A positive, optimistic vision for our country

Speech by Tom Mulcair at the NDP Caucus Strategy Session (Saskatoon)

Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much.

Quelle foule,

Quelle énergie

Et quelle équipe!

Vous savez, lorsque je regarde notre équipe extraordinaire de députés, je me rends compte que le NPD est le seul partiqui peut vraiment se vanter de représenter l’ensemble des Canadiens.

D’un océan à l’autre.

Des grandes villes, aux petits villages.

Des jeunes, jusqu’aux plus âgés.

Toutes les origines ethniques, toutes les religions.

Des immigrants de première génération, à ceux de cinq générations et aux Premières Nations.

Le NPD, est le parti qui parle au nom des Canadiens.

Le parti qui défend les Canadiens.

Et le parti qui livre la marchandise.

It’s fitting for us to be here in Saskatchewan this week.

Because the roots of our party run deep in the Prairie soil.

It was here that Tommy Douglas first resolved that no one should have to choose between having their sick kid seen by a doctor and putting food on the table.

And it was here that Tommy showed us government can grow our economy, protect the public interest and balance the budget 17 times in a row.

But, of course, our journey in Saskatchewan didn’t end with Tommy Douglas.

Other leaders of this extraordinary province—Coldwell, Blakeney, Romanow, Calvert—helped teach us that we’re all better off when we take care of one another, when we lift each other up.

C’est maintenant à nous d’écrire, ensemble, le prochain chapitre de notre histoire.

C’est à nous de poursuivre ce travail important.

De tendre la main, d’écouter et d’échanger…

Pas seulement ici dans les Prairies mais d’un bout à l’autre du Canada.

Et je tiens à vous dire, mes amis que c’est exactement ce que nous allons faire.

La victoire en 2015 ça commence ici et maintenant.

Over the last two years, we’ve held Conservatives accountable.

For scandal and mismanagement.

For gutting environmental protections, and slashing funding for our cities.

For throwing workers off EI and raising the retirement age for OAS.

But this week, we start the next phase.

We can all be proud of the work we’ve done these last two years, but what we’ve done here in Saskatoon will lay the foundation for the next two years and beyond.

Now it’s time to take the next step.

It’s time to take our vision to Canadians.

It’s time to replace the tired Conservative government we face in Ottawa.

And it’s time for an NDP government in 2015.

Friends, there’s another reason why it’s fitting for us to be in Saskatchewan today.

It’s home to Toronto Senator Pamela Wallin.

This summer, Catherine and I travelled tens of thousands of kilometres right across the country to talk to Canadians about a Senate that is unelected, unaccountable and under-indictment.

From Halifax—where they abolished their Senate 85 years ago and haven’t looked back.

All the way to Vancouver Island—a senator-free zone since 1989.

Everywhere I went, Canadians told me that they were fed up with the entitlement and excess they see in Ottawa.

And everywhere I went, Canadians of all stripes are calling for an end to the discredited, outdated and undemocratic Senate.

On Monday I met with Premier Brad Wall— who understands that Saskatchewan Senators like Ms. Wallin have long outlived their usefulness to our democracy.

And this summer I met with PEI Premier Robert Ghiz who—far from defending the Senate—was very open to considering abolition.

In the last year, Canadians have watched as the Prime Minister’s Office paid hush money to a sitting senator in a desperate attempt to hide its collusion and corruption.

And they’ve watched the Prime Minister himself insist that it’s “business as usual” in Ottawa—even as the criminal investigations pile up.

Well, he’s right.

The lack of accountability, the culture of entitlement.

For Stephen Harper that is all business as usual.

Mr. Harper promised he’d put an end to the culture of entitlement that flourished for years under the Liberals.

But instead, he’s only made it worse.

He promised he’d put an end to the perks and payoffs for party insiders…

Instead, he’s put more of his own insiders in the Senate than even Brian Mulroney.

This isn’t just about where Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy live, wherever that might be.

It’s about the revolving red and blue doors of Liberal and Conservative entitlement and corruption.

Well Canadians have had enough.

The fact is, Ottawa is broken.

And while the Liberals simply wait for their turn at the trough, the NDP is still the only party that will fix it.

