Text of Stephane Dion’s remarks (English)


Canada is facing the impacts of the global economic crisis. Our economy is on the verge of a recession. Canadians are worried about losing their jobs, their homes, their savings. Every economist in the country is predicting increased job losses and deficits for the next few years. 

The federal government has a duty to act and help Canadians weather this storm.

Stephen Harper still refuses to propose measures to stimulate the Canadian economy. His mini-budget last week demonstrated that his priority is partisanship and settling ideological scores.

The Harper Conservatives have lost the confidence of the majority of Members of the House of Commons. In our democracy, in our parliamentary system, in our Constitution, this means that they have lost the right to govern. 

Canadians don’t want another election, they want Parliamentarians to work together. That’s our job. Canadians want their MPs to put aside partisanship and focus on the economy.

The Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party are ready to do this. Jack Layton and I have agreed to form a coalition government to address the impact of the global economic crisis. The Bloc has agreed to support this government on matters of confidence. The Green Party has also agreed to support it.

Our system of government was not born with Canada. It is ancient. There are rules that govern it and conventions that guide it. 

Coalitions are normal and current practice in many parts of the world and are able to work very successfully. They work with simple ingredients: consensus, goodwill and cooperation. Consensus is a great Canadian value. In this spirit, we Liberals have joined in a coalition with the NDP. We have done so because we believe we can achieve more for Canadians through cooperation than through conflict. We believe we can better solve the challenges facing Canada through teamwork and collaboration, rather than blind partisan feuding and hostility.

Our coalition is a consensus to govern with a well-defined program to address the most important issue facing the country: the economy. It is a program to preserve and create jobs and to stimulate the economy in all regions of the country. The elements of the program need to be spelled out and this is what we will do if we are allowed to present it to the House of Commons.

We share the frustration Canadians have about a political crisis that has been allowed to take prominence over the more important economic challenges we face. Elsewhere in the world, leaders are working to cope with the recession, to bring forward the kinds of investments that will help their people and their economies. Politicians are working together. Rivals are working together.

Mr. Harper’s solution is to extend that crisis by avoiding a simple vote. By suspending Parliament and continuing the confusion. We offer a better way. We say settle it now and let’s get to work on the people’s business. A vote is scheduled for next Monday. Let it proceed. And let us all show maturity in accepting the result with grace and the larger task of serving Canadians in mind.

Within one week, a new direction will be established, a tone and focus will be set. We will gather with leaders of industry and labour to work, unlike the Conservatives, in a collaborative, but urgent manner to protect jobs. 

To stimulate the economy and create good well-paid jobs we will not only accelerate already planned investments, but invest significantly more in our country’s infrastructure. Helping our cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal or Halifax build modern, efficient public transit systems. 

Investing in our rural communities so that cherished ways of life are protected for future generations. We can stimulate our economy through investments in clean energy, water and our gateways.

We will invest in our manufacturing, forestry and automotive sectors to protect and create jobs. We believe that in these tough economic times the government has a role to play to ensure that those who are doing their share for the prosperity of our country can continue to provide for the wellbeing of their families.

In times like this our compassion as a country is tested. We believe it is imperative that the government offers Canadians who have already lost their job, whether in the factories of South Western Ontario or the forests of Eastern Quebec and British Columbia, the support they need to live in dignity and develop new skills. 

That is precisely what we intend to provide.

Earlier today I wrote Her Excellency the Governor General. I respectfully asked her to refuse any request by the Prime Minister to suspend Parliament until he has demonstrated to her that he still commands the confidence of the House. 

If Mr. Harper wants to suspend Parliament he must first face a vote of confidence. 

In our Canada, the government is accountable for its decisions and actions in Parliament. 

In our Canada, the government derives its legitimacy from an elected Parliament.

Allow me to end tonight on a personal note. If I am entrusted with the role of Prime Minister for the next months that I have left to serve, I will work day and nights to combat this economic crisis, to do what it takes to minimize its effects on Canadians, to protect jobs and to create jobs.

I will serve my country until my time to serve is at an end.


Text of Stephane Dion’s remarks (English)

  1. Dion is out of effing focus! Is it just my TV? Oh my god…. somebody tell me if he looks as bad on their TV.

  2. Not to worry fellow Canadians,

    we all know that the act of giving a few minute speech on time,

    is far, far more complex than running one of the world’s biggest economies.

