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Is Business as Usual Good Enough for Liberals?

04/11/2013 05:10 EDT | Updated 06/11/2013 05:12 EDT
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TORONTO, ON - APRIL 6: Joyce Murray addresses the crowd at the federal Liberal showcase at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Six candidates are running for leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and thousands of Canadians have already cast their vote. Are you still deciding?

Liberals now have a clear choice between two distinct leadership options.

One is a comfortable, business-as-usual approach: a media favourite, a charismatic new leader who will work hard to attract fresh new faces and talent and perhaps even new ideas to the party. Someone who will reach out to Canadians and try to fill them with a sense of hope that the party is once again on the ascent.

This is the strategy that the Liberal Party is used to, but one which hasn't worked for us in many elections. Perhaps this time it will succeed where the others have failed.

This is the risk our party now faces.

If a new face for the Liberal Party isn't enough change for Canadians, or if Conservative attack ads prove as effective as they were in the past, then Stephen Harper will win and stay in power until 2019.

That's six more years of muzzling scientists and dismantling environmental protections, six more years of excluding First Nations and ripping up the social contract, six more years of cronyism and incompetence and blackening Canada's name on the world stage. Six non-retrievable years of a broken democracy.

My question to you is: can we afford to take that risk?

The second approach, personified by Joyce Murray is to give Canadians a substantive vision for Canada as a modern, prosperous and healthy nation with a sustainable economy, environment and democracy - a Sustainable Society, bolstered by an insurance policy to make sure we get there in 2015.

Joyce will also be a new face for the party, the first woman leader in its history. And she is already bringing new ideas and talent to the Party, with the connection of her policies to voters - motivated constituencies that will grow into a broad Liberal movement, as well as her experience in government, in business and in life.

But Joyce is also offering something extra. Joyce is saying: business-as-usual isn't good enough. We need a new plan to win.

In close to 60 ridings, Conservatives won with less than half the vote, and in many newly-created ridings, they are predicted to do the same. These seats are enough to deliver Stephen Harper to power in 2015, and only Joyce has a plan to stop him.

Under Joyce's plan, Liberals would elect strong candidates in all 338 ridings across the country. In most of those ridings, we would fight to win every vote. But in those key ridings - only where it makes sense to local Liberals - we would hold a pre-election primary with the NDP and the Green Party, so that only the most popular progressive candidate ends up on the ballot.

In most of those ridings, the Liberal will be the strongest choice to beat the Conservative.

Strategic progressive cooperation on a one-time basis will defeat conservative MPs, elect more Liberal MPs, defeat Stephen Harper, and allow for democratic reform in the next Parliament, changing politics in Canada.

If you agree that six more years of Stephen Harper is a risk we cannot take, and if you're ready for real change, cast your vote for the sure option. Cast your vote for Joyce.

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