OTTAWA, ON – Prominent progressive leaders have come together today to urge Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton to put partisan concerns aside and form a coalition government to serve the best interests of citizens suffering from a global economic crisis.

The open letter follows.

An urgent message to Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton: Only a coalition government can provide the leadership Canada needs

Dear Leaders,

We, the undersigned, write to you during this time of economic crisis to urge that you set aside all partisan considerations in favour of decisive action to help Canadians who are suffering and whose livelihoods are in jeopardy.

At this critical moment, a coalition government would be the most capable of delivering the kind of stewardship the economy needs, and the least likely to put partisan interests ahead of responsible government.

Barely five weeks after promising to work cooperatively with the opposition parties – representing a majority of voters – Prime Minister Harper failed to deliver a plan to halt the devastation being wrought upon hard working families. Instead his Conservative government is using the crisis to attack the democratic process, violate the rights of public servants to bargain collectively and end pay equity.

Canada now stands alone as the only government in the western world without a coherent economic stimulus plan. The Harper government talks of balancing the budget by selling off assets and restraining spending, the exact opposite of the stimulus response that virtually all economists and many others are arguing is necessary.

Time is of the essence. You have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver to citizens a coalition that is capable of putting aside partisan ploys and to work cooperatively and swiftly in the interests of all.

Despite Mr. Harper’s contentions, the outrage of citizens and opposition parties is not about public funding of political parties, but rather, it is about a Conservative plan that would actually deepen our country’s economic crisis. The Harper government’s taking party funding off the table should not be a reason for backing down from your efforts to construct a coalition government.

Please be assured that we all stand ready to offer constructive ideas on ways to help workers, their families and communities weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever.


Ken Lewenza, President, Canadian Auto Workers
Paul Moist, National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Dave Coles, President, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
Denis Lemelin, National President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Steven Staples, President, Rideau Institute
Bruce Campbell, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
John Urquhart, Executive Director, Council of Canadians
Mel Watkins, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Toronto