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Time for a leader we can trust

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Photo by Jean-Marc Carisse.

On May 2, Canadians will go to the polls to choose a new government.

The choice will be a very clear one. Hope vs fear. Optimism vs cynicism. Ideas vs spin. The power of purpose vs the culture of deceit. Openness vs secrecy. Inclusion vs divisiveness. Respect vs contempt. Integrity vs subterfuge.

In his column in this morning’s Toronto Star, Tom Walkom said that Stephen Harper’s contemptuous approach to Parliament is disdain for those who elected him – that’s us.

“There is a bitterness to this prime minister that has infected his entire caucus”, Walkom said. “The contempt motion on which the government fell Friday related specifically to the government’s refusal to tell elected MPs the full cost of its programs. That refusal in itself demonstrates the Conservatives’ profound disdain toward the only democratic national institution we have. Yet it is also part of a pattern. This government is willing to sacrifice Canadian soldiers to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Libya. But it cavalierly dismisses democracy at home.”

Michael Ignatieff and the formidable Liberal team want to build a better Canada. The team is truly a team, not a controlling one-man show. And that team includes former premiers, former cabinet ministers, medical doctors, senior executives, entrepreneurs, social workers, teachers, artists, authors, Rhodes scholars, Canada’s first man in space and a five-time Stanley Cup winner and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. I am proud and profoundly humbled to be part of such an extraordinary group of people.

The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, who has served in the House of Commons for five years, is a remarkable person. Canadians will see that during the next five weeks.

The Financial Times of London has said that Ignatieff is “by any measure an extraordinary Canadian.”

As the Globe and Mail said in its lead editorial this morning: “He is indeed an extraordinary Canadian. He was listed as one of the world’s 100 leading public intellectuals by Foreign Policy magazine. The American philosopher Francis Fukuyama called Mr. Ignatieff’s Lionel Gelber Prize-winning book, Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism, “a marvelous work that shows the diversity, complexity, agonies and horrors of nationalism with greater depth and insight than most, if not all, academic treatises.”

This election – like all elections – is important. We will see two very distinct approaches and two very different visions for Canada. The country will also be asked to render a judgment on the five-year reign of Stephen Harper. 

And the Liberal Party will be proposing a positive and substantive alternative. It shall be grounded in economic realism, compassion, hope, tolerance and respect for Canadians and our democratic institutions. And it will show us how we plan to restore Canada’s rightful place as a respected and valued contributor in a very complex and uncertainworld.

I am looking forward to May 3. I have no doubt that is the day when we can all breathe a collective sign of relief that the days of cynicism and waste will be finally behind us and we can look forward to getting our beloved country back on a better and much more hopeful path.

We as citizens, and Canada, deserve no less.

(22) Comments

bruce scarlett March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

"Time for leadership we can trust" - Boy, you can sat that again!!

Jimmy Snowdon March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

Right on, Mr. Veniez!

claudia johnson March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

The Harper Regime has been one of the worst I've seen - rivalling Mulroney's - in all my 72 years. I urge everyone to vote thois election. We cannot afford even one more day of these destructive people representing us.

Persia March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

Every once in a while and election comes along that offers a very clear and compelling choice to people. This is it. We cannot afford this Harper man and his loyal band of puppets to destroy any more than they already have. Go Harper Go! And that means, in case you didn't understand - LEAVE!!

Bianca Jones March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

My kids are going to be voting for the first time ever in this federal election. They have been watching in disgust how Harper has been pandering for every inch of political advantage. There's no policy. No vision. No principle in that man. They know it. Their friends know it. My husband and I know it. Time for a change.

frank bains March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

I checked out the Globe and Mail editorial that Veniez referenced. It is in yesterday's paper and well worth the read.

SUZY FRANKS March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

I hope this campaign will be a positive on and base on facts, not spin and lies. Already, Mr. Harper has lied about this coalition business. It's a non-issue, but he keeps bringing it up to try to scare us. It won't work this time. Especially since he's the one who first proposed a coalition in 2004 with those dreaded "socialists" and the Bloc Quebecois when he was in opposition. Is a bit of intellectual honest too much to ask of this guy?

