Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action Alert: Speak Out, Get Involved: What Kind of Country Do You Want?

December 4, 2008




Something very interesting is happening in Canadian politics. Now more than ever, nurses and indeed all citizens have a rare opportunity to have a say in who forms the federal government and sets the policy agenda for the next two years, and perhaps more.


Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s economic statement last week set off a chain of events that has turned Ottawa and federal politics upside down. While the finance minister in his statement downplayed the need for immediate economic stimulus, the opposition disagreed. Whatever your personal politics, and even if you prefer not to follow national politics, you will appreciate that we are at a crossroads, and nobody is quite sure where any of the potential roads will lead.


Here’s what we know, and what we don’t know. As early as next Monday, December 8th, and as late as sometime in January, the Governor General may be asked to decide whether to call a federal election (the second in less than two months) or call on the opposition parties to form the next government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has led the minority Parliament for almost three years and promises to continue to run a “stable” government. Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, who together have more seats than the Conservatives, have agreed to support a Liberal-NDP coalition government following an agreed-on list of policy priorities (A policy accord to address the present economic crisis and An Accord on Cooperative Government to Address the Present Economic Crisis) Saying Parliament has lost confidence in Prime Minister Harper, especially in his ability to lead Canada through the economic storm now facing us, the opposition parties have told the Governor General they too are ready to form a “stable” government.


There is one thing on which all political parties and leaders can agree: it is now up to the court of public opinion, people like you. Constitutional experts will have their opinions, but the Leaders know it’s the public that counts. Whoever sways the hearts and minds of Canadian women and men and wins their confidence stands an excellent chance of winning the confidence of Parliament and leading the country through these tough economic times.


For the next week and more, Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers will be on TV and radio, and holding public meetings to explain to Canadians why they should be given a chance to lead Canada at this crucial time in our history.


Nurses have long spoken out for healthy societies, better public health care, and a stronger role for nurses. Now, more than ever, nurses can be heard.


This is your chance to get involved, get engaged, make sure that whoever forms the next government is putting health and healthcare first.


Action Requested


What can you do?


First, get informed. Check the following websites and make up your own mind:


Second, get engaged. Go online, discuss and comment in newspaper and other websites. Call into radio talk shows. Vote in newspaper polls. Talk with your neighbours. Write to your member of parliament, to the leaders of the parties, and the Governor General. Attend a rally. Join one of the actions in one of the above political party websites:


To say you support Prime Minister Stephen Harper:


1. Sign a petition


2. Attend rallies this week


3. Join a Facebook group


 To support the opposition coalition:


1. Sign a petition

Attend rallies this week

Join a Facebook group

Make yourself heard – whatever the view that you voice. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!


Yours with warmest regards,





Wendy Fucile, RN, BScN, MPA, CHE    Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD (c), O.Ont.

President, RNAO                                    Executive Director

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