Report on Liberal Candidate Activities for 2007
Hi Fellow Liberals:
It’s timely to wish you and yours the best as we start 2008 and; it gives me pleasure to provide the following report as Liberal Candidate for Lethbridge Riding.
On the week-end I was nominated, April 14, 2007 I concluded the Aboriginal retreat I was involved in and in May I attended the 3rd ever National Medicare Conference - Building on Tommy Douglas' vision of Medicare, in Regina. Woh! What a Conference and impressive array of speakers, 38 in two days; experts from across Canada, Britain, the US and NZ! Speakers included Shirley Douglas, actress daughter of the famous 'Father of Medicare - Tommy Douglas and other distinguished people like Dr. Michael Rachlis, Hon. Monique Begin, former Minister of Health in the Trudeau Government and Roy Romanow, former Premier of Saskatchewan and author of the Romanow Report on Health. Topics covered the International Perspective; Financing to Achieve Greater Equity; Homecare Reforms, Pharmacare, Homecare and Primary Care; Social Determinants of Health and Getting to Where We Want to Get To. Highlight of the conference was Stephen Lewis, from the UN. He had most of us in tears as he described his firsthand experiences of aids and poverty in Africa which the world needs to know about. He noted 15,000 people die daily from aids for lack of drugs and the basics of life that are available but not provided by governments that renege on commitments. When will we wake-up?
It was also noted that poverty is rampantly increasing in our own country as the gap between rich and poor; "the haves and have nots" widens as the poor struggle to get the basics of life in minimum wage jobs. An interesting fact noted is that Canada spends only 9% of our GDP on Healthcare while the US spends 16% and still has 45 million people without healthcare. It was noted that we need to be on our guard, cooperation is the key to achieve our goal and that we need to work for the next phase in health Care universality in coverage for dental, eye and pharmacare as well as a national child development program. I just wish everyone could have been there to experience it.
On May 18 I attended a Liberal BBQ to welcome Mme. Janine (Mrs. Dion) Krieber who visited Lethbridge. On May 19 I attended a workshop on bio-fuels then I accompanied Dianne King and Hon. Anne McLellan, former Deputy Prime Minister on a tour of Black Velvet Distillery guided by Chris Spearman. At noon Anne was the speaker at the Grandstand Restaurant. I have taken advantage of as many opportunities as possible attending fundraisers, public forums as well as made a presentation on Friends of Medicare to the Lethbridge Rotary and attended almost every session of SACPA to help me keep current and versed in the issues.
Earlier in the year it looked as if we might have an election call however the possibility obviously changed when the government’s rating dropped. In preparation for campaigning we developed a brochure to help introduce me and my platform. I got an initial supply of brochures printed as well as buttons. I also updated my webpage and sample speeches which I have just updated again.
Though my career experiences helped me understand many social issues especially poverty and the cycle of poverty I still have difficulty accepting that we are experiencing poverty given that we are such a rich country. As one works in health one quickly realizes the correlation between income, poverty and health and the need to narrow the gap so everyone enjoy a reasonable standard and live in dignity. I believe strongly we need not only jobs but legislation for a living wage as well as a child care and development program that provides education and work opportunities as well as assertive individual and family supports to help eradicate the cycle of poverty.
I have done some door-to-door campaigning in Lethbridge and Cardston and over the summer I took in as many activities as possible in the riding from fairs to Pow-wows and even attended the Calgary Stampede parade. On June I attended Aboriginal Day at Sik-ooh-kotoki followed by a Pow Wow in Galt gardens and on June 2 a van load of us attended a dinner with Mr. Dion in Calgary. A couple of us traveled to Nanton for a BBQ with former Agriculture Minister, Wayne Easter on June 22. I also participated in the Annual Dragon-boat Festival on the first week-end in July and attended the Coaldale Fair breakfast. We had a BBQ for the management team at our home on June 24 and another for the official campaign kick-off on July 1. Over 40 attended the kick-off and on July 2 Russ and I attended the Raymond Parade followed by a Canada party at a friend’s home there, and on July 10th Gloria and I left for vacation in Nova Scotia.
