Reform's Prescriptions for Canada in Its Next Election Platform

By Manning, Preston | Canadian Speeches, July-August 1996 | Go to article overview

Reform's Prescriptions for Canada in Its Next Election Platform


Manning, Preston, Canadian Speeches


Tonight I ask you to picture Reform as one of those great ships which frequently set sail from ports like Vancouver or Halifax. You and I are captain and crew. Our destination is the next Parliament, the one that will lead Canada into the 21st century.

Between this harbour of Assembly '96 and that distant port lie all the hazards of a voyage on the high seas -- rolling waves of public opinion, the winds of debate and controversy, media storms and squalls, U-boats manned by Liberals, Tories, and special interests.

To successfully sail the high sea, as the poet said, what you need is a tall, tall ship and a star to steer her by. We have the ship, but what will be the basic principle -- the North Star that will guide our journey?

I say that guiding principle must be this: to get close, and stay close, to the Canadian people on the big issues of importance to them. And to persevere until those issues are addressed to the people's satisfaction.

What are those issues of greatest concern to Canadians?

I say there are three: the concern for personal security, the concern for Canada, and the concern for integrity in politics... And tonight let me describe Reform's response to each of those three concerns.

The worried Canadian

To feel the issue of personal security, we need only visit the home of a typical, young Canadian family. Both parents are working, but even so it is hard to pay all the bills at the end of the month. Taxes take a huge bite out of each pay cheque -- taxes are a growing portion of every household budget.

Last year, the husband lost his job and it was a struggle to find another. Both worry about losing their jobs in the future, and wonder where the jobs for their children will come from.

"Don't worry, be happy!" murmurs the prime minister. But in that home -- and thousands like it -- there is worry over jobs and money.

If we linger longer with that family and their friends we find that they are trying hard, and have many blessings, and are proud of living in this country. But at the same time, the worries are expanding, not contracting.

In their community, the waiting lines for medical care are growing longer and longer. They contribute to the Canada Pension Plan, but because they are under 45, they worry that there will be no CPP for them when their retirement comes. They live in a country that has bragged for 30 years about its social safety net, and yet here we have a couple worried about social security! They don't go for walks in the neighborhood at night any longer because there have been too many assaults. And this couple drive their children to school, even though it's only three blocks away, because they fear for their physical safety.

There is worry here--worry about physical and emotional security -- for themselves and their children.

The Reform antidote

Now Reform exists as a federal political party to serve the public at their point of need. Our task, therefore, as Reformers, is to draw close to these worried Canadians and offer understanding and hope. How do we do that, and what can we bring to alleviate their worries over economic, social and physical security?

We come to these homes through TV, or by letter and pamphlet, and we will come in person over the next year as our candidates and volunteers go door-to-door in the next federal election. And when we do so, what can we bring? Based on the policies and principles of Reform's Blue Book, and the policy resolutions you have passed this week, we can bring three things.

First, we bring the prospect of greater economic opportunity. How? Through a tax relief proposal designed to leave more dollars in the pockets of wage earners and local job creators.

The Liberal government will collect $25 billion more in taxes next year than in the year it was elected. And under Liberal economic policy there are over 1. …

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