Fin Donnelly: My Canada includes strong leadership for working families

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      Since my election as the member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody in November 2009, I have received one clear and consistent message from my constituents: life is getting more and more unaffordable for individuals and families. The recession hit middle and low income earners the hardest and the additional burden of the HST, thrust upon them thanks to the Conservative-Liberal coalition in Ottawa, has not helped the economic recovery for these families in our community.

      This election poses an important question to voters: what kind of leadership do we want for our community and more importantly, for Canada?

      Under the Harper Conservatives, we have watched our treasured health-care system continue to erode due to neglect and indifference. In my community, for example, our local hospital, Royal Columbian, has been forced to operate over capacity and made front page news across the country when ER patients were stacked in a Tim Hortons coffee shop while awaiting medical treatment. Is this the kind of leadership Canadians want to ensure the preservation of our health-care system?

      The Harper Conservatives claim to be the party of law and order and contend that their solutions on crime will reduce crime and make our communities safer. However, Coquitlam’s police to population ratio has stagnated, leaving us the second worst in the province for a city of its size—only 112 officers per 100,000 people. The Harper Conservatives promised to address this crisis in 2006 with 2,500 new officers, but people in my community are still waiting. Is this the kind of leadership Canadians need to address the real causes of crime in our communities?

      Make no mistake—in B.C., this election is between New Democrats and Conservatives. And for B.C. residents who believe that Ottawa is broken, we share your view. New Democrats believe it is time for us to fix it. It is time for real Canadian leadership, the leadership that Jack Layton and New Democrats have already demonstrated in Ottawa. The kind of leadership that believes in a strong healthcare system, a strong public pension plan, and a strong voice for working Canadians.

      Fin Donnelly is the NDP candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam.