An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau from Vote Canada
This letter is from Vote Canada, an independent politics and issues discussion and voting web site. We at Vote Canada are in a position to see things in Canada from a different perspective and we would like to share our thoughts with you and the rest of the country.
Stephen Harper’s Record on Canadian Institutions
First of all, we don’t think you have been attacking Stephen Harper anywhere near hard enough on his record of diminishing and destroying cherished Canadian institutions. Institutions such as the CBC, Census Canada, Canada Post and Via Rail. Bill C-60, from what we understand, gives the government effective control of these organisations. They were made to be arms-length independent for a reason. He has also been systematically under-funding and muzzling government researchers and scientific institutions, particularly if they are saying things that don’t mesh up with Stephen Harper’s view of the world.
These institutions were put together with a great deal of political effort, because they bring Canadians together and significantly differentiate and improve our society. The CBC for example, as a source of trusted information, has no real equivalent in the United States. The information Americans receive is filtered through the imperatives of people such as Robert Murdock. This cannot be good and we don’t want this. Many intelligent Americans are deeply cynical about the information they receive and others are dangerously ignorant or ill-informed.
Canadians don’t want tax cuts, or more precisely, they don’t want tax cuts if it means that government is unable to adequately fund government institutions or honor its responsibilities.
What we really want is well paying jobs. And not just in Toronto or the oil patch. We want good jobs and we really, really want to make sure our children can get good jobs. Our young people are leaving home and in many cases leaving the country to find work. This might not be visible in Ottawa or Toronto, but in many places, like the Maritimes, populations are being hollowed out and left with aging citizenry, dismal prospects and negative population growth.
Of course, governments don’t or shouldn’t actually create jobs, aside from those necessary to deliver programs. What government should do is create the set of conditions such that private citizens can create companies and products and the jobs that follow What you need to do is re-level the playing field so that other sectors of the economy (other then oil for example) can thrive. Oil is an important part of the economy for now, but it should not be allowed to dominate the economy at the expense of other economic activity. Resource extraction is a short term, destructive, skip to the front of the line, way of building an economy that leaves you with nothing when the resource is exhausted. Real economy building is hard, time consuming work and it involves facilitating the tying of capital to good ideas and people and planting them in an economic garden where success is at least possible, if not probable. Anyone contemplating starting a business that makes things in this country knows that if they can design a new product, and they have access to capital, success requires them to have it made in China.
We are now in a situation where years of hard work to ensure appropriate pay, that environmental standards have been set and are being met and that safe working conditions exist, have been cancelled out by business owners sending most of the work to third world countries. We are not just losing out on the jobs on the assembly line, but the jobs necessary to support the assembly line and on and on.
The idea of free trade, while being a good idea in itself, also needs to be balanced with other good ideas. Ideas like, protect your industries so that they can survive in Canada and eventually be strong enough to compete in the world market.
Part of being a good leader is to be able to hold in your head two seemingly opposing good ideas and find a way to seek the benefit of both in a balanced sensible way. Slavish adherence to one idea, at the exclusion of others, always leads to disaster.
We can’t understand why our federal government doesn’t seem to be doing anything about global warming and climate change. We want and need to hear something like… “We are going to be at 20% of current emissions in 10 years and this is how we are going to do it.” We want to see a national carbon tax and we want to know how the proceeds of this tax will be spent. We don’t want the provinces being forced to do this one at a time. We want everyone to be together on this. We also want our government to be seen as being on the lead on this issue on the world stage. We see ourselves as being eco-friendly and the current situation does not sit well with us. Stephen Harper, we assume, is hobbled by the needs of his friends in the oil patch. You’re not, or at least, we hope you’re not.
Canadian’s also want to be able to do things to help as individuals. We think the federal government should bully the power companies, and the provinces that own them, into allowing interconnection into the electrical grid down to the household level. This would support individual investment in alternative energy sources, such as solar, which is now starting to make a lot of financial sense. At first, any power that is pumped back into the grid should be subtracted from power bills at the purchase price. As the contribution of this type of power grows to be more significant, a charge can be added to support the grid. We imagine a Canada where most of the houses have solar panels on the roof.
We would also like to see a massive strengthening of the national park system. Vote Canada thinks that we should introduce a whole new concept in parks. A park that is half-way to a traditional national or provincial park. In this kind of park, when you create it, you don’t throw the people out who live there. Instead, a half park, would be a place where further development is more strictly regulated. This kind of park, because it enhances where people live, would be be better welcomed, cheaper to implement and would allow us to protect much more of the environment and as a result, the animals and plants that live there.
French and English in Federal (and Provincial) Jobs
Having lived in Quebec and New Brunswick, we feel that we understand the appeal and the need for bilingualism in the civil service as well as anyone. We at Vote Canada are usually the ones defending access to bilingual services but even we can recognize the fundamentally damaging situation that we are now in. In essence, only Canadians from a French linguistic background can get jobs in the federal (and in the case of New Brunswick) provincial civil service.
Justin, listen to us, this issue is slowly simmering and it might not break out into open flame, but it is damaging the relationships between English (anglophones) and French (francophones) through-out the country. This is unfortunate because there is a much better way to do it. – Hire people based upon their qualifications.- If they are going to be working in an environment that requires the other language to function appropriately, give them access to language instruction and a period of time to achieve an appropriate level of competence. If an employee is willing to embrace the learning of a second language, then the government should support them. A blanket, everyone needs to be bilingual, is just plain unfair.
Justin, we must do everything we can do to help our aboriginal people to be successful (in every sense of the word) within Canada. The situation is black-mark on us and everything that Canadians believe in. We should take our lead from aboriginal people and we must be (and be seen to be) doing everything we can. Start with supporting a commission to investigate the disappearance and murder of aboriginal women.
Any part of this bill that removes or alters fundamental Canadian rights should be removed and you should state this. Canadians do not want the issue of terrorism to be the lever by which government reduces our rights. The state already has enough power and the trappings of power including police forces, the military and security services, to adequately protect us.
You may be saying the kind of things we are talking about in this letter, but we are listening, and we’re not hearing it.
We wish you the best of luck in the coming election.
The Chief eElectoral Officer and Vote Canada team
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b) I think Vote Canada captures some of what I want to hear in this letter to Justin Trudeau. And this what you’re missing –> See comments section below.
c) I think that Vote Canada is completely missing the point in this letter to Justin Trudeau. This is why –> See the comments section below.
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