Above policy and the particulars of a campaign, there needs to be a theme that can be clearly communicated, an overall message that sets the course for all further discussions. For The Liberal Party of Canada, I think that theme should be “Bridging the Gap”.
As I talk with my friends and neighbours about the state of our country and the challenges we’re facing, I’m becoming more and more aware of a distance between all of us. We’re being encouraged to set ourselves apart as separate demographic groups, or regions, and forget the shared greatness that we have as a country. Rural citizens are being told that Urban voters are against them, taking away their rights and programs that protect them. People living in the northern part of the country feel distant and estranged from their southern counterparts. Quebec is told that the rules are different for them than they are for the other provinces, while some accuse Alberta of bringing harm to Ontario by simply having a prosperous resource economy. All of this divides us against ourselves, and makes it difficult to address the real issues.
Instead of relying on a politics of division and alienation, we need to be the party that brings the different groups back together.
- The partnership between rural and urban citizens is fundamental to our overall success, and the Federal government should work to make sure that the partnership has the infrastructure and support needed to thrive.
- The challenges faced by Northern residents are markedly different, and the Federal government needs to acknowledge those differences with informed policy and collaboration.
- The Federal government must make it very clear that Quebec has a distinct but equal part in the future of Canada, and the rules that apply to them apply equally to all.
- The Federal government should work with Alberta, and any other region that enjoys resource-based prosperity, to ensure that future development meets the paired goals of economic benefit and environmental responsibility.
- And the Federal government must remember the legal and moral obligation Canada has to honour the treaties and rights of the First Nations. As Canadians, we all share the responsibility to uphold the promises that our leaders of past generations gave to the First Nations people. We also have to recognize that, in making good on our promises to the First Nations, we create conditions of prosperity that will benefit not only the First Nations people, but all of Canada.
We are all made stronger by our collective effort, and when the country of Canada is united, we are a nation that can accomplish great things.