I attended a Victoria fundraiser for the Federal Liberal party this evening with Bob Rae, Anne Park Shannon and Keith Martin. Anne was a very gracious hostess meeting us at the door with a big smile and offering up her lovely home for a most enjoyable event. Polite servers laden with delicious appetizers (e.g. salmon wrapped asparagus, lovely seafood) circulated through the crowd tempting all of the guests before Rae’s big speech.
I chatted with a very nice lady who reads my blog and I asked her if she knew if Bob would speak tonight, but she was not certain. I grew worried for a moment because I promised a Sicko blog tonight and I ditched the movie for the opportunity to meet Mr. Rae. Fortunately Mr. Rae did not disappoint me, offering this inspiring and comforting speech after everyone seemed settled in.
Rae began by congratulating the UVic Jazz band (way to go UVic Jazz band) on the wonderful music they played during this special occasion. He then thanked Anne Park Shannon, the Liberal candidate for Victoria for her hospitality this evening and during his visit to Victoria.
As you know, Stephane Dion asked me to work with Scott Brison to get ready for the election, which has not materialized. The election just didn’t happen and things are taking a little longer than we anticipated. Currently we are working in 3-6 month chunks taking it as it comes along. We want to focus on working with people.
Today I had an opportunity to meet people and speak with them about housing, child care and urban issues. It has been a very full day in Victoria. I was also on the radio with Jo Easingwood from CFAX this morning and I had a chance to meet with business people and people concerned with social justice issues in the downtown core of Victoria.
I have come to you today to deliver 3 core messages. It has been great to work with Anne today. I encourage you to do everything you can to get her elected. I know it is turning out to be a little longer of a haul for Anne, longer than anticipated. It was supposed to be this spring, but it looks like it may be longer than anticipated before another election. Anne may not have realized what she was getting into, but it will be wonderful to have her experience, and breadth of knowledge. She will bring a tremendous amount of experience, good judgement and excitement to politics in Victoria.
Now I have spoken with people in this audience who supported me during the leadership race. I have moved on from that fight. We have our new leader and he is a guy committed to this country. We are going to have the best set of policies ever!
The leadership convention made a decision with Dion and that’s the approach I take. I believe there is a fundamental choice facing us. We currently have a lousy government hidden by a minority government. Their ideological approach is to spend lots of money on bringing the other side down. I don’t see this government continuing. We are going to win for 3 reasons. First, because we have the best leader. It reminds me of the story of Red Riding Hood. Harper is the wolf all dressed up like Grandma in a minority government, “Mr. Harper what big teeth you have”
Stephane Dion is a powerful intellectual, a man of substance, challenging us to do it better. He is tough to work for and he is demanding. He is steak with sizzle. We have chosen a leader of substance. He should be the next Prime Minister. We have a strong team. The strongest cabinet front bench of people committed to governing better; as exciting as Mr. Pearson’s bench in 1962. For those who don’t remember, Mr. Pearson brought about such exciting developments as Canada Pension plan, immigration, etc. He was an amazing man of productive change. This government is pulling away from that.
People want a government that can respond effectively to the challenge. As Liberals we need to do a better job of fundraising, and bringing people in together, where everyone is welcome. We allowed ourselves to get into bad habits. One really bad habit was thinking we could allow the leadership race to go on forever. Another is not understanding how important it is to be well financed. We got into the habit of thinking someone else will fundraise, but it can’t be someone else’s responsibility. It is everyone’s responsibility.
We have to get serious on the climate change issue. More deeply serious on a whole series of issues. I am not here to announce a platform. I am here talking to people, gleaning enough ideas to move forward in an exciting way. We need a party willing to engage with the people about policy, both on both a foreign and domestic front. My strongest recommendation is that the people are looking to government to speak for the condition of the people. All of these things are required.
It was great of you to come out. I really appreciate it. People say it must be hard to travel all the time, but when I look out on to the beautiful views of Victoria, I would say that it is not exactly a hardship. I wish you all a very Happy Canada Day!
I wanted to note that both my partner and I were Bob Rae supporters during the Liberal leadership campaign. When speaking with Bob we both confessed we had supported him during the leadership race. He said “yes, but that fight is behind us now we need to look at the fight ahead of us.” My husband replied and “that is the biggest fight of all.”
We are all looking foward to it.