In the summer the main issues on people’s minds were the war in Afghanistan, its futility and the loss of so many young Canadians and Mr. Harper’s broken promises on the Income Trusts issue. Some said they made a mistake in their vote last time and intend to rectify it in the next election. Mr. Dion also phoned a couple of times expressing appreciation for our support, enquiring as to the issues here and how he and the party can help.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend Bonanza Days in Milk River since I had to accompany the Hon. Ken Dryden on his visit here on August 1. Matthew Conley, I and Senator Fairbairn also accompanied him to the Medicine Hat dinner in the evening. I got an extra copy of “The Game” signed by him which we can use as fundraiser. He gave us a riveting summary of his reflections and review of Mr. Harper’s and the Conservative government’s performance to that point. I attended the Picture Butte fair breakfast and parade on Aug. 11 and accompanied Senator Joyce attending two and three breakfasts a day in Lethbridge during Whoop-up week and was her guest at the Exhibition President’s dinner. On August 21 I attended the Annual ALP BBQ attended by about 80 people and on Aug. 23, Hon. Ralph Goodale, former Finance Minister visited and we attended three breakfasts, a media event, public luncheon, met with Water Institute staff at U of L and finished off the day with a ‘Wine and Cheese’ reception at our home. Several remarked how impressed they were with Mr. Goodale.
On Sept. 13 I accompanied the Hon. Garth Turner, maverick politician and former Conservative-turned-Liberal. His topic was ‘Needs of Investors and Homeowners’. Though a serious man he had us all in stitches with his presentation to the public at the Legion that evening and he holds back no punches. On Sept. 21 I attended the Schizophrenia Society Annual Gala and on Sept. 28 heard Michael Byers, formerly of Lethbridge speak on his book ‘Intent for a Nation’ which is counter to George Grants ‘Lament for a Nation’, written in 1967. Michael believes Mr. Harper and gang’s intent is harmonization leading to integration with the US, they are most undemocratic and must be stopped.
On Oct . 4 I spoke to the Lethbridge Rotary on Friends of Medicare’s aims and I was invited to be with Mr. Dion on Oct. 10 in Edmonton where we attended meetings including attending a “Town Hall” meeting of a few hundred people. Unexpectedly, he called on me to summarize Mr. Taft’s and ALP’s proposed “Western Tiger” initiative for upgrading oil before exporting it to the US. I was back in the Capital again for the Campaign Workshop on Oct 12, 13 and 14. I have maintained my responsibilities on the various committees for Social Housing in Action, Sik-ooh-kotoki Friendship Center, Aboriginal Housing in Action and Friends of Medicare and met with Cheryl Dyck, Economic Development Lethbridge. I have attended a variety of functions including ethnic and fundraising activities and on January 10 attended a meeting in Calgary on urban issues with Hon. Paul Zed, MP and Senator Larry Campbell. Homelessness and housing costs appear to be the main issues now. I have an upcoming meeting on January 14 with Mr. Craig, Mayor of Coaldale and on Jan. 15 with Guy L’Heroux, President of the Metis Association and further meetings scheduled with the City and Chamber of Commerce.
My summary of the Conservative Government record is as follows:
After two years, and little if any progress on issues of importance to Canadians, Mr. Harper talks as if he had a majority, and operates as though he’s campaigning instead of providing leadership and good government which Canadians want and deserve. As the saying goes; one can fool some of the people all the time but not all the people all the time. Hopefully Canadians are keeping track of his record; a record of hype, broken promises and misrepresentation etc., and the list goes on.
First: it was claims of success on a Softwood Lumber deal. (it left millions of dollars to the Americans to fund them to fight us further on issues under NAFTA).
• They refused to follow through on our Kyoto Commitment. All they have come up with is inaction, excuses and misleading targets that will result in our country’s carbon emissions increasing until 2050 or beyond. Their proposals lack any enforcement teeth, thus allowing the situation to worsen; hopefully not past the point of no return.
• In May 2006, two weeks after killing the Kelowna Accord, a government delegation cited the Accord as an example of how well our Indigenous people are treated; yet Mr. Harper’s Government declined to sign the UN declaration on Human Rights for such people, and was subsequently chided by the UN for failure to do so.
• Afghanistan has been a total fiasco, in which to date 72 Canadians have been killed.
• Latest, they’ve attempted to silence General Hillier and we still have no indication when our troops will be replaced.
• The Government continues to defy rulings to make the bidding process for military contracts fair; currently around 140 million dollars are in question.
• Latest, the Auditor General’s Report shows they’ve failed to adequately ensure that Canada’s soldiers enjoy health care services they deserve.
