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The NDP leadership contest is perhaps the most important political event taking place in Canada today and after months of keen study of the platforms and watching the debates, I have chosen to give my personal endorsement to Peggy Nash, MP for Parkdale-High Park.

In January, I put down my thoughts on what our Party needs in our current political climate.  As I said then, our new leader must first and foremost recognize that by far the biggest concern to all Canadian’s is the economy. Far too many Canadians are being forced to live pay cheque to pay cheque. Canadians have reached unprecedented levels of personal indebtedness - not because they are irresponsible, but because their wages have been flat in real terms for almost 25 years while the  cost of living has steadily risen.  Our next leader must embrace this indisputable fact and offer a vision to create good jobs and increased economic security for all Canadians.

Our leader must speak boldly about what is happening to working people and be a leader who isn`t afraid to defend a fair wage and understands that we need a robust middle class in Canada.  In so doing, our leader must also see unions – and the rights of Canadians to form, join and be active in unions - as vital to ensuring fair wages, pensions and income security. 

Now more than ever, Canada needs a leader who can fashion a vision for our economy that will benefit all Canadians.  So much is at stake as the current federal government takes Canada in a direction few of us actually want.  Our Party needs a leader who can not only present a forceful opposition to growing income inequality and the destruction of Canada’s public services, but who can bring us to power. And, we need a leader that can bring people together to build our Party. 

Peggy is that leader.

As colleagues in the Canadian labour movement, I have known Peggy for many years and I know that she has the skills and experience, the passion, and the vision to lead our Party to new heights. 

There is much hope to be drawn from this leadership contest.  It has been an opportunity to express many progressive ideas and challenge the Harper agenda.  In a few weeks we will have a new leader and can start our work together to build our Party and change the political discourse from division and resentment and begin to impart our vision for a fair, equal and just Canada. 

I am, therefore, proud to endorse, as both a trade unionist and a lifelong New Democrat, Peggy Nash for our leader and next Prime Minister of Canada.