Since my election in 2011, it has been an honour and a privilege to serve my country and the people of Kingston and the Islands as your Member of Parliament. My original reason for entering political life still guides me: Our children deserve to inherit our world without the troubles we have created.
As a husband, and father of two young daughters, I have been especially sensitive to the accumulated burdens that political life has placed on my own family — which is why I have chosen not to run for re-election in 2015. I hope to return to political life when my children are older.
I will serve and energetically represent my constituents until the end of my term as MP, and look forward to accomplishing as much as possible in the coming year. I enjoy this job and will continue to approach it with as much fervour as I did when I was first elected.
Thereafter, I will continue to actively pursue the same goals that inspired my entry into politics. I will just do it closer to the home front.
I wish to thank those who have helped me along this political journey. As I have served, my family has served with me and shared in the sacrifices necessary to earn this office and perform its functions. I thank them for their service to Canada.
I also want to thank my extended family and friends and, beyond them, all who have made it possible for me to serve as a Member of Parliament: my office staff and volunteers, the Liberal riding association, campaign workers, donors, and supporters, as well as Liberal caucus colleagues and staff in Ottawa. All of these people have served Canada alongside me and I thank them.
Kingston, Ontario, August 7, 2014
I’d like to share the words I spoke four years ago at the very beginning to launch my campaign for the Liberal Party nomination in Kingston and the Islands
[Delivered on July 6, 2010, Ongwanada Centre, Kingston, ON]
Thank you all for coming. C’est un plaisir de vous voir.
Ce soir, le voyage commence.
Tonight I, and I hope many of you, we begin a journey.
The first step of that journey is to acknowledge the many accomplishments and years of service of the Honourable Peter Milliken as the Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. The person who succeeds Mr. Milliken will step out of a big shadow and then must aim high if he or she aspires to represent Kingston and the Islands as well as you have come to expect.
Tonight I want especially to thank my family for being here. I want to thank my parents, my uncle and aunts, my wife Tara and my daughters Ella and Vera-Claire – my children who set me on my journey.
My journey into politics did not begin in a boardroom. Or at the office. Or as an intellectual exercise. It began after my older daughter was born, during the three years I spent as a stay-at-home Dad, changing the diapers, doing the care and feeding.
And that means that many of you will recognize where I’m starting from, my motives, since I am certainly not the first person to look down at little children and be moved to ask a big question.
How is everything going to turn out for them when I’m gone?
- Will Ella & Vera-Claire be able to work and earn a living wage from a meaningful job?
- Will their society be productive enough to properly care for the ill, the elderly?
- Will they be heavily taxed by the burden of environmental damage?
As I studied economic, social, and environmental trends, I realized that I, and my generation, had to provide a different kind of ‘child-care’. I had to help make sure that our children and grandchildren don’t have to clean up our messes.
It’s as simple as that. And it’s as difficult as that. We have to take care of business in a way that we do not hand on a debt of troubles to our children, and their children.
Our present federal government has no vision beyond taking and holding political power! If we ignore that, future generations will bear the burden of our inattention. If we let a government buy power by feeding consumption today and foregoing investments for tomorrow, future generations will be deprived of the returns from sorely needed investments in people, knowledge, social institutions, and preservation of the natural environment.
No! We must harness political power to develop the incredible opportunities that lie all around us. We must invest in tomorrow so that our children and grandchildren will inherit a wealthy portfolio of wise choices.
You know, we Canadians have common goals – facing them need not divide us along party lines.
- Social Justice and fairness to future generations do not belong to any one party.
- Fiscal foresight and responsibility do not belong to any one party.
- Environmental protection does not belong to any one party.
The urgency of these challenges motivates us all.
So I’m talking about common goals.
But I am a Liberal.
- We Liberals believe that every person’s potential should be realized to the fullest extent possible and that every person’s potential should have an equal chance to be realized.
- We believe that government should be responsible for ensuring that equity.
