Column: Inspired for the coming year by what Canada could be
January 18th, 2018 - 1:23pm
The new year, 2018 has dawned, we can already feel the days getting slightly longer, and everywhere people are showing signs of busy industry as they shake off the Christmas holidays and start planning for meeting the resolutions made on New Year’s Day.
It is no different for me, as I reflect on the amazing 2017 year we had together and look forward to continuing my work on your behalf in Parliament when it resumes later this month.
Being in the Opposition benches in the House of Commons is not an easy task, but I take heart because I am often reminded of the words of the late Jack Layton, who said that our job was not just to oppose, but to propose as well. Our new leader, Jagmeet Singh, added to this recently when he told our caucus that we should be guided by the principles of opposition, proposition, and inspiration.
Cynicism abounds in politics; we have too often been led down the garden path with promises that are not worth the paper they’re printed on. New propositions are often treated with increasing amounts of scepticism as a result. And when our national headlines are dominated by stories of questionable ministerial ethics, the increasing use of tax havens and tax evasion, the growing divide between the rich and poor, and the wholly inadequate measures to tackle our carbon emissions and resulting climate change, it can get really hard to be inspired. I know because it wears on me too.
So what inspires me, and how do I keep this burning brightly for others in the face of so much negativity and cynicism? How do we maintain optimism when we live in a country where on Jan. 1, the average top-earning CEO in Canada earned, in less than one work day, what the average worker makes in an entire year?
Well, I am constantly inspired by a vision of what Canada could be if we were to really address these issues with concrete policies and have the courage to actually implement them. That’s why I want to make 2018 a year when I continue to work with my colleagues to change the national conversation on taxes so that we understand fully what kind of social investment we are losing out on when the wealthy and large corporations don’t pay their fair share. I want people to understand how it impacts us all when bankruptcy proceedings of large corporations fail to address pension commitments and why these need strong federal legislative protection. We have an opportunity to save billions of dollars for Canadians in prescription drug costs with the implementation of a national pharmacare plan. Canada can commit to a fossil fuel free future and realize the economic opportunities in clean energy production. These are but a few of the examples of how I’d like to honour my commitment to proposition and inspiration this year.
A fairer, greener, and more inclusive Canada is possible, and I look forward to working, with your help, to achieve it. I wish all the best to you, your family, and friends this 2018 year.
Published January 18, 2018 in the Cowichan Valley Citizen