• On a separate issue, the Attorney General recently raised serious concerns over whether the Government has taken adequate action to protect our borders.
• A year ago they precipitated the Income Trust issue which resulted in the loss of billions of dollars of seniors’ hard earned cash meant for retirement.
They made a big noise about access to health services; most of us could have predicted the outcome since it is largely a Provincial Responsibility.
• Currently, the Elections Canada Commissioner is investigating (the Conservatives) for allegedly orchestrating an elaborate money-laundering scheme. It allowed the Party to overspend by more than a million dollars. Conservative candidates apparently claimed nearly $800,000 dollars in rebates for the 2006 Federal election. Instead of cooperating, they’re taking Elections Canada to court.
• The Conservative government never enacted the ‘Law and Order Legislation’ approved by both houses; one can only suspect that this is to provide an issue he can blame us Liberals for when he calls the next election.
• Their so-called tax break amounts to a paltry $10.00 a year to someone with an income of $20,000.00 and not even a couple hundred for the guy making $150,000.00; big deal! The GST cut caused more irritation and cost to business again.
• Mr. Harper has said they will support the upcoming resolution on Capital Punishment and they will not intervene on behalf of citizens to be executed in other countries.
• Latest, you may recollect how they so bull-headedly and shamelessly misrepresented what the majority of Canadians wanted at the Bali Conference on the Environment and voted against proposals on Carbon control.
In summary, Mr. Harper and his team continue to mislead Canadians, and to misrepresent us to the world. The grandstanding continues and he has provided no information, except secrecy on the Security and Prosperity issue.
Immediately following Mr. Dion’s election, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives saturated the media with the notion that Mr. Harper is a leader and Mr. Dion is not. However, I and many who know Mr. Dion, know he’s a man of integrity. Transparency is evident and what you see is what you get. He’s an unpretentious and deeply committed Canadian. While Mr. Harper was busy trying to break-up the country, even signing the “firewall” manifesto; Mr. Dion was busy establishing the Clarity Act that resulted in great personal risk, to the point he and his family had to be given protection.
It’s clear to me and many who the leader is. The issue on which we lost the 2006 election, and which was resolved by the Gomery Inquiry, sure pales in comparison to the mounting issues and ineptitude of a right-wing government bent on getting their ideology established. Business and Wall Street called their proposal in follow-up to the Income Trust fiasco “stupid” and complimented the Liberal plan. The Liberal Opposition believes Canadians deserve real leadership from a Prime Minister who is honest and accountable. Mr. Harper has not delivered. People want a richer, fairer, greener Canada. This is the Liberal Goal. Let’s get back to governing: to resurrect the child-development program and the Kelowna Accord, to support our farmers and businesses, to make education affordable for our youth and to rescue our planet before it’s too late. I remind you it was you and the Liberals that had Canada lead the G8 and the world with nine of 11 balanced budgets.
What is a Liberal and why Vote Liberal?
1 Liberals are fiscally responsible, and flexible yet keep their word; e.g. they said they would and cut the huge deficit inherited in 1993, and were the only G-8 country to post balanced budgets in their last 9 years in office.
2. Liberals strive for a fair and sustainable balance between individual interest and the best interests of all Canadians. The current government does not see this as a priority.
• A Liberal Government will:
• work for a vibrant and sustainable economy and sustainable environment,
• maintain universality in health care and education;
• enhance literacy and skills development,
• main re-establish a proper child development program,
• establish the 30/50 Plan to eliminate poverty,
• maintain transparency and responsible accountability, including reparation for victims of the Income Trust fiasco generated by the Conservative government in November, 2006,
• resurrect and implement the Kelowna Accord to assist our Aboriginal people,
• continue working towards returning Canada’s foreign policy role to development in Afghanistan as soon as our current military commitment expires in 2009, and
• regain international respect for Canada as the balanced, responsible and peace loving country we had been perceived as for so long in the past.
Whose record and policies would we feel proud of? If you believe as I do, we need change and the time is now; so talk it up with your family, friends and work colleagues and encourage them to vote Liberal. Please feel free to use and pass on any reports I provide and please remember to check our webpage, www.Liberal.ca for National and www.michaelcormican.com for the latest from me. I thank everyone for their support and encouragement and look forward to your continued help as we continue the campaign so your voice can be heard in Ottawa. Respectfully submitted,
Michael Cormican, Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge Riding January 10, 2008