April 22, 2009
Right Honourable Stephen Harper PC MP
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A3
Prime Minister Harper:
As I sit down to write this letter there are three things on my mind. One is the economic struggle in which Canada, and the rest of the world, finds itself these last several months. In fact my area of residence has been experiencing severe economic difficulties for around 18 months now. Another thing on my mind is the season. We are in the season of spring with its promise of new growth and rebirth. Along with this rests in my mind the story that Christians around the world gathered to tell just 10 days ago. The Easter story is one of new life, transformation, and the conquering of death. The third item on my mind is the fact that today is Earth Day, a day when we are challenged to think about the impact we have on the environment around us.
As I combined these three things this morning it occurred to me that they are related. Arguably the economic model under which we have been operating for the last several decades is dead, or at least mortally wounded. We need a resurrection so that we can move ahead. But a resurrection is not found by pumping money into the old model and attempting some sort of economic defibrillation. The resurrection many Canadians celebrate this season is the beginning of something new, of a transformed new life instead of a continuation of the old life.
And so I am writing you to encourage a new perspective on economic stimulus spending. Rather than funding industries and businesses under formulae around jobs created/saved or good return on investment I encourage your government to fund industries and businesses based on their commitment to a new way of living and working. In the context of Earth Day I urge that all governmental grants go to companies pledging to operate under strictly “green” conditions. There are many ways I could see that happening.
It is my belief that the old economic model is deadly to our well-being as people and the existence of the planet. But I believe life is stronger than death. I believe if we are willing to embrace transformation great things can happen. Canada can become a leader in the development of a green economic model. All it takes is the will to make it so.
Thank you for your time.
Hon. Michael Ignatieff, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition
Hon. John Rafferty, MP Thunder Bay – Rainy River
Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal