‘This Conservative government wants us to believe we have to accept less’


The prepared text of Thomas Mulcair’s speech to the NDP caucus this morning.

Thank you very much.

Feel the energy in this room.

This is the team that speaks for Canadians.

This is the team that’s going to hold the Conservative government to account.

And this is the team that will build a stronger, fairer Canada.

Over the summer, we’ve fanned out across this great country to do something politicians don’t do all that well these days.

We listened to Canadians.

This summer I’ve travelled from Victoria to Caraquet and from St. John’s to Calgary.

Just last week I had the chance to meet with business and community leaders throughout Southern Ontario.

I visited factories and employment centres in cities like Windsor, Brantford and Oshawa places battered by job losses.

And everywhere I went, I met honest, hardworking Canadians who told me they feel left out of Stephen Harper’s Canada.

The auto parts worker in London who worries his shop and his job will be the next one shut down.

The deckhand off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador who wonders if he’ll get his EI this winter.

The mother of two in Gaspé who knows she’ll have to work an extra two years before she can retire.

In Mr. Harper’s Canada, these are the people left to fend for themselves.

In Mr. Harper’s Canada, if you’re not a well-connected insider, you’re simply not on the radar.

The truth is, this Conservative government wants us to believe that we have to accept less. That our children have to accept less.

Our Prime Minister tells us the services and benefits we’ve relied on for generations are suddenly unaffordable.

Institutions that define who we are as a country: universal, free, public health care, Old Age Security, Employment Insurance.

Yet he continues to dish out massive tax cuts and subsidies to some of Canada’s worst polluters.

Despite 50 years of economic growth, Canadians are falling behind.

Yet for the friends of this government, the tap is flowing as freely as ever.

Just last week, Mr. Harper called this “the new normal.”

Well I’m here to tell you the Prime Minister is wrong.

Because New Democrats are going to show Canadians that we can do better.

New Democrats believe in a Canada where we work together and lift each other up.

Our history is filled with examples of what we can achieve when we are united not divided.

New Democrats believe in a Canada that meets its obligations today but also builds for the future.

For our children’s future.

And in a country that leaves our communities better than off, not struggling to get by.

That’s the vision four-and-a-half million Canadians voted for last year.

Day-in-and-day-out, it’s the vision New Democrats are fighting for.

We’re showing Canadians that we can achieve more when we work together.

And that the public has a right to expect better of all politicians.

New Democrats are showing that you can vote for the change you want and actually get it.
My team and I will continue to hold Mr. Harper’s Conservatives to account.

For their reckless budget choices.

For their scandals and mismanagement.

Here we have a Prime Minister who spent last spring lurching from scandal to scandal.

But instead of hitting the reset button instead of showing even an ounce of the accountability he once promised Mr. Harper stubbornly dug in his heels.

We have a government that’s taken the biggest military procurement in our history and turned it into a fiasco.

It’s clear now that the F-35 file has been botched from day one.

A rigged procurement process $10 billion hidden from Parliament costs spiralling out of control one set of books for cabinet, another for the Canadian public.

And after all that, we still don’t have a plane that meets Canada’s needs.

So our job as New Democrats and my job as Opposition leader is to hold this government’s feet to the fire.

To make it abundantly clear what these Conservatives are all about and how New Democrats would be different.

That’s why, this fall, we’ll put forward a positive, optimistic message for Canadians to see.

One that creates the good-paying jobs and long-term growth we need without sacrificing our environment.

One that restores the balanced economy we’ve had for generations instead of putting all our eggs in the resources basket.

One that builds opportunity for young people instead of letting them drown in debt.

And one that holds true to the values that make us Canadian where no one is left behind.

Canadians trust the New Democrats to do politics differently.

And friends, let me tell you, that’s just what we’re going to do.

All across this country it’s a great time to be a New Democrat.

Right here in Ottawa for the first time Stephen Harper faces a strong, determined, structured Official Opposition.

In Manitoba and Nova Scotia, New Democratic governments are proving that we are extraordinarily competent public administrators.

Next May, BC will join that list and elect a New Democratic government.
In Ontario, Andrea Horwath is showing Queen’s Park and all of Ontario what real leadership is all about.

