I arrived at the Dion BBQ at 2:30pm. Burgers were already being served over at the grill. My daughter inquired after a hotdog and learned they had already run out of hotdogs. She contented herself with a veggie burger, while we went in to grab a coffee. Although I have seen video clips on the news of burger (and pancake) flipping politicians; it was apparent Dion would not be engaging in any burger flipping at this BBQ. The coffee wasn’t ready so we decided to go sit out on the grass, listen to the music and wait for Dion to appear. To entertain the children there was face painting and bubbles.
Shortly before Dion arrived we were introduced to Saltspring Gumboot dancing by Briony Penn and friends. My daughter and her boyfriend being hard to please teens were highly dubious of the entertainment value of this form of dance. I have to agree that it would have been better with a nice fiddler in the background.
Dion arrived at about 3:30 and was introduced by Keith Martin, MP for Esquimalt-Juan De Fuca .
Dion started his speech by stating he has been to BC four times in the last five months and it is still not enough. He stated there is no better place to celebrate Victoria day in Canada than in Victoria on Vancouver Island. He noted Vancouver Island is still an important part of the country; even though it is west of the Rockies. We all enjoy both Quebec and Victoria and we want both to be a strong part of this country. I am confident Canadians will vote for a party with strong Liberal values. Let’s speak now in the greenest riding in the country. I want to thank Briony Penn (a former Green party member) because green and red definitely go together.
(At this exact moment several people in the crowd pointed out two large eagles soaring back and forth over our heads. I heard someone call out “it’s an omen” and I had to agree it was very coincidental that the eagles presence was noted by the crowd as Dion referenced the Liberal party’s new agreement with the Green party. My husband later stated that either it was an omen or the eagles thought Dion was a rabbit (yes he thinks he’s funny).
Dion said he recently saw Briony’s last name spelled Pane rather than Penn and he thought this was very true because Briony will be a very big pain for Gary Lunn in the next election. She will write a new Liberal chapter for Saanich- Gulf Islands.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier brought together economic grown and social justice; he understood that we want to create wealth but then we must share it. The NDP never understood the economic piece and the Conservatives have never understood social justice. Canadians need better education, more competitiveness and more social justice. Liberals have more experience and we want more justice and sustainable development for the 21st century. When we speak about experience we mean MP’s like Keith Martin. Mr Martin’s a hard working member of parliament, he talks about his file, brings people to the table and goes beyond our borders using his experience as a physician to fight for social justice for children. We need to be richer, greener, fairer, a voice around the world of a generous Canada. We need to bring Canada back to the world and candidates like Anne Shannon can help. It was her job to negotiate for Canada in peace and justice issues around the world.
Canada has an ally- a great ally in the US, but they are not a model for Canada. This is a distinction not understood by the current Prime Minister of Canada. He wants to impose the kind of government agenda Americans themselves don’t even want anymore. He was never given a mandate by the Canadian people for this kind of government.
We will do the right thing and fight child poverty in Canada. We are now the worst country in the developed world in its investment in child care and early learning. I say instead of another GST cut, don’t do it! Take this one cent from your cup of coffee and use it to fight child poverty in Canada. Put it towards the Child Tax Benefit, and let’s raise it to $5000 per child to help bring children out of poverty.
This government has got it wrong. Child Care doesn’t come in a mailbox. When we speak about the economy and social justice, we know that research shows that when you invest in early learning and child care system parents are much more able to participate in a highly mobile workforce. A good child care system is good for the economy and this is something the Conservatives just can’t understand.
The income trust issue is a breach of trust between Harper and the Canadian people. He was under no obligation to state before the last election that he would not tax income trusts, but he did it anyway. Then after the election he proceeded to increase the tax to 31%. We have researched this issue and we believe 10% is enough to ensure tax equity. That is what we will give back to seniors who have lost their savings that has come as a result of the mistakes of this government.
The Liberals will deal with China in a different way. Our countries do not even meet together anymore. We will be strong on China. We will have a strong Liberal approach to global issues. Why did Harper close the consulate in Osaka? Why close the consulate in Milan, a cutting edge country in Europe? What about St Petersburg? This closed approach is the same mistakes they are making with Kyoto, trade, and softwood lumber. The Cons said we had finished with softwood lumber. Now only 7 months later the US is back again questioning the agreement, but now they have a billion dollars of our money to sue us with.
I would like to have a discussion about Afghanistan with the Prime Minister without being accused of supporting the Taliban. That is the way they do it down south now; they have these open-ended wars. Why does he scream about the Liberals being Taliban supporters rather than offering proposals to Canadians? We know that if Stockwell Day had won the 2000 election, we would be in Iraq today. In Canada, we are now engaged in a open-ended war; but in Feb 2009 the mission in Kandahar should be over for Canada. Harper says that because Liberals say this, we are not supporting our troops, but it’s the role of government to discuss and debate these things. Sometimes supporting the troops means sending the troops somewhere else. We should be able to have a discussion for our troops. We will win the next election.
Next time we need to elect this 3 member Liberal dream team behind me (Penn, Shannon, Martin). Together these candidates are incredibly good for your communities. They will help put the century on a good footing with a strong focus on economic growth and social justice. Instead of regretting diversity, Liberals have brought Canada together with multiculturalism and the Charter of Rights. We knew it was an asset to have two international languages and it signaled we are an open, tolerant Canada. Openness to Europe and now Asia is an asset for Canada and for the world. We will bring together social economic growth and sustainability and we will be the best in the world. You will work hard to make sure your Liberal candidates here are elected for the role Canada must play in the world.
Dion completed his speech and Anne Park Shannon finished by saying how thrilled she was with Dion’s inspiration to spend Victoria Day in Victoria. She said we want him to come back to Victoria as Prime Minister of Canada, but we don’t want to have to wait until next Victoria day for that result. Unfortunately there was no Q & A session after the speeches like the Ken Dryden lunch I attended last month. Quickly the crowd rushed to meet/shake Dion’s hand and get their pictures taken with him. One of the eagles continued it’s watchful glide overhead.