Last June, when the House rose, Stephen Harper had the getaway car all gassed up—he had Nigel Wright behind the wheel and Mike Duffy stuffed in the trunk.

Now Mr. Harper tells us they won’t be back until Halloween.

La prorogation ne permettra pas au premier ministre de s’en tirer à si bon compte.

Vous pouvez vous cacher, M. Harper, mais un jour ou l’autre, vous serez obligé de revenir au Parlement pour répondre aux questions des Canadiens.

Si votre gouvernement a trouvé que les questions étaient dures au printemps…

Vous n’avez encore rien vu.

While the old parties fight to protect their entitlements and their well-connected friends, Canadian families are struggling like never before.

Our country faces levels of income inequality not seen since the Great Depression.

We’re losing the balanced economy we built up since the Second World War.

Canadians are taking on record debt.

Good-paying manufacturing jobs are disappearing.

And for the first time in our nation’s history, middle class wages are consistently on the decline.

In the past 35 years—under both Conservative and Liberal governments—income has grown for the top 20%... but shrunk for the bottom 80%.

The size of our economy has increased by 147%, yet the average Canadian family has seen their income fall by 7%.

Now, the Liberals may hope that Canadians forget their record they may hope that enough time has passed.

But over those same 35 years, 94% of the income inequality that we’ve experienced in Canada has happened under Liberal governments, not Conservative.

You heard that right, 94%.

That widening gap has left an entire generation of middle-class families teetering on the edge—buried under a mountain of household debt.

By the end of last year, household debt was a staggering two-thirds higher than disposable income.

That’s a record.

Yet, in the face of millions of families struggling to make ends meet, Conservatives have only one message:

They tell us that we have to accept less—that our children have to accept less.

Simply put, Mr. Harper’s approach has been to tear down what generations of Canadians have built up.

Hardworking men and women who have struggled their whole lives to retire at age 65 are now told they can’t.

Unemployed Canadians who have lost their job through no fault of their own and who are looking to EI for help are now told they can’t.

And by the way, if Mr. Flaherty thinks a little EI premium freeze will make up for the $57-billion that Liberals and Conservatives stole from the EI fund…

Or that it’ll make up for his government’s destructive cuts to Employment Insurance...

Let me tell you, he’s got another thing coming.

Chaque fois qu’ils le peuvent, les conservateurs se déchargent de leurs responsabilités vis-à-vis des Canadiens.

C’est ça, l’idéologie conservatrice :

Débrouille toi tout seul! On ne fera rien faire pour t’aider.

On ne peut rien faire contre la hausse des frais de cartes de crédit, rien faire contre l’endettement des étudiants, rien faire contre la pauvreté et le désespoir des Premières nations.

Est-ce que c’est vrai?

Moi, je n’en crois pas un mot.

Les deux vieux partis ont le culot de penser que les Canadiens n’ont pas d’autre choix que de les porter au pouvoir chacun à leur tour.

Peu importe ce qu’ils ont à offrir?

Peut importe ce qu’ils ont fait?

J’ai des nouvelles pour eux autres.

Les Canadiens ont un autre choix.

Ils ne sont pas obligés d’alterner entre la corruption conservatrice et la corruption libérale.

Ils peuvent voter pour un gouvernement propre, intègre et redevable à un seul intérêt l’intérêt du public.

Ils peuvent opter pour un gouvernement du NPD!

Conservatives and Liberals like to tell Canadians that they have to choose between the blue door and the red door.

Well, Canadians have a better option.

And it starts with electing a different kind of government.

Not one that tells Canadians that there’s no hope.

Not one that tells Canadians that they have to settle for less.

But an NDP government that knows together, we can all strive for more.

It should come as no surprise that Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have little interest in the hard work that it takes to govern.

Conservatives, just like the Liberals before them, are gutting rules meant to protect the public and imposing industry self-regulation instead.

It’s a bit like asking a student to grade his own exam.

Tens of millions of dollars cut from food inspections.

We see the results of these cuts in the listeriosis outbreak that killed 22 people and last year’s massive beef recall—the largest in Canadian history.

Environmental protections gutted.

We see the results in pipeline spills that are now far too common.

