11/14/2012 08:22 EST | Updated 01/14/2013 05:12 EST

One Canada for All Canadians


To mark the official start of the federal Liberal leadership race, The Huffington Post Canada asked all the declared candidate to tell us, in their words, why they decided to run. Deborah Coyne, a lawyer and former professor, announced her bid for the Liberal leadership on June 27, 2012."

A couple of years ago, the brilliant political satirists, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pinpointed the polarization and utter irrelevance of today's politics in the U.S. with their Rally for Sanity in Washington, DC. It is a sentiment shared by most Canadians, but it should not just be comedians giving voice to our collective frustration.

The fact is there are too many Canadians on the sidelines today. We're disconnected from one another, in a Canada that is more and more just a fragmented collection of provinces and territories.

Canada is becoming a nation in name only. Canadians are disengaging from national politics and a political process that too many of us see as irrelevant and outdated. We are tired of the polarized politics and the winner-take-all mentality of the left and the right.

And just when we need more than ever to renew our sense of national purpose, pull together to overcome economic uncertainty, and repair the broken social contract, our federal government is increasingly shrinking from the mantle of leadership.

We have a Conservative prime minister who is steadily and systematically weakening the national government and our nation. From health care, to science, to the environment, to infrastructure, we are now dangerously close to a tipping point -- beyond which the unprecedented degree of national disengagement could become irreversible.

Just when we need more than ever to strengthen the mutual sense of fairness and respect that's essential to building a prosperous future together, our federal government tells us to look elsewhere for answers to the challenges we face.

Ottawa is the only government that's elected by, and answers to, ALL Canadians. Our national government has a unique mandate to act in the national interest and to inspire us to work together as Canadians.

We need a national government that stops wasting our time with pandering and pettiness, and delivers real results for the Canadian people. We need a national government that will sit in the same room with the other levels of government and take the lead in working collectively to strengthen Canada.

Canadians urgently need the Liberal Party to step up to the plate, and provide the bold national leadership so glaringly absent today. All my life I have believed in a strong Canada, strong national purpose, strong national leadership -- to inspire us to work together and to build a better country and a better world.

It's an ambitious vision, but I have never been one to back away from a challenge. I have seen first-hand the power Canadians can have when we come together for One Canada.

What does this One Canada look like? It's a Canada where we can access the same quality of health care in St. John's as we can in Toronto. Where our abundant natural resources are developed sustainably based on the highest scientific and environmental standards, and we eliminate the critical infrastructure deficit in our towns and cities. Where skilled citizens can go where the jobs are and take their certifications with them, and where everyone who needs it can get the transitional support and training to help them find new work.

We are privileged to live in freedom in one of the greatest countries in the world. But with that privilege comes great responsibility. A responsibility we must all share. We must look over the horizon, and build a country much bigger than the sum of its parts.

It is time for all Canadians to get off the sidelines. Democracy will not work if you sit back and let things happen. Complacency is dangerous.

Join me in building a better Canada. One Canada, for all Canadians.

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