Since elections is on everybody’s mind today and I’m trying not to panic watching the results roll in, I thought I’d share with you this speech given by Glen Pearson, a Liberal MP who is highly respected at Parliament Hill by all parties.
I Want My Canada Back
I’ve travelled around the world and I’ve seen how our image is failing. I want the Canada back that used to lead the world in endeavors of peace and innovation, of multiculturalism and environmental leadership.
I want the kind of Canada that would permit a person with a bit of a lisp – Lester Pearson – to go out and fight for peace around the world, win a Nobel Peace Prize, and be elected prime minister. That’s the kind of Canada I want. Not the kind that takes a good and decent Leader of the Opposition and attacks him with negative advertising for two solid years in an attempt to convince people he’s not fit for the job of prime minister.
I want the kind of Canada that visualizes students as our ambassadors around the world, in humanitarian, business enterprise, and human rights activities – those practices which permit the world to understand what a fair and equitable place Canada is.
I want the kind of Canada where we put the word “equality” in the charter of the Status of Women. We’ve now lost that. I want the kind of country that puts that word in there and enshrines it. It took decades of struggle to get it and it’s not acceptable that we’ve taken it out.
I want the kind of Canada that says “no” to imprisoning 14-year olds for life and doesn’t condone the imprisonment of teenaged Canadians in overseas jails.
I want the kind of Canada that brings aboriginal Canadians to their full and equal status in the mainstream of Canadian life, as we did with the Kelowna Accord. This present government cut it and I want it back.
I want a Canada that accepts labor unions and understands their importance to the fabric of society, rather than continuing to attempt to defray them.
I want a Canada that will sign the Kyoto agreement and actually implement it, instead of turning our back on the international commitments we’ve made.
I want the kind of Canada we used to have, before we gave ourselves over to the politics of division and regionalism, pitting one group against another. I’ve had enough of that.
I want a national early learning and childcare program that lifts women and children out of poverty and in the process lifts our nation out of moral depravity. The present government cut it and I want it back.
I want the Canada back that I believed in when I was a student, and which we had up until a few short years ago. I’m still a student of this remarkable social and economic triumph called “Canada” and I will learn from it until my dying breath. I am now a member of parliament, one of only 300 or so in this great nation. It is my job to protect this country’s past by bringing it into an enlightened and progressive future – a Liberal future. I will expend every effort to bring it about.
For the sake of my children, my wife, and everyone in this place, my pursuit of a great Canada will be my primary thought in the coming years. I want my Canada back so that I – and we – will leave a proper legacy of peace, environmental stewardship and prosperity to the world. I want my Canada back. The world wants that Canada back. Let’s achieve that end with everything that’s great and noble in each of us.