A Coalition for Change

It has been a raucous week in Parliament, and now we have a Prime Minister who is desperately clinging to power at any cost.

I’ve had emails from many people – across the country and of course, from East Van. A few have been vicious, regrettably – but many people seemed to be encouraged by the idea of a new coalition, focussed on real change and help for people, especially given the economic recession and lack of action from Harper’s government.

In Vancouver, even before the election, many people raised the possibility of a progressive coalition to defeat Harper’s agenda. The opportunity arose last Thursday, when the Finance Minister delivered a Economic and Fiscal Update that was completely unsupportable for the NDP and the two other opposition parties.

I want to see an economic package to help local communities and people facing job loss. We desperately need housing and an end to homelessness. We need public transit, a new green economy, and good jobs. Childcare is badly needed, and also reform to EI so people can access support when they need it.

In these exceptional circumstances, we need leadership that is willing to rise above partisanship and name- calling. So to me, it is responsible and legitimate, within our Parliamentary system, to seek to work with other parties to find strong common ground for the broader public interest.

I know not everyone agrees with that, and certainly Harper’s desperation means he is striking out to create fear and panic that the “separatists” are taking over etc. Of course we are used to Harper’s politics of fear – he relies on it. To be clear, the BQ are not part of the proposed coalition – though they are willing to support it, on the basis of a common program to help people.

It’s ironic that Harper himself has relied on the Bloc to support two of his budgets in the past. It was ok then, but now that it’s going the other way – it’s suddenly an “evil” thing!

All in all, I try to keep my focus on what needs to be done to help people in the community, who are facing hardship and uncertainty. Sometimes that means forging new coalitions to prevent something bad from happening.

It has certainly been an intense week – and it’s not even finished yet! Thank you for all the feedback – all points of view, respected.