I have travelled a lot in recent years, and during those trips, it has become increasingly evident how much Canada’s reputation abroad has changed. Our country is perceived differently, and that is true not just among our traditional allies but also in the new emerging countries. We no longer recognize our country ourselves. We find ourselves contemplating our future with less hope and optimism, and that is a matter of real concern.
Whether we speak of international politics, the economy or justice, the Harper government is creating a Canada that no longer represents our values. In fact, the society based on equality of opportunity that motivated me when I was a youngster growing up in the Charlevoix seems much less real today. That open society enabled me to acquire the wealth of experience in both the public and the private sector that I now want to use to get Canada back on track, because I know we can and must do better. And I want to do that for and with the members and supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada, given that our first essential task is to rebuild our party in every region.
Canada must regain the confidence of Canadians as well as of the rest of the world. To do that, we must first enhance our economic development by favouring regional development. We must continue to take advantage of our natural resources but we must also encourage the growth of a strong knowledge-based economy, supported by technologies based on sustainable development. In that way, we will protect the environment, create new jobs and prepare a better future for ourselves and our children.
We must also re-orient our actions on the values that enabled Canada to become what it is today. The Harper government has greatly harmed the reputation of our country abroad. At home, the Conservatives have dismissed much that Canadians care about, such as a justice system based on prevention and social reintegration, a leading role in international peace-keeping, tolerance of diversity as well as a thirst for justice and equal opportunities.
I want to unite Canadians from every region of the country around what brings us together. Together, let us build a stronger Canada based on Liberal values; a Canada that cares about our social programs and our cultural identity and invests in research and innovation in order to build a strong and sustainable economy that will benefit all Canadians. It won’t be easy but I am ready to meet this challenge, knowing that united, we can. I want to do it together with all the provinces and territories, respecting the spirit of cooperation that must motivate our federation.