I understand why Kathleen Wynne is campaigning on fear.
It is because courage has a way of becoming infectious, of spreading from person to person, of becoming irresistible if it is not suppressed.
I recall vividly the first time I organized a Take-Back-The-Night march in Hamilton how courage coursed through the crowd as we took strength from one another and took back the streets.
I can feel the same thing when people in Parkdale and Davenport go door-to-door organizing against Liberal plans to run up to 450 dirty diesel trains through their neighbourhoods, polluting back yards and school yards.
I feel it when people organize to take back Toronto’s waterfront and block Liberal plans to allow jet planes to land on the lakefront; mega casinos to blight the cityscape; or the Ontario Municipal Board to bulldoze communities.
These are the kind of moments when courage thrives, when it starts to spread, and when you will find New Democratic candidates who stand by their communities.
As I travel the province and visit places that have been abandoned by the Liberals, like Windsor and Sudbury, I can feel the momentum building, the courage spreading.
The Liberals have grown increasingly desperate, lashing out and whipping up a campaign of fear designed to obscure their record of corruption and cover-ups.
Writing in this newspaper on Sunday, Kathleen Wynne said you do not have a choice who to vote for in this election and must vote Liberal if you are progressive.
When the Liberals tried the same tired tactics against my leader Jack Layton in 2006, New Democrat elder statesman Ed Broadbent had this to say: “The only time they talk about being progressive is in the dying days of the campaign. It’s the only time they use the word – when they try to go after the votes of ordinary people who are indicating they’re going to vote for the NDP.”
Speaking this week about the same Liberal antics, Mr. Broadbent said: “Kathleen Wynne has gone beyond the pale.”
Kathleen Wynne says she is campaigning against Tim Hudak but she spent much of the election campaigning in ridings held by New Democrats, not in ridings contested by Conservatives.
That is because every time Kathleen Wynne has gone up against Tim Hudak she has failed to defeat him. She has lost every by-election against the Conservatives.
It is New Democrats who defeated Tim Hudak in by-elections in London West, Kitchener-Waterloo, and in Tim’s own hometown of Fort Erie in Niagara Falls. Kathleen Wynne could not stand up to Tim Hudak at the debate, and she won’t be able to do it in this election.
I am the only leader who can stand up to Tim Hudak. As for Kathleen Wynne’s claim that I will form a coalition with Tim Hudak? In the words of my late friend Peter Kormos – I call bullspit on that ridiculous speculation.
So my message is to all voters. You don’t have to vote in fear, or fear voting.
If you voted Liberal in the past but do not want to reward unethical government, you can vote for a New Democrat. If you are turned off by Tim Hudak’s plans that don’t make sense, you can vote for a New Democrat.
Every New Democrat MPP you send to Queen’s Park will work hard for you. They are the most progressive choice for Ontario and the strategic choice in your riding.
We can provide people with clean government they can believe in. We can stop corporate giveaways and start rewarding companies that create jobs. We can raise Ontario’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, freeze tuition fees, open childcare centres, and help families feeling squeezed at a time when the cost of living is rising and the middle class is shrinking.
I’m going to be crystal clear with you, too, about what I won’t do. I won’t back plans to kill 100,000 jobs and leave Ontario without the firefighters, paramedics and teachers we need. I won’t tolerate corruption in government, waste billions, and then break the law to hide the facts from you.
I’m ready to be the premier who delivers for you.
This election, do not let anyone tell you how to vote. Have the courage to vote for local candidates who are on your side. As a friend of mine once said, don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.