You and I live at an important historical moment.
Our world is full of highly divisive politics. In western Europe, the UK has been consumed by the Brexit debate for more than three years. Further east, in Poland and Hungary, authoritarian leaders are threatening their political opponents. There is turmoil and unrest in Central and South America. In the US, President Trump may well be impeached before the end of this year. In Canada, we have our own “Mini” Brexiteers led by Jason Kenney, who thinks nothing of consorting with extremists and playing footsie with separatists, all in a transparent ploy to distract from his regressive budget cuts.
Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Jason Kenney foment the politics of division on a daily basis. They systematically create rifts between regions and communities and peoples to achieve their own political ends.
But yet...I have to tell you that in Canada, I see grounds for hope.
The signs are all around us. Just two months ago, half a million people took to the streets of Montreal, with hundreds of thousands more across Canada, demanding ambitious climate change action.
This was followed by federal election, in which the vast majority of Canadians voted for parties promising more justice for Indigenous Canadians, new social programs like Pharmacare and a fairer taxation system. Then in a Broadbent Institute poll done after the election, over three quarters of Canadians said they support this minority Parliament making universal Pharmacare and tangible progress for Indigenous Canadians top priorities.
Let’s be clear: there is overwhelming support for policies that should form the central concerns of the new minority government. Canadians are actually remarkably united about wanting progressive change. The challenge is to translate this into action.
Progress in history doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. It happens in fits and starts. There are moments in history when great progress becomes possible. And, I believe this is one of them.
With a minority government in Ottawa, if parties work together, we have a chance to get some important things done. I can tell you from personal experience that the level of collegiality and cooperation between Parties in minority government situations can be very high.
In past years, it’s been minority governments that have led to many of the social policies Canadians most value. In the 1960s, it was the Pearson minority government, working with Tommy Douglas’s NDP, that produced Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan and our flag. In the 1970s, it was the Pierre Trudeau minority government, working with David Lewis’s NDP, that created the first regulations on political party donations (something that the United States could badly use right about now). In the 2000s, it was the Martin minority government, working with Jack Layton’s NDP, that voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
I’m sure you agree, over the next few years Parliament can and should once more deliver for all Canadians! If Justin Trudeau’s minority government works with Jagmeet Singh’s NDP great things are indeed possible.
But we need to act now to take advantage of this historic opportunity.
The Broadbent Institute was built to move decisively in moments such as these. Minority governments don’t come along very often, so time is of the essence.
We are going to hit the ground running and push this minority government by doing the following:
- Generate original research to educate Canadians and help advance opportunities for transformative progressive legislation;
- Train more emerging activists to be leaders in their communities to demand more positive change and confront dangerous far-right conservatism wherever it rears its head;
- Expand innovative and ambitious on-line tools, such as our media project PressProgress, to help inform the electorate of what is happening in politics and restore trust in our democracy.
If this sounds like a plan you can get behind, then I ask again this year for your support of our work - we don’t have time to waste - we should act quickly.
Friends, in this minority government progressive politicians can negotiate for many of the big things we want; Universal Pharmacare, Dental Care, Climate Action, True Reconciliation with First Nations, and Electoral Reform. It’s our job to keep progressive Canadians informed and engaged on these issues.
We also, as never before, need to stand strongly in opposition to the rise of extreme conservatism and right wing nationalist movements. The world needs us to fight this far-right scourge and win.
This year-end I am asking you to increase your support for our work by inviting you to join the Friends of Progress with a regular monthly donation. All members of the Friends of Progress will be sent a Broadbent Institute supporter card with your identification number in the new year that you can keep with you at all times.
I thank you for your continued support. Please stay in touch and connected with us online - we have lots of work to do in this minority government!
Enjoy the holidays and all the best,
Ed Broadbent Founder and Chair
PS: Remember...Minority governments are a huge opportunity to improve our country. But we should act promptly. Please renew your support for the Broadbent Institute today!