  3. Apparantly delivered on his daughter’s webcam.

    It just ooooozes competence doesn’t it.

  4. Arrrrrgh! Damn good message but freaking iffy optics! Seriously?!? Liberal Party, focus dammit, focus!

  5. … plus they shot it (badly) in front of some cluttered bookshelf. This was Dion’s chance to look Prime Ministerial! Blown opportunity.

    Perhaps I’m over-reacting, but I’m embarrassed for what the Liberal Party has become under Dion. We’re so… lame.

  6. ,,, oh and where was a big FLAG? Haven’t we learned anything in the last 24 hours.

  7. Perfectly clear to me Kody. Try removing your Groucho Marx mask.

    Now excuse me while I go for some Blind Partisan Fooding. I’ll make it fast.

  8. The speech was well organized and, given his English difficulty , fairly well delivered.

    One thing – the focus was good enough to see the spine of a book over his right shoulder. Title “Hot Air”.

    Optics aren’t everything, but …….

  9. Sisyphus, that’s Jeff Simpson’s climate change book. Very readable indictment of the lack of action in Canada over the last 20 years.

  10. >If I am entrusted with the role of Prime Minister for the next months that I have left to serve, I will work day and nights to combat this economic crisis, to do what it takes to minimize its effects on Canadians, to protect jobs and to create jobs.

    I guess he’ll have to; that “council of 4” turns out to be an exaggeration. Are his plans for the economy equally vacuous, or just half-baked?

  11. Sisyphus, maybe it was my set. I hope so. But to me it looked like they had him focused to sit further back, and then he moved forward or something, so that that damnable bookcase (and not even a nice one, BTW) was sharper than he was. Plus he looked orange. Okay, that’s it, I have to try to let this go. (we’re doomed people, doomed!)

  12. I don’t see it as a terrible presentation. Amateurish, old fashioned, and basic. And so , in a way …. oddly comforting.

  13. I would much rather be forced to go to another election and deal with the instability that might create then further watch this debacle tear apart the limited stability that Canada has left in this time of global economic crisis. Does Dion even have the support of his party as a leader, let alone feeling he has the right to attempt to lead the country?

  14. Kinda …..humble. At least not as freakish as Harper talking down to us simple minions.

  15. The camera’s backfocus was out. A very simple, college student skill but apparently the cuts to the liberal party may have meant they couldn’t afford a real cameraperson. I mean seriously. A book that says “Hot Air’ in the background. Who is advising this ‘coalition’ and how can we trust them to solve our economic crisis when they can’t even hire a competent tv crew?

  16. CTV/Fox didn’t broadcast the whole speech from Mr. Dion.. they are more biased than Fox some times.

  17. Sisyphus: “I don’t see it as a terrible presentation. Amateurish, old fashioned, and basic. And so , in a way …. oddly comforting.”

    I agree! I don’t think mahogany goes down that well with most Canadians. Dion seemed much more human, much more like a guy trying to do his best. Harper looked like a guy who’s got you exactly where he wants you. Layton sounded a bit like Lenin (not a bad thing).

  18. I assume that Mr. Layton’s comments will also be posted? Or, at the very least, an explanation given as to why they have not been, despite the fact that they were distributed to all journos in the pool?

    Could it be that Macleans fails to recognise the difference between a coalition of two separate parties and a merger that would create one?

    Or is it the usual practice of marginalising the NDP…

  19. Very good speech.But their not doing much for the economy.We have a big and beutiful country,lets not
    destroy our way of life.

  20. Thanks for providing this, I couldn’t understand what Dion was trying to say. He needs to slow down and enunciate his words better. Also, was that the best take they had on video? It was out of focus, Hot Air book in the background, and he corrected himself a few times.

    I think Dion made a mistake by not focusing way more on what the coalition has planned in the way of spending. Half the speech was trying to justify taking power away from Cons but I don’t believe Dion, or any other member of Coalition, is going to able to convince electorate this is all ok because its technically legal. Dion should have focused way more on spending/stimulus plans to try and convince us the Coalition is acceptable.

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