'Heaven' was their word for Canada

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In a 1967 CBC radio address, Martin Luther King, Jr. chronicled the history of slavery and the underground railroad, the path by which fugitive slaves found freedom to the north. He described the code words hidden in the spirituals that slaves on the southern plantations would sing, and "heaven" was their word for Canada.

In 1957, Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering UN peacekeeping. Later on, at the behest of Tommy Douglas and the NDP, his government introduced universal public health care.

Working together, our country has inspired the world as a place of freedom, peace and compassion.

That's why I'm fed up with today's politicians and all their partisan games, endless scandals, and total lack of vision. I believe in a Canada where we share a common dream; one where we stand up together for economic, social, and human rights wherever they are threatened.

That's why earlier this year I encouraged two of my students to file a complaint with the UN Human Rights Council about the housing and homelessness crisis in our city.

We deserve a government that believes in our common humanity. One that will reinstate the federal affordable housing program that was created in 1973 at the insistence of the NDP, and cut by the Liberals two decades later.

We deserve politicians with vision, courage and compassion. Leaders who want to solve the big problems of society; not ones who leave our most vulnerable brothers and sisters to live and die on the streets.

Canadians want a government that inspires them with a new national dream. A dream like Dr. King's, where "we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt... that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation."

Now is the time for solutions. It's time for that cheque to be honoured.

Canadians know that we are all better off when we look out for each other. We know that each and every person deserves the security of justice. We know that we can, and must, demand better.


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