It is the morning after election night. I'm heartbroken by the results in Markham-Stouffville. At the same time, I am thankful.
Our team pulled together an exceptional independent campaign - powered by optimism and determination.
More than 400 volunteers came together to create a movement for positive change in how we do politics. Over 600 donors gave generously to make our campaign possible – so much that we had to shut down donations two weeks after the election started because we didn’t need any more money. We received thousands of messages of support from across the country from Canadians who believed in this campaign.
I will always remember how our team worked day after day, week after week, believing we could do politics differently. We offered a vision for people in Markham-Stouffville to re-elect a strong independent representative in Ottawa. The result was not what we hoped for, but my message is this: thank you.
Thank you to the people of Markham-Stouffville for giving me the great privilege of representing you for the past 4 years.
Thank you to every Canadian who voted. Thank you to every candidate who put their name forward. I wish the very best to Helena Jaczek as she serves the people of Markham-Stouffville.
Thank you to everyone who believes and shows that politics can be better, can be collaborative, can be inclusive and creative. Our campaign had volunteers and supporters from a wide range of political, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We talked with thousands of people from Markham-Stouffville, listening to their concerns, hopes, and heartaches. We shared a vision of how we can change the world for the better – to combat climate change, to solve the housing affordability crisis, to bring about justice for Indigenous peoples, to change our electoral process so every vote counts, to fill in the missing pieces of universal health care, to implement the long-awaited dream of universal pharmacare.
Thank you to everyone knocked on doors, made calls, put up 2000 signs, made food, cleaned floors, fixed toilets, designed graphics, answered emails, served as scrutineers and did every big and small job necessary to make this campaign work. It is impossible to describe how generous you were with your time and talent. Thank you to my extraordinary campaign manager, Jen Hess, who faces every day with a smile and a long to-do list – and with our mighty team, the list always got done.
Most of all thank you to my family – my mom and my sisters, my brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. Thank you to our children, Bethany & Alex, David, Jacob and Lydia – whose mother has not always been available to them in recent years, but they have supported me every step of the way. My biggest thanks is to Pep – quietly in the background of everything I do, making it possible, never wanting the attention, always providing support and love and a shoulder to cry on.
Today is a new chapter. I still believe we can rise above the narrow confines of partisan politics, to work together on the biggest concerns of society and humanity.
There are many who think it is naïve to believe that anything will change in politics. I hope, in time, we can set some of those skeptics free from the prison of the status quo.
Change can happen. There was a time in Canada when women could not vote. There was a time when universal medicare was only a dream.
Change must happen. We are in a global climate of division, animosity, even chaos. Some democracies of the worlds are fractured and dysfunctional. Canada has a chance to demonstrate a democracy rooted in respect, powered by collaboration, nurtured with healthy debate, with a political culture where policymakers genuinely listen to one another.
As Canadians, we share a common destiny. We must therefore look out for one another. We do not have the luxury of wasting time on bickering and partisan games. We are co-workers in the construction of a strong, healthy future for our society and our planet. We must be our best, most generous selves and encourage the best from one another. We need to strengthen our democracy, to fight for justice where it does not currently exist – until every Canadian has a fair opportunity to fulfill their potential and contribute to society.
Today and tomorrow bring new opportunities to build a society that is ever more healthy, peaceful and fair.