OTTAWA — To hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper tell it, when it comes to the economy, blame others, because there's nothing to see here.
It seems that more and more Canadian families disagree.
Just this week, Harper was again quick to point the finger at others for economic troubles, calling on the G20 internationally to act so that he doesn't have to.
The same week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said that while American families have reason to be concerned about their economic insecurity, Canadian families have nothing to worry about.
If the out-of-touch Conservatives would get off their government jets from time to time, they would see that not everything is so rosy in Canada.
Just this weekend, we are seeing the "Wall Street" movement spread north. The growing frustrations expressed by everyday families are certainly understandable.
The jobless rate is still too high, critically so among new Canadians and young people. We are in danger of seeing an entire generation with little hope of being able to build a better future.
Everyday life continues to get more expensive, with the cost of everything from gas to groceries far outstripping the rate of inflation.
According to the Canadian Payroll Association, a majority of Canadians are now living paycheque to paycheque, with no ability to plan or save for the future.
And those that have been able to save for their retirement are watching their savings crash along with the tumbling stock markets.
We have a household debt crisis here in Canada. As the cost of everyday life skyrockets, the average family owes $1.49 for every dollar it brings in yearly.
While Stephen Harper lectures other countries, Canadian families are working harder than ever just to keep from falling too far behind.
So it's no surprise in the recent federal and provincial elections we've seen historically high levels of support for New Democrats fighting to put everyday families first.
Canadians are sending a strong message, a message that Stephen Harper would be wise to heed.
Canadian families aren't looking for finger-pointing. They're not looking to shift the blame. Quite simply, they are looking for action.
Action on job creation. Not more of Mr. Harper's failed corporate giveaways to the most profitable corporations. Handed over with no guarantee that even a single job would be created.
Action to make their retirement more secure. Not Mr. Harper's half-baked schemes to encourage families to invest even more of their money in a tumbling stock market.
Action to build a sustainable future with sustainable jobs. Not a massive Keystone pipeline project that would see Canadian oil and Canadian jobs shipped south.
Leadership to promote labour stability in tough times. Not Mr. Harper's unbalanced and unnecessary labour interference. His approach will lead to increased labour insecurity by taking away the incentives for all sides to sit down and negotiate in good faith.
Quite simply, the Conservatives are just not listening to Canadian families. New Democrats are.
It's time for this government to get off the international lecture circuit and start getting down to work on Canadian solutions.
It's time they act in the interests of all Canadians — not just the well-connected insiders.
New Democrats are standing up for Canadian families — every single day. And we will continue to put forward practical, affordable solutions that will ensure everyday Canadians don't fall farther behind.
Together, it's time to move Canada forward.
October 14, 2011