“Canadians have spoken. You want a government with a vision and an agenda for this country that is positive and ambitious and hopeful. I promise you that I will lead that government.”
First and foremost, The Liberal Party of Canada is an association of members who share certain principles in common including:
- The pursuit of equality of opportunity for all persons;
- The enhancement of our unique and diverse culture;
- A dedication to financially responsible, environmentally sustainable and socially responsive government;
- The support of social and economic prosperity of all Canadians;
- Devotion to the value of individual responsibility and human dignity in the framework of political freedom and the rule of law;
- The commitment to ensure that there exists a fully informed electorate;
- The commitment to open and public discussion for all citizens regardless of background or economic status in the development and assessment of government services;
- The preservation of the Canadian identity in a global society;
- The valuing of equal participation of men and women at all levels of society;
- An appreciation that each region makes a contribution to the prosperity and welfare of the whole country.
In short, to be a Liberal in 2015 in Canada is to be committed to the view that the dignity of each individual man and woman is the cardinal principle of a democratic society and the primary purpose of all political activity.
It is out of these principles that policies are shaped. Too often of late, it is common to hear uncertainty about the Liberal position on specific items such as taxation, foreign policy, federal-provincial relations, bank policies, interest rates, the precarious and pervasive need for balance between debt reduction and economic growth and unemployment to be specific. Liberals must be able to explain our policy views and how they relate to principles. That is, we must be able to take Harper’s trade agreement with Europe and explain Liberal policy perspective in light of our principles. We must be prepared to present Liberal thinking in succinct, articulate ways and put that forward for national consideration. Liberals must be prepared to connect policy to principles over and over again and we must begin to do so today.
What do Liberals Stand For?
It will be essential that over the course of the next three years, that the local Association accepts collective responsibility for sharing often and broadly the current issues that Liberals are prepared to take a stand on. There are certainly issues and concerns of a national nature that all Canadians including most certainly those of Leeds and Grenville, that must be discussed, that must be debated, and that must be addressed locally too. One such clear example is the Alberta-British Columbia pipeline project currently being debated.
Having said that, it is equally important that a particular, local, personal Leeds and Grenville perspective on these stances be the lens through which the idea is discussed and debated. If indeed, current political discourse is too bland, too generic, too unprincipled and generally too divorced from the personal reality of its constituents than this strategic plan intends to set that right.
The ideas that follow under the sub-title of What do Liberals Stand For? must be brought home, made personal and local if the constituents of Leeds and Grenville are to endorse these ideas as their own. To illustrate how this can be accomplished each of the following issues is reflected upon with respect to how this principle resonates locally.
It is not the goal of this strategic plan to provide definitive thinking on these ideas; rather, it is the intent to provide preliminary thinking to be expanded through regular and persistent dialogue around these ideas. It will be the culmination of this dialogue and how it has been undertaken that will count most in the next Federal election campaign.
Liberals stand for equality of opportunity.
The Liberal Party of Canada believes that when individuals and families are given the opportunity to succeed, the economy grows and Canadians become stronger. That’s why equality of opportunity is a fundamental Liberal principle.
Liberals stand for true fiscal responsibility.
Turning deficits into surplus; growing our economy; creating good jobs across the country these are Liberal priorities. The very good news is that the Liberal Party of Canada understands this work because we have done it. During difficult economic times, only the Liberal Party of Canada has a proven track record of competent, accountable and successful economic management. The Conservatives have turned a $13-billion Liberal surplus into the biggest deficit in Canadian history and this was before the global economic crunch.
It is clear that Liberal principles made the difference. In contrast, the Conservatives have based their policies on an illusory Conservation economic view that has, quite frankly, never worked. Economic problems are simple, the solutions are complex. Rarely in life or in politics are sound decisions made if it is unclear what principles one stands for. This is the Liberal strength; may it also be that of the economists writing our current policies. We must be prepared to ensure that this is so.
Liberals stand for a clean environment.
The Liberal Party of Canada believes in the inter-connectedness of environmental and energy concerns and solutions. And we are committed to building a clean energy economy. In less than a decade, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have undone 50 years of environmental protection in Canada. They have muzzled government scientists, bullied environmental groups, reduced environmental budgets and hijacked international progress in the fight against climate change and the rest of the world now knows it.
Liberals stand for affordable access to post-secondary education.
The Liberal Party of Canada believes firmly that all Canadians deserve affordable access to education.
Liberals stand for sustainable universal public health care.
Liberals believe that all Canadians deserve the same level of high quality and timely health care provided by an efficient, accountable, and sustainable public health system.
Liberals stand for open, fair and strong democratic representation.
The Liberal Party of Canada believes that Parliament should belong to the people instead of the Prime Minister. Liberals are committed to exploring Parliamentary and Electoral reform in order to realign our institutions with democratic principles and to ensure more meaningful and effective representation.
Liberals stand for an evidence-based crime policy.
The Liberal Party of Canada believes in a smart on crime approach, targeting real criminals instead of our youth, to keep our communities safe. Liberals understand the need to consider ending the prohibition of marijuana and addressing the root causes of crime to see real results.
Liberals stand for Peace.
Liberals stand for a foreign policy that repudiates war in favour of peacemaking as spelled out in the Charter of the United Nations which emphasizes resolving international disputes through negotiation and peace keeping.