THE BLOG

It's Time to Engage Citizens in our Democracy Again

05/18/2014 09:15 EDT | Updated 07/18/2014 05:59 EDT

I believe in One Canada for all Canadians. I believe we can and must do politics differently by engaging citizens in our democracy. We all need to work together to build our great country. No one should feel left behind. That's why I'm seeking the Liberal Party of Canada nomination in Ottawa West-Nepean. That's why I want to join Justin Trudeau's team. And I am happy to announce that I have now been "green lit" as an official contestant for that riding.

Ottawa West-Nepean needs a new voice in Parliament. A strong, clear voice that will speak up for our community and our country. I want to be that voice.

To run as the Liberal candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean means coming home for me, back to the great city of Ottawa where I was born and raised, and where I have lived and worked over the years. I intend to campaign hard to earn the trust and support of the constituents of Ottawa West-Nepean. If elected, it will be my honour to serve and represent the constituents of this wonderful community in Parliament.

We desperately need bold national leadership that works in collaboration with the municipal and provincial governments to assure the infrastructure funding required to clean up the Ottawa River, to implement long-overdue and much-needed transit projects, to establish national standards in health care, and to support public sector scientific research and libraries.

We need new leadership in government that sees the public service for what it is, not an enemy but an indispensible source of expert, independent policy advice and the vital lifeblood behind the services provided to Canadians every day. Mr. Harper's goal of shrinking the public service for ideological ends is unacceptable.

Everywhere I go in Ottawa West-Nepean people tell me that the Conservative government is well past its best-before date. Eight years of Mr. Harper's diminished, unambitious Canada and governing out of the Prime Minister's Office have made us less confident of the future, sitting on the sidelines disconnected and divided from one another.

Eight years of local representation by John Baird and Pierre Polievre following prime ministerial dictates has done little positive for our community, or for the people of Canada. In Ottawa, the lack of firm federal leadership and coordinated inter-governmental funding has, in particular, seriously set back both the City-Wide Rapid Transit Network and the Ottawa River Action Plan, including the Combined Sewer Storage Tunnel.

As the representative of Ottawa West-Nepean, I will fight for Ottawa and for bold national leadership, for politics in which ideas and principles trump pandering and parochialism, for a Parliament that is more open, more inclusive, and more democratic. We must demand more from our politicians and from ourselves. We must demand better.

The greatest threat to Stephen Harper's government is the growing number of engaged citizens, rallying behind a leader with a positive message that:

• speaks to our hopes and aspirations;

• reminds us of our responsibilities to one another in building a great country;

• inspires us to ask as much of ourselves as we ask of our governments.

This is the positive message that Justin Trudeau conveys so successfully, a message that is rallying Canadians to the Liberal banner with a hopeful vision of Canada. We want to have confidence again in our government, in our country, in our future. We want politics that reflect principle, purpose and reasonable compromise at all times.

Canadians increasingly see the Liberal Party as best able to restore our badly-battered democracy and return power to Parliament and the people. The party best able to deliver concrete, transformative change within government so that we strengthen the long-term foundations for sustainable, inclusive economic growth. The party best able to help Canadians build an economy in which the competition for jobs and investment is won by a race to the top, not the bottom.

This is not a time to stay on the sidelines. It will take all of us rolling up our sleeves and getting personally involved if we are going to turn back the tide of cynicism engulfing our politics.

If we believe that a different kind of politics - a more positive, collaborative approach - is not only possible, but essential, then we should stand with Justin Trudeau. I stand with Justin because his fight is my fight. His fight is our fight.

I am confident that in 2015, when Canadians consider which political party will provide the critical leadership we need as a nation, the answer will be clear: the Liberal Party of Canada.

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