Announcement by Peggy Nash
Good morning and thank you all for being here.
Today I’m announcing my candidacy for the leadership of the New Democratic Party.
Bonjour à tous et merci d’être ici en si grand nombre.
Aujourd’hui, je vous annonce que je me lance dans la course à la chefferie du Nouveau parti démocratique.
What an interesting time we’re living in. On one hand everywhere we look we see precariousness instability, volatile change. Europe’s finances. The American debt ceiling. Humanitarian crises in Africa. Here at home, small businesses are struggling, people are losing their jobs, and personal debt is higher than at any point in Canadian history.
But on the other hand there’s all the hope, the energy, the appetite for reform, for engagement. The Arab Spring spreads to Wall Street spreads to St. James Park here in Toronto and communities across the country.
I’ve spoken to those gathered at St. James Park. Their commitment is inspiring. Theirs are not vague and unfocused concerns. They arise from very real crises that every one of us is facing. Crises of social injustice, of wild inequality. Crises of the ninety nine percent versus the one percent.
This is a critical moment. The choices we make matter. The nature and quality of our leadership matters. It could not matter more.
I’m entering the race because I believe the next Prime Minister of Canada must be able to do two things:
First, she’s going to have to make sure that our economy works to the benefit of all Canadians, not just the few at the top.
But secondly, in order to do that, she’s going to have be able to keep the Canadian economy stable and make it stronger.
Nous sommes à un moment ou chaque décision que nous prenons fait une différence. Et le leadership y compte pour beaucoup. Ça ne pourrait être plus important.
J’entre dans la course parce que je crois que la prochaine Première ministre du Canada doit pouvoir faire deux choses:
S’assurer que notre économie profite à tous les Canadiens, pas seulement aux plus riches.
Mais pour y parvenir, il faut qu’elle soit en mesure de protéger la stabilité de l’économie canadienne, et de la rendre encore plus forte.
L’actuel Premier ministre ne semble pas comprendre cela.
Mais moi, je le comprends très bien.
The current Prime Minister understands neither of these. I understand both. Come the next federal election, Canadians deserve a real alternative and as leader of the New Democratic Party I will offer them just that.
I want to expand those two challenges in a moment, but first I’d like to explain a bit just how we’ve all come to be standing here at this moment.
We’re here together in Parkdale, in Toronto – I am so proud and humbled to be the Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park. It’s also the neighbourhood where my grandparents first settled in this country.
I come from hard-working people. They left the UK to escape poverty and managed to arrive here just in time for the Great Depression. Still, they had a capacity for hard work and a fierce determination to build a better life and that’s exactly what they did.
My grandparents could never in their wildest dreams have imagined their grandchild (especially a granddaughter) becoming a Member of Parliament.
In fact, I’m the first in my family to earn a university degree. That was possible partly because my parents raised us to believe we could accomplish anything we set our sights on. But it was also made possible by low tuition fees, and by governments that treated education as a crucial investment.
After university, I joined the airline industry. Because of the union there, I was paid a good salary, with good benefits and had job security. The challenges of deregulation, privatization and free trade (that was never actually free) drew me to activism and gave me the experience, the skills and the confidence to play a leadership role.
I learned how to organize, how to bring people together around the issues that mattered to them and fight for practical policies and solutions. Eventually, I earned the role of senior negotiator with the Canadian Autoworkers Union.
At the CAW I worked hard to make a difference in the lives of working people. I was able to bargain with large and small employers improving wages, benefits and working conditions for people across this country. I developed the NDP’s Green Car Strategy that brought workers and environmentalists together to build a just and sustainable future for Canada. In 2005, I became the first woman in North America to lead bargaining for labour in the automotive sector. I have been at the table and negotiated for entire communities with the CEOs of some of the toughest corporations in Canada and the world.
It was this extensive experience in the private sector that led Jack Layton to appoint me Finance Critic. I know my way around a contract and I know my way around a budget. Our next Prime Minister is going to need that kind of experience.
Quand j’ai terminé le secondaire, j’étais obsédée par le français.
Je voulais à tout prix devenir bilingue. C’est une décision qui a profondément changé ma vie.
C’est en étant capable de parler français que j’ai obtenu mes premiers emplois avec notre transporteur aérien national.
Je me suis par la suite impliquée dans le syndicat, où je suis devenue organisatrice, négociatrice, et surtout, militante.
Au cours des années, la relation entre le Québec et le reste du Canada a forgé l’identité de notre grand pays. Aux dernières élections, le NPD a été en mesure de faire une grande percée et devenir l’Opposition officielle. Et ça, c’est en grande partie grâce aux électeurs du Québec. Car le 2 mai, les Québécois nous ont bien fait comprendre qu’ils ont vraiment la social-démocratie à cœur.
