Joyce Murray: Real change you can count on

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      In 2006, the federal election reversed Canada’s progressive course. This election is critical: either that course will be restored, or the darkening of Canadian democracy will continue for years to come.

      That’s not likely the Canada you want, or you wouldn’t be reading the Georgia Straight!

      Canada's environment has suffered during the Harper decade. Regulations that protect our waterways have been gutted. Research scientists muzzled or laid off and environmental review standards weakened. Harper has obstructed global progress on climate change, while claiming credit for gains the provinces made by implementing reduction programs he opposed!

      Liberals will thoroughly review Harper’s legislative and policy changes, working together to rescind or fix problem areas. We must and will re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, to protect our mariners, beaches and environment in the busiest port in Canada.

      Many have written about the attacks on democracy by Harper’s government, so I won’t go into the whole list here. The main point of his methodical strategies to concentrate power—from cheating on elections, to undermining the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and MPs, proroguing Parliament, and silencing citizen voices—is to run Canada more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

      And the Canadian economy has flat-lined. Canada was the only G-7 nation back into recession this spring, and the PBO predicts the current year will end in deficit. The Harper government has little to show for his efforts besides $160 billion added to Canada’s debt and high youth unemployment.

      There actually is a way to get the economy moving forward and create jobs but it takes investing now.  Invest in innovation, and jobs for youth. Double federal infrastructure funding to expand public transit, get affordable housing and seniors facilities constructed, and schools on First Nations reserves built. Invest to speed up the transition to a clean energy economy and help Canada get back into the game—over the past decade our share of the fast-growing global cleantech sector dropped seventy-one percent!

      It’s also the business of government to help those who struggle; we will invest in seniors’ home care, and provide better support for mental health. Income inequality is bad for society—so a fairer child tax benefit that lifts children out of poverty, and a big increase in the income supplement for single low-income seniors make sense. Let’s invest to make sure First Nations children succeed in school, care properly for our veterans, provide middle class families some tax relief, and restore funds for CBC and the arts.

      These are just a few elements of our Liberal Plan to grow the economy and jobs and help people succeed. Please check it out at

      An interesting feature of this election is Thomas Mulcair’s NDP adopting Harper’s fiscal plan—promising a balanced budget next year, despite the stagnant economy. Which of his pricey election promises would have to be delayed for years, or simply abandoned? Justin Trudeau is being honest—our investments mean running three modest deficits before the budget is balanced.

      You have a clear choice in this election: invest in growing the economy and in people—the Liberal plan. Or austerity and cuts—the Conservative/NDP approach.

      The Liberals have a capable leader with a positive message, a plan for real change and a strong team to deliver on it. Help us to fire Stephen Harper and elect a better government. As Nelson Mandela said “It only seems impossible—until it’s done!” Together we can make a difference and build a more progressive, prosperous Canada.