Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Yesterday we launched my campaign to become the next federal Liberal candidate for Kingston and the Islands. I was energized by our launch event and am looking forward to an exciting summer of campaigning. I wanted to share the text of the speech that I gave:
Ce soir, le voyage commence.
Tonight I, and I hope many of you, we begin a journey.
The first step of that journey is to acknowledge the many accomplishments and
years of service of the Honourable Peter Milliken as the Member of Parliament
for Kingston and the Islands. The person who succeeds Mr. Milliken will step out
of a big shadow and then must aim high if he or she aspires to represent
Kingston and the Islands as well as you have come to expect.
Tonight I want especially to thank my family for being here. I want to thank my
parents, my uncle and aunts, my wife Tara and my daughters Ella and Vera-
Claire – my children who set me on my journey.
My journey into politics did not begin in a boardroom. Or at the office. Or as an
intellectual exercise. It began after my older daughter was born, during the three
years I spent as a stay-at-home Dad, changing the diapers, doing the care and
And that means that many of you will recognize where I'm starting from, my
motives, since I am certainly not the first person to look down at little children and
be moved to ask a big question.
How is everything going to turn out for them when I'm gone?
- Will Ella & Vera-Claire be able to work and earn a living wage from a
- Will their society be productive enough to properly care for the ill, the elderly?
- Will they be heavily taxed by the burden of environmental damage?
As I studied economic, social, and environmental trends, I realized that I, and my
generation, had to provide a different kind of ‘child-care’. I had to help make sure
that our children and grandchildren don't have to clean up our messes.
It's as simple as that. And it's as difficult as that. We have to take care of
business in a way that we do not hand on a debt of troubles to our children, and
Our present federal government has no vision beyond taking and holding political
power! If we ignore that, future generations will bear the burden of our
inattention. If we let a government buy power by feeding consumption today and
forgoing investments for tomorrow, future generations will be deprived of the
returns from sorely needed investments in people, knowledge, social institutions,
and preservation of the natural environment.
No! We must harness political power to develop the incredible opportunities that
lie all around us. We must invest in tomorrow so that our children and
grandchildren will inherit a wealthy portfolio of wise choices.
You know, we Canadians have common goals - facing them need not divide us
along party lines.
- Social Justice and fairness to future generations do not belong to any one party.
- Fiscal foresight and responsibility do not belong to any one party.
- Environmental protection does not belong to any one party.
The urgency of these challenges motivates us all.
So I’m talking about common goals.
But I am a Liberal.
- We Liberals believe that every person’s potential should be realized to the
fullest extent possible and that every person’s potential should have an equal
chance to be realized.
- We believe that government should be responsible for ensuring that equity.
- We believe that the government must unite Canadians in order to achieve these
When I say unite I mean giving all Canadians access to things like shelter, a solid
education , decent health care, a healthy natural environment, safe communities,
and security in old age.
With this in mind,
I believe ... that Canadians living tomorrow must be united with Canadians living
I believe the Liberal Party is the best party to take on the job of uniting Canadians
living tomorrow and today, and I believe that I am the best person to help the
Liberal Party take a step towards doing that by winning in Kingston and the
And so I stand before you today, sustained by my family, friends, and colleagues,
and love for the place where I grew up, to declare that I am a contestant to
become the next federal Liberal Party candidate for Kingston and the Islands.
The first duty of a member of parliament is to serve his constituents and my first
qualification for that job is that I grew up in Kingston and, after working abroad, I
chose to come back to Kingston. Not because I got a job here but because I
chose to come back to the city I love, to my family, to the place I want to raise my
As a member of parliament I will advocate for the interests of my home riding. I
will be at the service of municipal leaders in Kingston and the Islands to work for
local priorities. As Executive Director of SWITCH I'm already working to promote
local job creation and investment in the sustainable energy sector, a sector that
has great potential for the Kingston region in the 21st century. My work as a
manager in the financial industry gave me real life business, management, and
economic experience and I will put that to work for Kingston and the Islands.
With your support, I will be a hard-working member of parliament who stands out
in the House of Commons. I will stand out as somebody who instinctively thinks
about facts and numbers, and enjoys creative problem solving more than kneejerk
partisanship. That comes from my background as a scientist. We could use a
few scientists and engineers in our legislatures!
When you compare me to other candidates, you'll see that I am an uncommon
- a Canadian who is grateful to this country and its people for welcoming his
Chinese immigrant parents;
- a physicist whose years in research taught him the value of careful, quantitative
- a business manager, whose global experience has given him a special
perspective on his home town;
- a father taking care of his children's everyday needs, worrying about the world
they will inherit.
When you compare me to other candidates, you'll see that I am an uncommon
candidate who will work for our common goals.
We must have a government with vision - an honest and progressive vision - that
recognizes the dangers of "business as usual".
We must have a government that is willing to ask Canadians to pay their fair
share to ensure the welfare of future generations.
We must ask Canadians for their attention... so they will choose political leaders
capable of doing this important job.
What do I mean by ‘attention’? It’s what you are doing tonight: participating in this
democratic process, the process of choosing a candidate for the Liberal Party in
Kingston and the Islands. When you leave here tonight, this is what our
campaign needs you to do: please go and ask others for their attention. Convince
them to join the Liberal Party so that they can vote at the nomination meeting.
Talk to them and ask them to join up, for you, and vote, for me.
Il s'agit de mes idéaux. Je suis conscient des défis quotidiens auxquels un
député doit faire face. Votre député se devra d'abord de résoudre les problèmes
des particuliers de sa circonscription, défendre Kingston et les Iles, et assurer les
autres tâches parlementaires pour le bien-être de tous les Canadiens. Les
idéaux dont j'ai parlé ne constituent pas une "fiche de poste" décrivant par le
menu le travail quotidien. Mais, à l'heure des décisions politiques difficiles que
j'aurai inévitablement à prendre, ces idéaux seront une boussole et ils m'aideront
à prendre les bonnes décisions en tant que député.
I've spoken about my ideals. But I'm aware of the daily challenges that a member
of parliament faces. As member of parliament, I must solve problems for my
constituents; I must be an advocate for Kingston and the Islands, and I must
attend to parliamentary duties for the good of all Canadians. That's the job
description. These ideals I've spoken about aren't the job description. But ideals
are crucial. When the inevitable tough political decisions need to be made, these
ideals will serve as a compass, to help me make those decisions on my political
Si vous partagez ces idéaux, alors venez, venez, partons ensemble et
appliquons-nous à faire de ces idéaux une réalité.
If you share these ideals, if you are inspired by these ideals, then come – come
make the political journey with me, to make them a reality.
Let the journey begin!