice and a record of experience as well as something new for Victoria.  He has a history here, but much valuable experience elsewhere in the province and in the country.  I believe he offers us not just the best hope to keep Victoria’s parliamentary seat in the NDP family, but also the best choice to take the issues that matter to me personally and to many in our community on to Ottawa.  He will truly make an exceptional Member of Parliament and I believe he will be “cabinet ready” in a new government led by Thomas Mulcair.

I hope you will join me at our nomination meeting and cast a vote in support of that hopeful future that I believe Murray will well represent.  Let’s hope we have a by-election soon so we can get to work filling the big shoes Denise left behind.  We have much still to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment