I spent much of 2008 listening and doing very little talking as far as Canadian politics goes. It was a year of frustration and disappointment from all sides. The political leadership of this country trotted out more snivelling, bickering, partisanship, vindictiveness, hyperbole, and negativity than almost anybody could care to tolerate. I blame all of the leaders of the opposition equally, but I place extra blame on the leader of the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. As Prime Minister, it is within his duties to ensure a sense of political stability and rationality, that the country is in good hands and that the fates of its citizens can be trusted. Stephen Harper has let me down in his duties.
I listened in 2008. I listened to Stephen Harper say that the economy is strong and that he would never run a deficit. He said this during the most crucial of times, during a federal election. It was on those grounds that I and many others trusted Stephen Harper over the other leaders to guide this country through tough economic times. Then, just a few weeks later, I listened to him say that we would likely be facing deficits in the tens of billions of dollars. I listened to him say that the federal election result was a sign that Canadians were tired of the fighting and that a new spirit of cooperation was needed. Then, I listened to him drop a poison pill into that fall economic update that touched off a massive fury in this country. I did not agree with the plans of the opposition parties, but again trust in the word of the Prime Minister was betrayed. Finally, I listened to Stephen Harper for years rail against the un-Triple E Senate and its patronage appointments and anachronistic ways in a 21st century democracy. And finally, I listened to him appoint more than a dozen Conservative hacks to the Senate.
Three strikes, Mr. Harper, you are out.
Today I listened to a different person. I listened to a person whose academic career served as a great inspiration to me in the development of my own ideas and ideals about rights, international relations, and justice. I told him that, almost to the word. Today I changed the channel and listened to a different tune, one that seeks to listen to what I and others have to say. I listened to somebody who wants, in his own words, "all hands on deck" in getting through this economic crisis and wants to include everybody in his vision of Canada.
Today I listened to Michael Ignatieff.
And, after listening, I have decided that it is time for me to act and to speak.
As of 3:45pm today, January 9, 2009, I am once again a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. Here's to this moment, and to many others: