And I have met, talked with, and learned from more Canadians in the past six months than Mr Harper has in the past six years.
I have been open to Canadians my entire life. And because of that, I have a strong sense of this country. Where it has been, where it is, and where Canadians want it to go.
And what is it with Conservative attacks on teachers? They’ve never met a teacher they wouldn’t pick a fight with. I am fiercely proud to be one of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who belong to the teaching profession. And let me tell you this, my friends, this teacher fully intends to fight back.
In closing, I want to share a story with you.
Many of you know that today marks an anniversary. Exactly forty-five years ago tonight, a gathering of Canadians made my father Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Many Canadians have approached me over the course of this campaign to share stories about my dad. So let me tell you a special one.
I met Constable Jeff Ling at Loyalist College in Belleville. It was at the end of a long morning. Constable Ling came up to the front of the room to give me a gift. I recognized it instantly. It was a picture of dad and me. You’ve probably seen it. I was about 2 years old and dad was hurrying up to Rideau Hall, with me tucked roughly under his arm.
Both Dad and I are looking at an RCMP officer. He’s dressed in full uniform and saluting us crisply.
That picture means as much to Jeff as it does to me. Because that officer was his father.
What moved me was that here Jeff was, serving his country a generation later, with the same dedication and quiet pride as his father. In that moment, he evoked the thousands of Canadians I had the unique honour of growing up with. Men and women for whom service to Canada was its own reward.
I know there are those who say this movement we’re building is all about nostalgia. That it’s not really about me, or you, or Canada. Let’s face it: they say that it’s about my father.
Well, to them I say this:
It is. It is about my Dad. And Constable Ling’s dad. And our mothers. And yours. It’s about all of our parents and the legacy they left us. The country they built for us. Canada.
But we know now what they knew then. It’s more about the future than the past. It is always, in every instance, about our children more than our parents’ legacy.
That with hope and hard work, we can make progress happen. That we can leave a better country to our kids than we inherited from our parents.
Progress. That is the core value of the Liberal Party. That is why generations of Canadians, from every corner of our land, and every walk of life, poured their heart and their soul and their ideas and their sweat into our Party.
I said back in October that the Liberal Party didn’t create Canada. Canada created the Liberal Party. Well, the last six months have taught me that maybe, just maybe, Canadians are willing to do that again.
We can lead the change that so many Canadians want to make happen.
I’m asking you for your time, for your smarts, for your hope, and your hard work.
And this week, I’m asking for your vote to become the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Join me, join us, and our work will make us proud. Believe, now and always, in our country.