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    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Canada votes today

    Stardate 5208.3

    Today marks the day that our government will likely change hands. Not probably, but most likely. However, everyone has a chance, one chance to help change that outcome. I support the Liberals, but just because you don't doesn't mean you have to vote for the Tories. The NDP and Greens have excellent platforms, and in my opinion, any vote for a progressive party is a good thing. I will leave the thinking up to you, the reader today, and maybe bend your ear only with this letter written by hockey legend, Ken Dryden, that has been floatign around for a few days now. it is very good food for thought however, and well worth the quick read.

    >>> “Ken Dryden” 01/19/06 1:33 PM >>>

    Dear York Centre Voters,

    It’s just a few days before the election. I’m anxious; on edge. Polls aren’t votes. On Monday, we can all still vote any way we want, but somehow it doesn’t seem that way. For days, I’ve been trying to think of what else to say, how else to put it, to all those people who I know still don’t feel all that comfortable themselves.

    It’s time for a change. It’s on election signs, in ads, in the media. It’s in people’s conversations. Said so easily, as if what more could one say.

    But that’s too easy.

    Why is it time for a change? All the noise and nastiness, charge and countercharge, in this 20-month campaign, it can seem as if everything is wrong. Everything is bad. It isn’t. Our employment growth, our increase in living standards, our productivity growth - all at or near the top of the G7. Our unemployment the lowest it’s been in 30 years.

    This isn’t opinion. This just is. Two years of a good economy and it seems like a blessing. Eight, and it’s inevitability. It’s not.

    Why? And most fundamentally to all of us, it’s time for a change - to what?

    This election, like every other, is really about each party’s and each party leader’s understanding of the country - what it is, how it works. What it can be and should be in the future. More than a vision, more than appearances - it’s what’s in their bones.

    A few weeks ago the Prime Minister talked about our building an early learning and child care system across the country as a “great national endeavour.” Like Medicare.

    But to take on a “great national endeavour,” you have to think in those big terms. It has to be in your bones. Part of your understanding of Canada.

    Our country was built on great national endeavours - the joining of two great languages and cultures, the railroad, Medicare, the education system, the Charter of Rights. It’s what Macdonald, Pearson, Trudeau - what our greatest leaders - understood.

    I don’t think Mr. Harper thinks in terms of “great national endeavours.” I don’t think that’s part of his understanding of Canada. I don’t think that’s what’s in his bones.

    Their announcements on child care, public transit, persons with disabilities - so limited. So limiting. He tells us to: “Stand Up for Canada” — but what Canada are we to stand up for?

    To Mr. Harper, it’s about what’s in my pocket, in my backyard, people having the chance to choose for themselves, the collective good emerging out of that. And there’s something to that. But there’s something not. Not much of any real importance can be done alone. Part of bringing out the best in people is coaxing, nudging, inspiring them to get together, towork towards something bigger than themselves, that stretches their imaginations, that gets them to do more than they ever thought was in them.

    What if, 100 years ago, government put $50 in every family’s pocket and told us to build a school system - if that’s where we’d like to put our money. What if, 40 years ago - here’s $100 for a health care system, if that’s where you want to spend it. Where would we be today? Just because our schools and health care aren’t all we’d like them to be - imagine where we’d be without them.

    The railroad, Medicare, the education system, the Charter of Rights - Canada is a great national endeavour. We’re a country whose greatest national endeavours are still ahead. I want big things for Canada. I don’t want anything less.

    It’s time for a change. Why? To what?

    We need to think hard.


    I agree. We need to think hard. Very hard. And hope for the best.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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