Ralph Goodale's Weekly email...
Why a Liberal alternative is good for Canada:
A READY ALTERNATIVE WORTH VOTING FOR!
The Official Opposition in our Parliamentary system has a constitutional obligation to be the government’s principal watchdog and critic – asking the toughest questions on every topic, constantly challenging the government’s record.
A Parliamentary democracy is, by definition, adversarial. That’s how accountability is achieved. So, almost every day, the Opposition finds itself taking the negative side of every debate.
But that’s only half the job. The other half is generating constructive ideas to form the policy agenda of an alternative government. As 2009 winds down, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals have been focusing more and more on this positive side of being the Official Opposition.
For example, from early childhood development through skills training and access to post-secondary education, we’re working on a package of ideas to make Canadians the most educated and competitive people in the world.
On another front, we have proposed legislation to move this country toward pay equity between women and men. Liberals believe it’s wrong for women to be paid 30 to 40 percent less than their male counterparts. We believe fixing this discrimination is a matter of human rights.
For rural Canada, a new Liberal agenda is emerging, including a guarantee of rural postal services. Under the Conservatives since 2006, these services have markedly deteriorated. Liberals would stop the decay by putting a moratorium on the closure of rural post offices.
The Liberal Opposition has also been leading a campaign to safeguard Canadian pensions. The government promised to make this a priority nearly a year ago, but they’ve done nothing so far and seem extremely reluctant to tackle this challenge.
Liberals have advanced proposals for supplementing the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), for salvaging stranded private pensions, and for assigning higher priority to disability benefits in bankruptcy situations.
At least this is a start in the right direction!