I have been reflecting on my future in politics for over a year now -- a year of introspection and deep consideration of my role as an elected official and the best way to serve my constituents.
My turbulent departure from the Bloc Québécois on September 13, 2013 was brought on by my opposition to Parti Québécois' Charter of Values proposal. On December 18, I left the Quebec sovereignty movement once and for all, convinced that an identity-based movement would only exclude outsiders who have chosen to build their lives in Quebec. I decided that remaining part of Canada was the best guarantee for political protection of minorities against the demagogical whims of political parties who stoke the fire of intolerance and dismiss individual rights to mobilize the segments of the population most susceptible to buying into the politics of fear.
I also came to believe that the federal system does not impede the distinct nature of the provinces and remains a viable political space, while allowing Quebec to be a significant partner in the federation without hampering its unique identity.
I believe it's time that we move on from those old quarrels.
The next federal election cannot simply come down to voting out the Conservatives. We must choose the federal party whose policies and leadership will build a united Canada that reflects our true values and aspirations. We need a government that will build a better future for all Canadians and Quebecers. I still have the passion to serve, and in the intense world of politics, I want my future work to fall in line with a political family that shares my values and political vision.
The participation of the people of Quebec in the Canadian parliament should strive to make this country more progressive. I am convinced that this ambition is attainable if we join forces with other Canadians who share this vision of a prosperous, safe, and strong country that respects fundamental rights at home and abroad.
For these reasons, I chose the New Democratic Party -- a party of principle with long-held progressive values that correspond to the aspirations of a majority of the people of Quebec. The NDP is a party that advocates open federalism and partnership with the provinces. It is a party that is capable of building the country we all want.
The NDP offers a unique political agenda at the federal level, capable of building bridges between Canadians of different stripes. Tom Mulcair is an experienced politician who provides reassuring, strong, well-respected, and balanced leadership. He knows the issues like the back of his hand. Under his guidance, the NDP has become a formidable Official Opposition. New Democrats have been asking tough questions of Harper's Conservatives and holding them to account on their many scandals.
The NDP's proposals are clear and well-defined. They would clearly allow the provinces more room to maneuver thanks to federal health transfers, among other things. Without a doubt, the NDP's policies would also restore our pride in Canada's image abroad on both the environment and foreign affairs. By implementing a national child care plan and allowing Quebec to withdraw with full compensation, more families across Canada and Quebec will be able to access daycare services at an affordable price. And, when it comes to public safety, I've noticed over the years that the NDP is committed to supporting and developing truly effective measures and policies to protect Canadian families.
This is what the NDP is offering Canadians: a competent, progressive government, committed to reducing inequalities. A government that would work with the provinces to improve public services so that our children may live in a more just and prosperous society. A government that would fight for workers' access to EI benefits when they need them. A government that would help lift our seniors out of poverty, and would support First Nations women in their struggle against violence and abuse.
That's what the NDP stands for, and that's why I chose to join the New Democrat family.
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