En ce moment même, les fonctionnaires du Bureau de la sécurité des transports et de Transport Canada enquêtent sur le rôle que la déréglementation aurait pu avoir dans la mort de 47 personnes, à Lac-Mégantic au Québec.

Autre triste exemple :

On apprenait, en fin de semaine, que des médicaments interdits sur le marché américain sont vendus au Canada.

Pendant que les autorités américaines sanctionnent le géant pharmaceutique Ranbaxy, qui a fraudé et falsifié des données de recherche, les conservateurs ne lèvent pas le petit doigt.

Ils refusent de donner à Santé Canada les moyens d’assurer la sécurité du public.

Les économies à court terme passent avant la vie des Canadiens!

C’est inacceptable.

Nous pouvons faire mieux.

Nous allons faire mieux.

Parce que les Canadiens méritent mieux.

Nous n’avons pas à choisir entre la prospérité et la solidarité.

C’est un faux choix. Nous pouvons avoir les deux!

Cet automne, le NPD reviendra à la charge en réclamant une stratégie pancanadienne sur l’énergie

Pour créer des emplois à valeur ajoutée renforcer notre sécurité énergétique et protéger notre environnement.

C’est une chance inouïe d’avoir un pays aussi riche en ressources naturelles.

Et c’est pour ça que nous devons nous montrer responsables dans notre gestion de ces ressources.

L’échec des gouvernements libéraux et conservateurs successifs à agir contre les changements climatiques menace à la fois notre environnement et notre économie.

Il est temps de se doter d’un nouveau plan.

All summer long I’ve met with young people struggling to find the sort of jobs that my generation took for granted.

In Toronto alone, a staggering 50% of workers don’t have a stable, full-time job.

Instead they’re forced to rely on part-time jobs, split shifts and precarious contract work.

Parents are seeing less and less of each other. Children and families are paying the price.

That’s why New Democrats are calling for targeted tax incentives to companies that create jobs and train young people—not across-the-board tax breaks for companies, like the Royal Bank, that ship jobs overseas.

While Conservatives and Liberals have idly watched a generation of good, full-time jobs disappear... the NDP’s priority is to create the next generation of good, full-time jobs.

Dans les mois à venir, le NPD continuera de mettre de l’avant des solutions pour rendre la vie quotidienne plus abordable.

Nous allons combattre les pratiques abusives des compagnies de cartes de crédit.

Nous allons proposer un plafond sur les frais de transaction excessifs imposés par les banques au guichet automatique.

Et nous allons demander d’appliquer rigoureusement la loi pour empêcher les pratiques commerciales qui nuisent à la concurrence à la pompe d’essence.

Un gouvernement du NPD prendrait tous les moyens pour améliorer la qualité de vie des Canadiens.

C’est pourquoi nous prenons des engagements clairs pour les prochaines élections.

Si le NPD est élu, nous ramèn

Si le NPD est élu, nous ramènerons l’âge d’accès aux pensions de la sécurité de la vieillesse à 65 ans… pour donner une retraite décente à tous les Canadiens.

Et nous travaillerons de nation à nation avec les communautés autochtones pour bonifier le financement fédéral de leurs écoles, car ces enfants ont le droit au même niveau de financement que tous les autres enfants Canadiens.

Canada is—at its heart—a progressive country.

We’re a country that understands we’re all better off when we take care of one another… when we lift each other up.

New Democrats know that it’s time to chart a different course.

And unlike the old-line parties of the past we’re actually going to deliver.

Friends, something is changing right across Canada.

We hear it at barbeques.

And in community halls.

Canadians are feeling a new confidence in themselves.

For the first time in many years, they can see that they actually have a voice.

Sure, they look to Ottawa and see the same old entitlement—the same old empty promises.

But they also see an Official Opposition that’s putting forward a positive, optimistic vision for our country.

An Official Opposition that’s showing Canadians you can vote for the change you want and actually get it.

It’s time to give Canadians the kind of government they deserve.

Friends, this is our moment.

To work together and build together.

To put an end to the era of scandal and corruption.

To put an end to politics as usual in Ottawa.

This is our moment to build the Canada of our dreams—not just for today, but for generations to come.

Thank you. Merci beaucoup. On continue.