And for the first time ever, the NDP is the party of choice in Newfoundland and Labrador.

But make no mistake our work is not done.

In fact, it’s just begun.

Now we have to work even harder to reach out to Canadians right across the country.

Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to unite progressives of every stripe under the NDP banner.

Last May, Canadians gave New Democrats a historic opportunity.

They elected the first NDP Official Opposition and the first federalist majority in Quebec in over two decades.

New Democrats must rise to the occasion.

I know we are ready.

Because we’re the only party with the hopeful progressive optimistic vision to unite Canadians from coast-to-coast-coast.

Our team is made up of competent and well informed people. We are not the only ones who think so.

Our colleague Joe Comartin has just been appointed Deputy Speaker of the House.

I would like to congratulate him and promise him our full collaboration to restore a bit of civility in Parliament.

I also want to congratulate the MP for Toronto-Danforth, Craig Scott, who will succeed Joe as Official Opposition critic for Parliamentary and Democratic Reform.

We’re not going to wait until 2015 to prove that the New Democratic Party is ready to govern, because Canadians already count on us.

We’re going to force the Conservatives to explain themselves this week.

On Thursday, we’re going to debate a motion of our own, asking the House to recognize that Canada is currently experiencing a time of unprecedented economic downturn, which has weakened many parts of the country.

We’re going to demand that Stephen Harper accept his responsibilities and work with the other governments of the country to build a balanced economy for the 21st century.

We’ve already seen what we can accomplish by working together

We must give a strong voice to all Canadians.

We’ll see if Stephen Harper is up to the task.

Together, we can build a fairer Canada and a better world.

Now let’s get the job done.

Thank you.

Filed under:

‘This Conservative government wants us to believe we have to accept less’

  1. Where’s the rolling credits?

  2. I’d like to know just what he proposes to DO to restore that balanced economy at a bad time in the US? I’m not against it in principle but what does it mean in practise? A slower pace of resource development? Well maybe? What else?The fact is that resource development makes sense in large parts of this country regardless. It will be a difficult circle to square for anyone.

  3. The deckhand who collects ei every winter? gimme a break, you choose to work a seasonal job than accept the fact that when you choose not to work for the winter your gonna have to live off your savings and budget more responsibly. Why should the rest of us pay you an allowance and support you based on your choice not to work a real job all year? Yes you pay into ei but the amount you receive from it throughout the winter far exceeds what you’ve ever put in. Think of the government as management of a business, they aren’t there to hold your hand and coddle you through life. Work and contribute to our society and don’t be a leech. We can’t help those that don’t want to be helped, it’s a waste of time and tax payers money. NDP is a joke, making expensive promises with no fiscal policy, plan or way to pay for them… Their whole platform is based on giving people who choose not to contribute or demand hand outs whatever they like, incentives to be lazy and not work instead of earning and paying your own way through life. Why do you think the whiney leechs in Quebec voted for them?

    • That you, Mitt? Sorry, I think you’ve blundered into Canada.

      • So, raising taxes in order to pay for excessive social services to prop up a minority of the populus at the expense of those who choose to work hard and better our own lives is acceptable to you? Basic economics 101 tells us high taxes drives away business, in turn our entire economy suffers and there’s less money to pay for these services which now cost more…

        • Thanks for sharing your American mythology with us. See how far it gets you and your kindred spirits in the presidential and congressional elections in November..

          • Your welcome, unfortunately it’s sad I need to reiterate to you that I’m not American and if I were I would vote dem. Yes, it is simplistic and a very basic point of view, the point is not moot. But clearly even though I dumb it down for you you still don’t grasp the concept. You sleep well tonight knowing that your EI checks are available to you to pay for your internet access. All so you can exorcise your freedom of speech and disagree with me. Yet you have yet to make a valid argument to support your position. All made possible by the hard work of Canadians like me who work 70 hours a week and PAY taxes.

          • “…exorcise [sic] your freedom of speech”? Good one! That’s hilarious! I don’t need to “exorcise” my freedom of speech. The Con mob in this government are busy doing it for me.

            “All made possible by the hard work of Canadians like me who work 70 hours a week and PAY taxes.”

