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Change the Government if You Want to Thank Veterans for Their Service

09/28/2015 12:34 EDT | Updated 09/28/2016 05:12 EDT
Andrew Burton via Getty Images
OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 23: A flag next to the Canadian Parliament Building is flown at half staff one day after Cpl. Nathan Cirillo of the Canadian Army Reserves was killed while standing guard in front of the National War Memorial by a lone gunman, on October 23, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada. After killing Cirillo the gunman stormed the main parliament building, terrorizing the public and politicians, before he was shot dead. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Over the years countless people have taken the time to thank me for my service. I am humbled by those that have acknowledged my service to this country, but it would not have been possible without the help of the union worker -- the person who manufactures the vehicles, equipment and tools a soldier needs to do his job. Deployed soldiers depend on these men and women, so it is my turn to thank you.

Just as the soldier needs the union worker, the soldier need the farmer. We cannot eat unless the farmer grows the wheat and raises the livestock. That is the nature of the business. That is why it troubles me that the Conservatives have put Canada's supply management on the table in trade talks -- and now we see some Liberals openly opposing our supply managed sectors.

Canada's supply managed sectors provide clear benefits to Canadians and should not be compromised in trade talks or otherwise. Supply management in Canada's dairy, poultry and egg industries is a tested system for efficient delivery of safe, local food to Canadians.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Europe shows that the Conservative government has already forsaken supply management, and all the details in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are not yet known. We need to know if the current government bargained away supply management in that deal as well.

This government has shown they are no friend to the farmer with the abolition of the Canadian Wheat Board and bartering away supply management in free-trade agreements. Add the farmer to the list of the Canadian populace under attack.

Canadians -- like the unions, post office, our health care system, the scientific community, our environment, indigenous women, the manufacturing sector, the CBC, our pensions and the veterans -- are all under attack. Our veterans! Ladies and gentleman, brothers and sisters, fellow Canadians: I stand before you imploring you that if our veterans are not safe from this government, then who is?

Stephen Harper is building the coalition that is eventually going to take his own government down. Under Harper, Ottawa has become increasingly opaque, inaccessible and unaccountable.

The systematic destruction of Canadian values by the Conservative government has made this country unrecognizable. I believe we can bring back the Canada we used to know. Canadian traditions and Canadian ideals must prevail in the upcoming election.

We as Canadians are at a crossroad, and your votes will determine whether or not the sacrifices made by this generation and every generation before it were wasted on Stephen Harper and the Conservative agenda. Do not allow Canada to continue on its current path. I dare say I do not recognize the country I went to fight for. The ideals that I held to be true when I went to war are no longer a reality. Because a nation based on greed will not survive morally, economically, or politically.

What greater expression of confidence can one make to their country, and what greater form of loyalty is there than having the confidence that Canada is not yet complete, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake Canada from coast to coast to coast, and to thoroughly align with our highest ideals?

It's the idea held by generations of Canadians who believed that there is a constant work in progress, who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional interruption, and the readiness to speak out for what's right.

This is work for all Canadians, and not just some. Not just union worker. Not just the farmer.

Everyone in this country needs to recognize that change depends on our collective actions, our attitudes and a consensus can be built. We cannot fear the future; we must grab for it.

For the first time in history, young Canadians will be the first generation to not be better off than their parents. Canada needs to bear witness to the current trials and tribulations of Essex County. Unless we do something about it now, I believe our struggles to be merely a precursor to what is soon to be a sad reality for the entire nation.

I truly believe that the NDP represents the change that this area needs. We must dig deep in these last days of the election and strive to get the NDP to Ottawa. If you really want to thank me for my service, change this government.

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