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We are the balance of power

This morning I feel very determined about the road ahead.

Yesterday, Canadians went to the polls and elected a minority government. That means you and I have an opportunity to hold all parties to account and to assert the role of ordinary people in driving the change we want and know is needed.

Like you, I am deeply concerned about the climate and environmental crises, which are already affecting the lives of millions of people around the world. I worry on behalf of young people about the Earth they are inheriting. Canadians were clear. We want the government to act quickly and decisively to protect our living world and bring about a just transition for our economy – we have no time to waste in making our voices heard. These changes must right the wrongs endured by Indigenous peoples and include a just transition to sustainable jobs for working people.

Trudeau’s Liberals won 155 seats in the House of Commons, falling short of the 170 seats needed for a majority, and will have to work with other parties to achieve their mandate. More than 22 per cent of voters cast their ballots for strong climate action, voting for the NDP and the Green Party, making a strong case for the Liberals to work with them.

The Council of Canadians, with our more than 150,000 supporters from coast-to-coast-to-coast, can play a pivotal role in working with others in civil society as the people’s “balance of power.” We will ensure that the issues you care about continue to be top political priorities.

This includes creating a national pharmacare program based on the same principles of medicare that ensures people have access to the medications they need, regardless of their income.

It also includes democratic reform to bring in proportional representation so next time, all of our votes will count equally and parties will not be able to win elections with only a fraction of the popular vote. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals promised this in 2015 – and then quickly broke their promise. With your support, the Council of Canadians will do everything possible to put this critical issue back on the political agenda.

We must also be vigilant of creeping privatization of water, health care and other key services. Too often, political parties are beholden to corporate interests. They turn to private corporations to provide “solutions” to our country’s needs, but at a price. We will fight to keep public services in public hands.

There is great opportunity with a minority government for political leaders to take responsibility for working together in the best interest of all Canadians – and it is up to you and I to ensure they do.

Council of Canadians chapter members and supporters will be meeting with MPs in their communities and encouraging people to act for social, economic and environmental justice. We don’t celebrate the promises made by any political party – we know all too well that actions speak louder than words.

But we do look forward to celebrating positive change with you. We will fight against the power of corporations and for fair trade, clean and public water, democratic reform, improved public health care, and bold, effective measures to confront the climate and environmental crises. Simply put, we will hold this government to account.

I am heartened by what I am seeing in many parts of our country. Popular opinion is shifting and more people are standing up for a just transition away from fossil fuels, genuine truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and for solutions to increasing income inequality in our country. Across the country, Council of Canadians supporters went to the polls to vote for a Green New Deal that includes all of those values – and we won’t stop there.

As this government finds its feet in the coming weeks, we’ll be working too. We can be bold in building the momentum for a better Canada and a better world.

I am deeply grateful for your ongoing commitment to the Council of Canadians. Together, we are the balance of power!