- We believe that the government must unite Canadians in order to achieve these aspirations
When I say unite I mean giving all Canadians access to things like shelter, a solid education , decent health care, a healthy natural environment, safe communities, and security in old age.
With this in mind,
I believe … that Canadians living tomorrow must be united with Canadians living today.
I believe the Liberal Party is the best party to take on the job of uniting Canadians living tomorrow and today, and I believe that I am the best person to help the Liberal Party take a step towards doing that by winning in Kingston and the Islands.
And so I stand before you today, sustained by my family, friends, and colleagues, and love for the place where I grew up, to declare that I am a contestant to become the next federal Liberal Party candidate for Kingston and the Islands.
The first duty of a member of parliament is to serve his constituents and my first qualification for that job is that I grew up in Kingston and, after working abroad, I chose to come back to Kingston. Not because I got a job here but because I chose to come back to the city I love, to my family, to the place I want to raise my children.
As a member of parliament I will advocate for the interests of my home riding. I will be at the service of municipal leaders in Kingston and the Islands to work for local priorities. As Executive Director of SWITCH I’m already working to promote local job creation and investment in the sustainable energy sector, a sector that has great potential for the Kingston region in the 21st century. My work as a manager in the financial industry gave me real life business, management, and economic experience and I will put that to work for Kingston and the Islands.
With your support, I will be a hard-working member of parliament who stands out in the House of Commons. I will stand out as somebody who instinctively thinks about facts and numbers, and enjoys creative problem solving more than knee-jerk partisanship. That comes from my background as a scientist. We could use a few scientists and engineers in our legislatures!
When you compare me to other candidates, you’ll see that I am an uncommon candidate:
- a Canadian who is grateful to this country and its people for welcoming his Chinese immigrant parents;
- a physicist whose years in research taught him the value of careful, quantitative thought;
- a business manager, whose global experience has given him a special perspective on his home town;
- a father taking care of his children’s everyday needs, worrying about the world they will inherit.
When you compare me to other candidates, you’ll see that I am an uncommon candidate who will work for our common goals.
We must have a government with vision – an honest and progressive vision – that recognizes the dangers of “business as usual”.
We must have a government that is willing to ask Canadians to pay their fair share to ensure the welfare of future generations.
We must ask Canadians for their attention… so they will choose political leaders capable of doing this important job.
What do I mean by ‘attention’? It’s what you are doing tonight: participating in this democratic process, the process of choosing a candidate for the Liberal Party in Kingston and the Islands. When you leave here tonight, this is what our campaign needs you to do: please go and ask others for their attention. Convince them to join the Liberal Party so that they can vote at the nomination meeting. Talk to them and ask them to join up, for you, and vote, for me.
Il s’agit de mes idéaux. Je suis conscient des défis quotidiens auxquels un député doit faire face. Votre député se devra d’abord de résoudre les problèmes des particuliers de sa circonscription, défendre Kingston et les Iles, et assurer les autres tâches parlementaires pour le bien-être de tous les Canadiens. Les idéaux dont j’ai parlé ne constituent pas une “fiche de poste” décrivant par le menu le travail quotidien. Mais, à l’heure des décisions politiques difficiles que j’aurai inévitablement à prendre, ces idéaux seront une boussole et ils m’aideront à prendre les bonnes décisions en tant que député.
I’ve spoken about my ideals. But I’m aware of the daily challenges that a member of parliament faces. As member of parliament, I must solve problems for my constituents; I must be an advocate for Kingston and the Islands, and I must attend to parliamentary duties for the good of all Canadians. That’s the job description. These ideals I’ve spoken about aren’t the job description. But ideals are crucial. When the inevitable tough political decisions need to be made, these ideals will serve as a compass, to help me make those decisions on my political journey.
Si vous partagez ces idéaux, alors venez, venez, partons ensemble et appliquons-nous à faire de ces idéaux une réalité.
If you share these ideals, if you are inspired by these ideals, then come – come make the political journey with me, to make them a reality.
Let the journey begin!