I have spoken with thousands of voters in my riding and to them this election is about which candidate can do the best job for Surrey North. The overwhelming majority do not want to vote for the Harper Conservatives. Surrey North’s priorities are not to spend more than $30 billion for fighter jets and many billions more for corporate tax cuts. Their priorities are better health care and better jobs. They want education, housing, and child care to be accessible and affordable for ordinary people.
The Conservative promises of tax credits sometime in the distant future do not help the average voter in Surrey North. Most people in Surrey North already spend everything they earn trying to keep up. They deserve a government and a member of Parliament that understands the priority is to help people get ahead now.
Free, quality, and timely medicare for all Canadians is the highest priority of the Liberal party. The Liberal party is committed to a strong federal role in working with the provinces to strengthen the system and maintain costs. Currently, B.C.’s rapidly growing second largest city is underserved by one overloaded hospital. If elected as member of Parliament for Surrey North I will work to make sure the federal government contributes whatever is necessary to ensure the people of Surrey are able to access the health care they need in their community.
Surrey North is a very young and diverse riding. For far too many families the education needed to get good jobs is a burden they cannot afford. The Liberal Learning Passport will provide up to $1,500 a year to help students improve their knowledge and skills. The Canadian Learning Strategy addresses challenges such as quality child care and adult literacy, which are obstacles to education for too many people.
For centuries, people from all over the world have come to settle in Canada for a better life. This land of opportunities has given new life and new hope to all those who came with a simple dream. We must continue this truly Canadian tradition of welcoming new immigrants. In this respect, we need to reduce long wait times for family re-unification.
I believe there is a positive role for the federal government in giving people a hand up and ensuring they get the health care, the education, and the pensions they need. Leaving it to the market to deliver these things sometime in the distant future is not good enough. Markets may be the main driver of jobs and wealth in Canada, but they are not the best way to deliver all our services. The public sector is a vital part of Canadian society and we should continue to strive to improve it, rather than diminish it.
The Liberal approach has always been a balanced approach. The Harper Conservatives do not believe in that balance. Just as the last Liberal governments balanced the budget and strengthened our social programs, the Harper Conservatives have returned us to deficits and now threaten our social programs. On May 2, the people of Surrey North can choose to trust the Harper Conservatives will follow through on their promises in a few years’ time, or they can elect a member of Parliament who will work to deliver help to those who need it now.
Shinder Purewal is the Liberal candidate for Surrey North.