Deborah Coyne, a candidate for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, was in Moose Jaw on Monday to gauge support for and promote her vision to Liberals in the city.
“We have to be the party that is one hundred per cent sincere. We have to believe that we are actually going to do what we say we’re going to do when we get in,” said Coyne to a room full of Liberal Party members.
“I think it’s important to bring everybody into the Liberal Party. I have the same message everywhere, and I don’t see any difference in Alberta or Saskatchewan or Ontario,” she said.
Coyne’s platform is one focused primarily on a unified vision for the country, which she said has been lacking under the Harper government.
“Canadians are an open-minded people. We all know we’re in this together, and I think there’s more a sense of incredulity that we can’t have a civil conversation led by our prime minister,” she said.
Coyne detailed her vision by promoting the importance of a united Canada in the promotion of the country globally.
“It’s one Canada,” she said, “It’s pulling us together so that we’re thinking about what we’re building together. And it is to be, as far as I’m concerned, a great nation internationally.
“You can’t be important and influential internationally in whatever form unless you’re coherent nationally, and if you follow through, that’s exactly where we’re falling apart.”
Among Coyne’s key platform issues is the need for a “carbon price” — a consumption tax on greenhouse gas emissions — which she was cautious to differentiate from the proposed carbon tax that crippled the Dion campaign in 2008.
“We have to do something to have a climate change policy in effect and to move us off fossil fuels, and economists all say it’s the better way to do it,” she said. “At some point, you have to have the courage to move forward on something that is the right way to go.”
Coyne called herself “a big believer in Canadians’ ability to understand details,” and insisted that, if the policy were explained clearly and correctly, the electorate, environmental organizations and energy producers would come onside.
When asked about her fellow candidates in the race, Coyne declined to comment on their campaigns.
“I’m never going to comment on the other candidates. I always say we’re in it for the party and not for racing against each other. I believe (the leader needs) a combination of vision and policy, and I have both,” she said.
Coyne further emphasized the importance of unity and clarity within the Liberal Party.
“We have to look at the party, too. I don’t ever want to see the Liberal Party go back to the clubby atmosphere that it has been,” she said.
“I don’t have any appetite to have the polarization which many in the media assume is happening because, based on the here and now, you might say (it is)... what we need to do, as Liberals, is get a clear mandate.”