Ce qu’ils nous ont dit, c’est qu’ils voulaient un gouvernement qui comprend l’importance des valeurs progressistes, d’un océan à l’autre. Après tout, les Québécois et les Canadiens partagent les mêmes préoccupations… l’économie … l’environnement … la justice sociale. Bâtir un meilleur pays pour nos générations futures.
Pour le NPD, « Travaillons ensemble » n’a jamais été qu’un slogan, c’est une raison d’être. C’est ce qui nous motive à travailler sans relâche pour que les Canadiens ET les Québécois se reconnaissent et trouvent leur place au NPD.
Rassembler les gens, c’est l’objectif et la responsabilité d’un parti qui aspire à former le gouvernement pour les bonnes raisons.
Et c’est en mettant de l’avant des politiques concrètes, comme la Déclaration de Sherbrooke, que les Québécois savent que le NPD est là pour eux. Qu’il est possible de mettre les vieilles chicanes derrière nous pour qu’on soit capable de bâtir le pays de nos rêves.
Et c’est exactement ce que j’entends faire comme prochaine chef du NPD!
Now, to return to those two challenges I mentioned earlier, I’d like to talk a bit about our party.
Everyone knows the NDP has its heart in the right place. Everyone knows that without the NDP there would be no public health care, there would be no stable pensions – Canada would be not be the country that we love today.
But somehow there are those who don’t yet know that we are also the party that understands the value of a dollar. We know what it takes to earn one and we know how far it can and can’t stretch.
It can’t stretch to billion dollars worth of megaprisons when we should be investing in child care or affordable housing or green technology. It can’t stretch to huge tax cuts for the richest corporations that drain our treasury and fail to create jobs. It’s no great saving to cut our environmental protections when the planet is choking. Our cities are our great economic engines – it makes no sense to starve them of funding for essentials like public transit. First Nations, Inuit and Metis people are foundational partners in our nation – we all pay a steep price when we allow poverty and inequality in their communities.
Let’s face it, these are bad fiscal policies, this is weak leadership.
As Finance Critic I have looked closely at these numbers and I can tell you they just don’t add up.
Conservative Trickle Down economics has never worked. Giving the most profitable companies even more money through tax breaks and hoping they’ll choose to invest it in people doesn’t work. Under my leadership, an NDP government will spend Canadian tax dollars where they belong – on Canadians – and Canadians will get the direct benefit of it.
Les conservateurs ont de mauvaises politiques fiscales… ce n’est pas ça, du vrai leadership.
Comme porte-parole en matière de finances, j’ai observé de près ce que prétendent les conservateurs, et je peux vous dire que leurs chiffres n’ont pas de bon sens.
La théorie de retombée économique des conservateurs n’a jamais fonctionné. Donner encore plus d’argent aux compagnies les plus riches grâce aux réductions d’impôts et espérer qu’elles décident de réinvestir pour aider les gens, ça ne fonctionne pas.
Sous mon leadership, un gouvernement du NPD investirait l’argent des Canadiens là où il se doit – pour les Canadiens. Les Canadiens pourront donc profiter des avantages directs.
We are the only party that understands that we don’t just address social problems because it’s the right thing to do, we address them because it’s the smart thing to do
I’m entering this race because I can make it clear to Canadians that we can manage the economy, that we can work with key economic sectors to grow investment, to grow innovation and to grow good green jobs. That social democrats know how to create wealth, not just money. Social democratic governments around the world have done it, several Canadian provinces with NDP governments are doing it, and under my leadership Canada will do it too.
Jack Layton recruited me to run as a candidate in 2004. And he persuaded me to stick with it when I had some setbacks. I’m so grateful that he did. Jack inspired me and millions of Canadians with an approach that was utterly principled and absolutely practical.
I believe this is the only way forward. While we are all heartbroken over Jack’s passing, he continues to inspire us.
These are indeed precarious and volatile times but the potential for positive change has never been more within our grasp.
In Canada – right now – we have an historic opportunity for progressives from Quebec and Canada, right across this country to harness this great swelling of optimism and energy, this appetite for reform, and work together in common cause to move our country forward; to integrate our environmental responsibilities with our economic necessities; to restore nation-to-nation relationships with our First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples; to take pride in our country and achieve real fiscal stability that is based on equality.
Our challenge is to connect the fair-mindedness that defines Canadians with concrete government action. To connect the passion for a better world with the political will to get us there. To reignite optimism and hope that together we CAN build a better world and that if we get involved in building it, we CAN make a difference.
That is the hope I want to offer Canadians as leader of the New Democratic Party. Join me and we’ll make that difference together.
Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup.