September 8, 2021
This upcoming federal election has me concerned. There is much at stake and we need to pay close attention and consider the outcomes that could result from the decisions we make at the ballot box. I am concerned that my fellow citizens are going to vote in a Tory government, and in my opinion, that would be a real shame at this point in time. In fact, it could be downright scary. What I hear, and even more what I don’t hear from the conservative party and leadership, has me worried. The growing polarization of our people and the vehemence of some right-wing factions is chilling. We aren’t America yet but more and more we seem to be mimicking the Trump-style toxicity that is breaking apart our neighbours to the south. This threatens the basic foundation and institutions of civil society we have worked so hard to create. Just live in a country without these institutions and you realize how absolutely critical they are to building equity, ensuring human rights, etc.
Unfortunately, our party system pushes us into camps, to take sides and identify with that camp, pitting us against each other. I don’t tend to vote Liberal but I feel compelled to speak out to remind folks that Canada has actually been making progress over the past several years on a number of really important issues and although certainly far from perfect, we have to acknowledge the current governments’ role in that progress – giving some credit where credit is due. As someone who works in community on some very entrenched and hard to tackle issues, I have to admit that I am seeing the creation of some policies and investment going in the right places. We have moved the needle, and this is leading us toward becoming a more compassionate, open society, admired the world over. More needs to be done, absolutely, but one thing is for sure…we do not want to head in the other direction, to regress, go backwards, and halt progress.
Investments in the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and Reaching Home are making a real difference in communities, significant increases in family/parental benefit for low income earners, extended maternity and paternity leaves, proposed gun control legislation, signed agreements with provinces for affordable universal child care, record numbers of women in caucus and in leadership positions, protection of women’s reproductive rights, legalization of marijuana and discussions around decriminalization, funds to provinces to respond to the opioid crisis, increasing meaningful action on Indigenous rights, the response to COVID that has been responsible and stellar when compared to many countries in the world. And most importantly, climate. Although more and faster action is critical, climate change is very much on the agenda and there is hope that with public pressure and support the right climate actions will happen to save our future.
I sincerely ask that we all think very seriously about the kind of country we want to live in and what kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren. Four years of backward thinking at this critical point could be damning to that future.
Janet Bickerton, RN