Nominated by: Bob Goulais
Seconded by: Richard Fortin

Speech by Bob Goulais

Boozhoo. Greeting Ladies and Gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure to nominate Anthony Rota as the Nipissing-Temiscaming Liberal Candidate for the next federal election.

Anthony Rota is not one to toot his own horn. He has a lot of admirable qualities. As a traditional man, I instantly recognize and can relate to the qualities of humility, kindness, gentleness, caring and respect.

Although he speaks softly to his constituents, he has a loud voice among his colleagues, caucus and in Government.

He has represented our interests well at Veterans Affairs and with the Standing Committee on National Defense.

When the Liberal Party was in government, he was chair of the Northern Ontario Liberal Caucus. Under Prime Minister Paul Martin, he chaired the full Ontario Liberal Caucus – the largest of any group of Members of Parliament.

Under Bill Graham, he served us well as critic for FedNor.

That experience and leadership will not go unnoticed.

It is my feeling, that Anthony is part of a new generation of the Liberal Party. In fact, I think Anthony is a leader among this new generation.

Ladies and Gentleman, I don’t pull any punches. I’m not a follower. We in Nipissing-Temiscaming expect good representation and expect leadership from our Member of Parliament.

Anthony Rota is that member. Anthony Rota is that leader.

I won’t make excuses for those in our Party who showed us dishonour. I won’t be afraid to stand up and say our Party needs change to ensure those mistakes are not repeated.

But those changes are here, under Anthony Rota and our leader Stephane Dion. Mr. Dion is a honourable and capable leader. His vision of economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability – is a vision of Canada that I can support.

This is the time for the new generation of Liberal Party. The Dream Team of Ignatieff, Dryden, Rae, Kennedy, Hall-Findley will be the team that will lead us back to Government.

Anthony Rota is a part of that Dream Team.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I work with government on a regular basis. I’ve met with MPs and Ministers under Chretien, Martin and yes under Stephen Harper.

Under various Liberal governments since 1994, we didn’t get questioned why we wanted to talk – we were simply given the opportunity. Liberal members and members of Cabinet were always open and helpful. Of course, we don’t always see eye to eye – but we always had the opportunity to talk.

As First Nations governments, we undertook an extensive, year-long negotiation process to work with the Liberal government and the First Ministers to create a set of principles, goals and investments that would have dealt with First Nations poverty and improved social conditions. The result was the Kelowna Accord.

Under the Harper government, the door has been closed. There is very little real dialogue anywhere across the country.

When we do get an opportunity to meet the Conservatives, the reaction is always the same: (“Whoa… WHOA. Aren’t you with us?”)

I have a strong warning to all Canadians, and the people of this riding. 

The Conservative Party is no longer a “Progressive Conservative Party”. It is no longer a party of the people. (I know I don’t belong there.)

Under this Harper Minority, they’ve tried to tame their policies in an effort to build public opinion. But we know how much Liberal, Bloc and NDP members of the committees tempered their already weak legislative agenda.

Harper’s feigned attempt at a “vote” on the same sex issue is another good example. The Harper government saved face by letting the issue drop, despite it being a hot-button topic for every hard-core Conservative across the country.

Now imagine, an un-tempered Harper Majority Government. Do you think it would have stopped at a simple House of Commons motion? What would happen to the rights of same-sex couples?

What would the aboriginal agenda look like under a Harper Majority Government? We’ll I tell you, there would be a lot more poor First Nations people. But I also tell you there would also be a lot more situations like Ipperwash, Caladonia and unrest among our communities.

From my perspective, the Conservative government is not honourable: they outright cancelled the first, new national social program in decades: the National Child Care Program. They outright cancelled the first, major agreement between First Nations governments and the First Ministers: the Kelowna Accord.

“Whoa… WHOA. I thought you were with us?”

No Mister Harper – I’m not with you.

Conservatives have a narrow vision of Canada. A Canada that excludes the poor. A Canada that excludes same sex relationships. A Canada that excludes aboriginal people. A Canada that is intolerant. A Canada that is ignorant.

The Liberal Party, and Nipissing-Temiscaming, in particular, is a community that will never exclude the poor. We will never exclude aboriginal people. Nipissing-Temiscaming is not intolerant. Nipissing-Temiscaming is not ignorant.

That is why Nipissing-Temiscaming will always be Liberal!

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, the members of the Nipissing-Temiskaming Federal Liberal Association – I hereby nominate Anthony Rota as our candidate and incumbent Member of Parliament of the riding of Nipissing-Temiscaming.

Thank you.