            Jeez, and I thought it was the so-called progressives who were supposed to be the “whiners”.

          • @82c3caa451ff0d08f83d6e8dc474856b:disqus – I agree with your point of view, however you put it in a blunt and not very politically correct manner. You make for a strong arguement though. Words like “leech” and “lazy” have very negative undertones and though many may agree (like myself) they are strong words. Just sayin’.
            @neuroticdog:disqus – I thought what he said about “exorcise” was a play on words when I read it, kinda funny if you think about it. If it wasn’t and it was a misuse/incorrect spelling, whatever, he still gets his point across and you are aware of what it is he is saying. Instead of picking apart flaws in grammer or use of the english language, support your argument with something of substance.

          • Your right, I could have put it more delicately. No I wasn’t playing on words, although it is kinda funny if I were, my phone autocorrected improperly.
            @neuroticdog:disqus You have yet to come up with something constructive to support yourself, also, you don’t even deny that my tax dollers are paying you through EI so you can sit around all day and argue with me on the Net…

          • Hehe, it’s great that you left wingers consider Economics 101 to be “American mythology”. And you wonder why people don’t trust your type with the economy?

          • That’s not Economics 101 he’s spouting. It’s Milton Friedman Economics for Dummies which is, indeed, largely American mythology.

          • Really? So you don’t believe higher taxes are bad for business and people? Are you suggesting that higher taxes would be better for business and people? If so, why hasn’t any government ever tried raising taxes to 100% and just sitting by and watching while the country flourishes?

            Maybe Mulcair could make you his finance critic.

          • haha well put.

          • “If so, why hasn’t any government ever tried raising taxes to 100% and just sitting by and watching while the country flourishes?”

            See, it’s idiotic statements like that the make such a debate pointless. And no, higher taxes aren’t inherently evil if they are are leveraged strategically in economic development.

          • You can’t refute anything of what others are saying as you have yet to provide proof or evidence to the contrary that support your hypothesis.

          • WTF?? Sorry, I only understand conventional English grammar.

          • Idiotic statement? Is that the best you can offer in this debate? I’m simply pointing out the obvious, which you’re not even attempting to refute. But allow me to dumb it down a bit more.

            You could provide an example of a country that’s ruined it’s economy by lowering taxes and less government spending, but I’m willing to bet that you can’t. Because it’s never happened. In fact it’s widely known that lower taxes will attract business, capital and talent. This isn’t Milton Friedman economics, it’s basic human psychology.

            On the other hand, there are countless examples of government’s excessively taxing their people and funding programs by borrowing too much money which have had catastrophic effects.

            So we know that higher taxes can be dangerous, but we don’t know that lower taxes can be dangerous. From a risk management standpoint, the choice is clear as day. We also know that the easiest way for the government to increase tax revenue is to grow it’s tax base, ie: attract more business and workers. What helps do that? Lower taxes.

            And yes, taxes themselves are inherently evil. It’s the act of taking something from a person against their will. Now, most people are willing to put up with a bit of it to provide essential services, but suggesting that raising taxes just to give the government more money to spend on “leveraged strategic economic development” completely ignores the fact that that’s exactly what the private sector does with that some money, only in a more efficient way.

            So, in short… thanks for your brilliant contribution.

          • Wow. So by that argument, if we reduced taxes to zero and dissolved government completely, we’d be living in paradise.

            You know, like Somalia.

          • Somalia didn’t lower taxes to 0, it had a civil war and was unable to collect taxes. The government didn’t dissolve, the people refused to acknowledge it. But it should also be noted that even without a national government, many Somalians stayed in the “country”, and are there to this day.

            So aside from your strawman, can you provide an example of a country that strategically lowered it’s tax rates and spending over the long run to the point that the country was irreparably damaged? Can you find me an example of a country that has taxed it’s people near 100% and survived in any kind of recognizable fashion?

            It should also be noted that prior to the civil war in Somalia, the economy was controlled almost exclusively by the military government, which – not shockingly – collected a helluva lot of taxes. The result? Civil war.

