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Letter: Now is not the time for progressive thinkers to split the vote

Former city councillor Janet Gasparini says Sudbury has done well having Liberal MPs in a Liberal government, but it’s time to shop around

There is a lot of evidence across this great country that the majority of Canadians are progressive thinkers. Believing that climate change is real, that health care should remain universal, that we should be vaccinated against COVID-19 and that vaccine passports are a good thing … these are values commonly held by the clear majority of Canadians and they unite us in progress.

The trouble is, for those of us on the left, there are three political party options for our votes.

The minority of Canadians who believe in more conservative ideas — that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, that families should get a taxable “baby bonus” instead of securely funded, universally available child care, that it is OK to go slow in responding to climate change — have a reliable ally in Canada’s Conservatives.

In fact, for some of those folks, the Conservatives are not right-leaning enough, and so the People’s Party of Canada has gained some traction.

What we witness from time to time as the progressives move their votes around is that the Conservatives come up the middle and win an election. We then witness the cutting of social programs ostensibly to save money and the lowering of corporate taxes in a much-misguided attempt to grow the economy. 

At the end of the day, the country or the province is left with the same or worse financial situation and people have suffered through the loss of services. Just talk to any family in Ontario with a child with autism.

The reality for us in Greater Sudbury is that the last six years of Liberal governance with Paul Lefebvre in Sudbury and Marc Serré in Nickel Belt, two very effective Liberal members in Ottawa, has provided us with significant investments in our people and our community.

Together, they have brought more than $500 million in investments to this community in six years. Investments in roads, in transit and active transportation, in new housing, in jobs and industry and in post-secondary research.

Compare that to the previous nine years of the Harper government, which considered Sudbury the “Valley of Death,” and there is just no comparison. Being in government makes a big difference.

If you want another example, look at Laurentian University’s insolvency. Everyone knows post-secondary education is a provincial responsibility, but that doesn’t stop the federal NDP from braying at the federal Liberals to go outside their jurisdiction to fix it. Meanwhile, our opposition NDP MPPs are powerless at the provincial level to do anything for Laurentian, and the real culprit — the Conservative government of Doug Ford — has so far gotten a pass.

In this election, continuing to be represented by a Liberal member in a Liberal government will be key to our continued growth and prosperity.

Failing to send a progressive voice to be in government in Ottawa would be a disaster.  We will not bring COVID 19 to a successful conclusion.  We will not make the tough choices required to interrupt the climate catastrophe that is upon us. We will likely lose $10/day child care and we will revert to a theory of trickle down economics that has never worked.

I know people are tired and angry. The pandemic has been hard on everyone. And no one wanted an election right now. But now is not the time to punish ourselves. On Sept. 20 if we do not send two Liberals to Ottawa, we will regret it for a very long time.

Janet Gasparini

Greater Sudbury