Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Magic of Justin

Ralph Goodale on the JT victory.

A commentary by the Member of Parliament for Wascana

Special Edition: Sunday, April 14th, 2013


Justin Trudeau has just been elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

The process to select him attracted the democratic participation of more Canadians than any political party ever has. But bigger challenges lie ahead, like earning the trust of millions of voters and motivating them to get to the polls in a general election in 2015. How will that be done?

As a starting point, Justin has tapped into Canadians' deep desire for something better in our politics, something to vote FOR, rather than never-ending abuse telling you what to vote AGAINST.

Over the past seven years, a great many people have grown weary of perpetual campaigning, instead of governing. They’re tired of ugly, scorched-earth partisanship and political polarization driving wedges of fear, greed, envy, anger and hate.

Most Canadians are searching for something more hopeful -- and that's where Justin stands out.

He has a special ability to rally people around a happier vision of what this country has the potential to achieve. Perhaps his most telling criticism of the Harper regime is that they’re so unambitious – their goals for Canada are so mediocre. And this country deserves better.

But inspiration is only part of what's needed. The other part is perspiration -- i.e., plain hard work. And much of that work has to be done, not in the rarefied political bubble that envelops Parliament Hill, but instead, in the town halls and church basements and community centres across Main Street Canada, right where Canadians really live, far from Ottawa's madding crowd.

In authentic places like these, as Justin said recently, he has met and learned from more Canadians over the past six months than Stephen Harper has allowed near him in the past six years. And those encounters have shaped Justin's priorities.

Job #1 is bolstering the well-being of the middle-class and all those who are working hard to join them. That includes a relentless focus on higher education, advanced skills, scientific research and the deployment of new technology. It includes expanding trade, especially with emerging economies, and attracting investment on terms that create good-paying Canadian jobs.

With respect to Canada's rich natural resources, Justin has called for a smart marriage between sound economic policy and sound environmental policy. The two are inextricably connected. The economy, he says, is just too important to ignore the environment. And he makes this critical point -- no federal politician should try to use western resources to buy eastern votes.

Building a more prosperous, inclusive, fair and decent Canada also involves strengthening our democracy. In Parliament, that means less power in the hands of Party bosses, and more authority and responsibility in the hands of individual MPs.

MPs must be the voice of their constituents in Ottawa and not just mouthpieces in their ridings for an all-controlling Prime Minister. That’s the kind of democracy that Justin wants to nourish.

-- Post From My iPhone

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