Coalition rallies for support in Charlottetown

      Compromise and discussion are the characteristics of a real democracy and this is not what we have seen in the Harper government, said NDP interim leader for P.E.I. James Rodd during a pro-coalition government rally in Charlottetown yesterday.

     Representatives for the P.E.I. Federation of Labour, Liberal Party, and New Democratic Party gathered at the Murphy Community Centre in Charlottetown to hold a discussion period with a crowd of 80-100 Island residents about the positive aspects of a coalition government, as well as any concerns they would have.

     The rally began with an introduction from the P.E.I. Federation of Labour President Carl Pursey.

     Pursey said labour unions are highly interested in this power struggle between Harper and the newly formed coalition because of the negative impact the Harper government has had on the Canadian economy and work force.

     “Canada has lost roughly 400,000 jobs, Canadian Pensions are now at risk, equal pay for women is at risk, and while governments around the world are taking action in this time of global economic crisis, Harper has been cutting back on Party spending instead of investing in our economy.”

     Pursey also said the coalition is a justified and democratic movement to remove an un-effective government and with only 38-persent of Canadians behind Harper, the coalition would make Canada a clear majority.

     “The Coalition is not over, even though today’s events set them back a bit. The battle has just begun.”

     Jane Ledwell, representing the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, gave a brief speech before introducing the two political party representatives.

     Ledwell said she was in favour of the coalition because the government can only be truly empowered by working together and the coalition is the only chance for it happening.

     “The parties may have differences in their platforms but they have more similarities which bring them together. We must also work together as citizens, so they can form the new government.”

     The next speaker to take the podium was Liberal riding association president for Malpeque, Harry Keilly.

     Keilly said he was going to say something about Stephen Harper, in which none has ever said about him before. He said Harper was an intelligent man and he is a very serious threat to the coalition’s plan to form government.

     “We must unite the left of center much like Mr. Harper has united the right. The only way to do this is unison, integration, and integration and we’ll finally have a united Canada.”

     Keilly also mentioned the current economic situation. He said even in George W. Bush’s conservative America, they are making sensible investments in an attempt to save their economy, while Harper does nothing.

     “Mr. Harper prefers to sit on his hands, as he uses his, ‘leave it alone and it will fix itself’ strategy. We plan to invest money into our country’s economy to help prevent a disaster instead of just doing nothing.”

     After Keilly made his case for the coalition, Rodd was able to make his own case in favour of a new coalition government.

     Rodd began his speech with a question to the people. He said he was part of the 62-persent majority and asked if the crowd were as well. Of course the crowd reacted with thunderous applause.

     Rodd said Canada is in a clear recession with Canadian jobs and key industries like auto manufacturers and forestries are in risk of going under.

     “With Harper endangering our economy by playing these political games, we are prepared to get on the ice and fight him with all we have.”

     Rodd also said this new coalition is a democracy because the Members of Parliament are voted in by the people.

     “The Liberal and NDP MPs are doing what they are elected by the people to do in the best interest of the people.”

     Much like Keilly did, Rodd made mention of Harper’s reaction to the global economic crisis.

     “Mr. Harper was just sitting on hands, hoping the whirlwind would not hit Canada directly. He has taken government funding away from political parties but he has not taken out the funding from big businesses.”

     “If he were with on us on this issue, he would cut out the funding from big business and he would work along side us and we would fight this economic crisis together.”

     He concluded his speech when he said the new government would work together with the Obama government on issues of economy and global warming and that they were the better path on the current Canadian crossroad.

     “It’s your Canada. Start voicing what you want in your government. Like Thomas Douglas once said, ‘it is never too late to build a country.’”

     After the evening’s event had ended, both party representatives were asked if they had ever thought they would see the day when both parties would come together to form this coalition.

     Keilly said with a laugh that he had been advocating it for years but no one would listen to him.

     But with joking aside, he said this merger is not going to be easy or be perfect over night.

     “Even though we have differences but they are not all to great. Will be it be the best choice? Time will tell. For time the being we are coming to compromises regarding the Liberal Green Shift and the NDP’s Cap and Trade policies. Positive change can happen.”

     Rodd said this is not the first time the party has worked closely with the Liberals to get such things as unemployment insurance and medicare.

     “Ever since the days of the CCF during the 60’s, New Democrats have worked with other parties for the best interest of the Canadian people.”

     “If it is good policy, then a good government will adopt it. The NDP and Liberal coalition plans to aid the economy is an example of this.”

   LiberalrcLiberal representative Harry Keilly speaking to the audience of a pro-coalition rally in Charlottetown Thursday Dec. 4, 2008

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