Danny Williams: a better course for Canada as easy as A-B-C

Posted: October 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

In case you missed it, here’s an open letter from Premier Danny Williams (Newfoundland and Labrador) that has been making the rounds since he issued it, Oct. 1. In it he quotes Stephen Harper as declaring: “There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept.” Hmmm. This reminds me of the time Brian Mulroney referred to social programs as a “sacred trust.” Surely this is a coincidence. 🙂

Better course for Canada: First step as easy as A-B-C

Wed. Oct 1 – 6:19 AM

We are quickly approaching the finish line of one of the most important federal election campaigns in the history of Canada. The shape our country takes in the years ahead will be determined by the choice we make right now.

Today, I encourage all Canadians to carefully and deliberately consider who best reflects your core values and ideals, as a leader in this great federation. My place is not to say whom you should vote for; that is clearly your own personal democratic choice. I simply offer my most sincere and honest opinion on voting in this federal election. I am not going to weigh the pros and cons of the various campaign platforms. Every party in every campaign raises ideas that we may agree with strongly or moderately or not at all.

But at the end of the day, it is not ideas that get elected. It is people who get elected. And sometimes, the people who get elected abandon the key ideas that got them into office in the first place. More important than the ideas people espouse is the character of the people espousing them.

And all too often, a broken promise betrays a broken character.

In this campaign, as we decide the future direction of our country, we are called upon to be judges – not of words or of looks, but of character.

During the last two federal election campaigns, Stephen Harper came to my province and made an important promise worth billions of dollars. It was a promise that not everyone agreed with; and clearly Stephen Harper wished that he had never made it. Regardless, it was without question a promise. And he made this promise repeatedly, in writing to me and in campaign literature to voters. It was official Conservative Party of Canada policy – vetted and approved by the leader himself.

In fact, in the very campaign brochure in which he stated this promise, he demonstrated how serious he was about keeping it by quoting a famous Gaelic proverb, which says: “There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept.” How very ironic those words turned out to be when he betrayed his word and broke his promise.

I am not asking my fellow Canadians to work with me to keep the prime minister to this particular promise. That is my battle and, frankly, it is no longer about the promise for I now know it will never be fulfilled. But I feel it is my duty as a leader in this country to caution voters against this man whose promises are so meaningless. Many question my motivation; some even question my right to speak out. But I can assure you that my motivation is genuine concern for my country. And my right to express my concern is what democracy is all about. I am simply standing up for my province as the people of Newfoundland and Labrador elected me to do.

Trust, integrity and dependability: Those are words that absolutely must apply to our country’s leader. The people of Canada deserve no less.

But can those words  – trust, integrity, dependability – be applied to a man who makes promises only to secure votes, then throws his promises to the wind? A man who cuts funding to the programs and sectors that are the core of our society – the arts and culture, students, women, other minority groups? A man whose own party was built on a broken promise? A man who implements fixed election date legislation, then carelessly and with great indifference casts it aside when it suits him? A man who has yet to share with us his vision for rural Canada?

Stephen Harper’s agenda is reflected very clearly in his own words: building a firewall around Alberta; bemoaning the Atlantic Canadian “culture of defeat;” comparing immigrants to people who live in ghettos; opposing monies for child poverty and social spending; telling Americans that Canada is a Northern European welfare state. These are his words. These reflect the true ideology of the man. Let’s not give him the majority he craves to implement this agenda. Let’s keep his power in check.

Putting Canada on a better course for a brighter future is a mission that all of us share. And the first step is as easy as A-B-C.

Anything But Conservative.

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