What’s the response from the NDP? To sow regional resentment and blame the successful. The Conservative answer? Privilege one sector over others and promise that wealth will trickle down, eventually.
Both are tidy ideological answers to complex and difficult questions. The only thing they have in common is that they are both, equally, wrong.
We need to get it right. We need to open our minds to new solutions, to listen to Canadians, to trust them.
And as we face these challenges, the only ideology that must guide us is evidence. Hard, scientific facts and data. It may seem revolutionary in today's Ottawa, but instead of inventing the facts to justify the policies, we will create policy based on facts. Solutions can come from the left or the right, all that matters is that they work. That they help us live - and thrive - true to our values.
Because middle class growth is much more than an economic imperative.
The key to Canadian unity is the shared sense of purpose so hard to define but so deeply felt. The sense that we are all in this together. That when Albertans do well, it creates opportunities for Quebecers. That when Quebecers create and innovate, it echoes across the country and around the world. That whether you’re in St. Boniface or St. John’s, Mississauga or Surrey, we have common struggles and common dreams.
It is the middle class, not the political class, that unites this country. It is the middle class that makes this country great.
We know some Quebeckers want their own country. A country that reflects our values, that protects our language and our culture, that respects our identity.
My friends, I want to build a country too. A country worthy of my dreams. Of your dreams. But for me, that country reaches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Great Lakes to the Grand North.
Quebeckers have always chosen Canada because we know it is the land of our ancestors - who built this country from east to west. They were here to write the first chapters of the great Canadian history of courage, liberty and hope. We have left our footsteps everywhere.
Will we put this history aside now because people of other languages came after us with the same dream of building a better country ? Of course not. Our contribution to Canada is far from over.
I want the Liberal Party to be once again the party that promotes and cherishes the francophone reality of this country. I want my party to support francophone communities across the country. And I want the Liberal Party to be once again the vehicle for Quebeckers to contribute to the future of Canada.
Now my candidacy has been the source of some speculation over the past months. The odd newspaper article has been written. Some have been very odd indeed.
But I said to Liberals after the last election that we need to get past this idea that a simple leadership change could solve our problems.
I believe that still. My candidacy may shine a few extra lights upon us. It may put some people in the bleachers to watch. But what we do with that opportunity is up to us.
All of us.
And when Canadians tune in, we need to prove to them that we Liberals have learned from the past, yes. But that we are one-hundred-per-cent focused on the future.
And not the future of our party: the future of our country.
I am running because I believe this country wants and needs new leadership. A vision for Canada’s future grounded not in the politics of envy or mistrust. One that understands, despite all the blessings beneath our feet, that our greatest strength is above ground, in our people. All Canadians, pulling together, determined to build a better life, a better Canada.
To millions and millions of Canadians, their government has become irrelevant, remote from their daily lives, let alone their hopes and dreams. To them, Ottawa is just a place where people play politics as if it were a game open to a small group, and that appeals to an even smaller one.
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