Ben Horstein March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

I'm very tired of the politics of confrontation and division that has personified the Harper era. I think that most of us are. It really is time for a change and a breath of fresh air in our national conversation. What we've had fir five years is negative and toxic. Enough!

jeannine Bourdon March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

I have lived in BC for 25 years and I have never seen our politics so divided and personal at the federal level. It is as bad as I have ever seen it. The tone for this has been set by Mr. Harper, an angry and negative guy. No wonder - politics is all he has ever done. We need someone who has actually lived a real life. Ignatieff is clearly that leader for these times.

Murray Allan March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

Is it not time to declare an end to the Harper game of dividing us? That's how he wins - by driving a wedge through Canadians. We need and deserve much better.

Enjoy 24 Sussex while you can there, Mr. Harper. You'll be moving out of there within two months!

Don Sheppard March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

How in the world can ANY government look its citizens with a straight face and declare itself competent when all it has done is lie, flip flop, spend our money to advance their political agenda and thumb its nose at our parliament? 

I will be absolutely shocked if Harper comes close to getting elected again. He's political toast.

joe March 27th 2011 | 11:11 AM

when Canadians focus on how Harper ignored the environment, seniors, health care, aboriginals, and governed in such a wasteful and cynical way, the choice on election day will be a very easy one for all of us.

Cynthia Bergan March 27th 2011 | 12:12 PM

I really don't care what the polls are saying today. I am convinced that Mr. Harper is gone, as of May 3rd, because the mood out here is that we need a much more constructive, collaborative, and positive parliament and government. Harper has had five years to show he can do that and has failed miserably. Time for Ignatieff to give this a try. 

Cynthia Bergan March 27th 2011 | 12:12 PM

I really don't care what the polls are saying today. I am convinced that Mr. Harper is gone, as of May 3rd, because the mood out here is that we need a much more constructive, collaborative, and positive parliament and government. Harper has had five years to show he can do that and has failed miserably. Time for Ignatieff to give this a try. 

Walt Delaney March 27th 2011 | 1:13 PM

From a 78 year old, great article, Dan.  But as I keep hammering away, Ignatieff could break  this election wide open if he renounced Chapter 11 of NAFTA and said he would seek to have it removed or modified and ensured that it would never go into CETA and also to exclude our water and health care from it's provisions.  

AlfredDePew March 27th 2011 | 2:14 PM

Why is Ignatieff so opposed to a coalition? I thought that's what this was all about ... the cooperation of several parties, collaboration, a larger dialogue ....

persia March 27th 2011 | 2:14 PM

Alfred: Any leader - especially one that has the best chance at forming a government and is the only real alternative to Harper - runs to win, not concede defeat before an election even takes place. 

The real question is why people would ever expect if to do that. Makes no sense to me.

more as a possibility of conscious and intentional collaboration. Is there something that needs to change in our thinking? Or in our political structures?

Persia March 28th 2011 | 3:03 AM

Leaders run to win, not to form coalitions. Canada has a very long history of extremely productive minority parliaments. The Harper minorities are the notable exception.

Nick April 2nd 2011 | 2:14 PM

We Need Corporate Law Reform before anything will change in Government. We need to punish corporations severely, when they break the law, and I don't mean a slap on the wrist.
Until this happens, it won't matter who gets into office.

In the meantime, Vote with your dollar!

jj April 22nd 2011 | 10:10 AM

All i have seen is the scandals and the deceipt at the provincial level. A list of infractions includes: $500,000 PRIVATE party for the opening of the skating oval, PM drunk driving charges in Hawaii, criminal selling off of BC assets; patronage appointments and rubbing shoulders in a backroom with unsavory business people. That was headed by who other than Gordon Campbell. 

If Ignatieff runs the country anything like Gordon Campbell ran the province....

The man even stepped down. Better than getting caught I guess.

jj April 22nd 2011 | 10:10 AM

All i have seen is the scandals and the deceipt at the provincial level. A list of infractions includes: $500,000 PRIVATE party for the opening of the skating oval, PM drunk driving charges in Hawaii, criminal selling off of BC assets; patronage appointments and rubbing shoulders in a backroom with unsavory business people. That was headed by who other than Gordon Campbell. 

If Ignatieff runs the country anything like Gordon Campbell ran the province....

The man even stepped down. Better than getting caught I guess.