I believe that as Canadians we must come together and draw strength from our unity in order to meet the greatest challenges of the 21st century and to realize our individual and collective aspirations.
Public services are based on core Canadian values: equality, compassion, fairness, democracy, responsibility, security, dignity, opportunity, cooperation and accountability. Canadians want their governments to ensure that the values which define our public services and reflect the character of our country are upheld in all political choices about public spending.
Quality public services provide a high quality of life for families – services such as health care, education, social services, child care, water treatment, food inspection, public safety, environmental protection and postal services. These services are also a good value for citizens – they are the most affordable way to ensure everyone gets the services they need. When governments invest in public services they boost the economy in local communities. Crown corporations are valuable assets that we all own and have paid for over the years. Making cuts to public services and selling crown corporations is short-sighted and irresponsible – it weakens the services and institutions that families rely on and puts people out of work. It is crucial that our governments protect and invest in the public services that are the foundation for a fair society and strong economy.
Public employees provide the quality services that create a better life for everyone – cleaner air, healthier seniors, smarter children, safer communities, dynamic cities, safer roads. It's their job, every day, to work for the common good – tackling disadvantage, extending opportunity, dealing with emergencies, building stronger communities and improving everyone's standard of living. They work in difficult and often hazardous jobs. We trust and rely on them during times of crisis. Their specialized skills and valuable experience ensure we all get good services and long-term value. Public employees should never be painted as scapegoats during tough economic times.
An essential pillar of a modern democracy is the protection of the public interest from the abuse of power by corporations and governments. Protecting the public interest from self-interested corporations requires a strong set of rules and regulations in areas such as: consumer protection, labour laws, environmental standards, minimum wage, workplace health and safety, privacy laws, financial regulations and international trade. Protecting the public interest also requires a system of open, ethical and accountable government. It requires the protection and preservation of human rights, civil liberties and the freedom to dissent. It requires a strong civil society that serves as an arena for public deliberation and the exercise of advocacy in pursuit of the common interest.
Taxes are what we pay to be Canadian – to have a high quality of life, an opportunity to reach our full potential and build a fair society in which we all want to live. Our parents, through their taxes, used their common wealth to invest in the future. They invested their taxes in things like public highways, hospitals, schools, utilities, transit, parks and libraries. Today, we all enjoy the benefits of these investments. In recent years, taxes have gone up for working families and down for the wealthiest. Tax cuts have allowed wealthy corporations and executives to skip out on their responsibility to help build a country that provides families with dignity, security and opportunity. Governments must restore tax fairness and ensure public services have enough resources.