          • You still don’t know your arguments. Mine’s not a strawman, it’s a reducto ad absurdum. Taking your straw man premise of taxes at 100% destroying a country and inverting it to show that taxes at 0% do the same thing. The pedantic difference between not collecting taxes and not having any, as well as not recognizing a government and not having any, is only useful as a pathetic last ditch attempt to defend an undefendable position.

            Oh. And incidentally, there are many smaller systems of governance that survive with 100% taxes. We call them monasteries or communes, typically.

          • Here are 2 examples of the Economics you say are myth.
            Alberta: Amoung the lowest taxes in the country = Strongest econemy per capita without question amoung the large/high population provinces.
            Quebec: Amoung the highest taxes in the country = The absolute worst econemy amoung the large/high population provinces.

          • That’s a facile argument. Give any other province the natural resources Alberta is burning through (squandering, some would say) and they’d have equally low taxes.

          • Quebec has plenty of natural resources, lumber, mining, hydro and yes, even oil/natural gas. Not to mention double the workforce. The provicial government CHOOSES not to exploit them. The people (of Quebec) protested a job fair that was hiring people to work to develop those industries. Who protests a job fair? All that in order to say “We’re green. We’re broke, but we’re green”
            Alberta’s government CHOOSES to take advantage of what they have. And it’s good that they devoloped those industries, without them, the rest of us would be in a whole lot worse shape.

          • Ireland. Among the lowest taxes in the entire world. Economic basket case.
            Denmark. Among the highest taxes in the entire world. Economically sound.

            So right there we disprove your hypothesis. But wait, I hear you saying, there are vast geographic and resource differences between those places? Well.. maybe.. why that applies there and not between Alberta and Quebec, I’m not sure, but let’s give you that one for the moment.

            So instead, let’s look at the productivity growth in one region that’s had a variety of top tax rates over the years. Looking at the US, from 1950-1963, the average top income tax rate was a massive 91.1%. HOLY CRAP.. obviously their economy was in a shambles right? No. It wasn’t. The average annual productivity growth rate was 3.5%. Pretty damned good, actually.

            Then the US started lowering their top tier tax rates. 1964-1980 saw an average top tax rate of 71.2% and contrary to your thesis, average annual productivity growth declined. To 2.2%.

            1981-1986 gave top rates of 53.2%, growth of only 2.1%

            1987-1992: 30.8% top rate, 1.7% growth.

            Well.. maybe it just has something to do with how big they’ve gotten and how hard it is to keep growing at the same rates, right? Maybe.

            Except from 1993-2002 the top rate swung back up again — to 39.5%.. and growth went back up to 2.1%.

            It seems there’s a reason that the 100 level courses are typically regarded as prepatory in most institutions.

          • And no, it has nothing to do with American ideology, it is of the absolute most basic platform when operating virtualy any economic system.

          • You are correct sir.

        • There’s a reason there’s more advanced courses in economics.

      • P.S. Services like EI are intended to help one pay for the basic necessities of life, food, clothing, shelter. It’s no secret that in the days following these checks coming out, liqueur sales go up by as much as 30%. I’m for helping those in need but not interested in paying for peoples recreation, booze and cable tv. These are things those of us who work and have expendable income are entitled to enjoy.

        • Don’t forget to mention those “welfare queens” that are favorite props in your simplistic narrative.

        • Those cheques go out every day, dude, so it’s hard to know what you’re talking about there – that is, assuming you’re doing anything more than talking out your bum. And hey, “liqueur” sales? Like, Creme de Menthe?

        • Cody, a lot of the reason these jobs are seasonal is because those are the ONLY jobs available in the region. Take Newfoundland for example, fishing is obviously a traditional market – and it isn’t a full-year job. So unless everyone vacates the province, they’re going to have to work seasonally – and I’d rather them have a decent living, not struggle because their region doesn’t provide full employment.

  4. Some words come to mind “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. The republican Mitt R. recently criticized 47% of his country for not contributing, by no means do I agree whole heartedly with him, but his sentiment rings true. Don’t get confused I’d vote dem if I were American. But here in Canada we have the same problem. We all have to make sacrifices to make this country great, some more than others. Politics are flawed by nature, however they are a necessary evil.

    • Oh, now I see…you’re not Mitt, you’re just channeling him.