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23
September
2011

Layton's letter to Canadians inspires “Turning Point”

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Published in News

Are you a proud Canadian? Are you satisfied with the government? Is there anything you would change?

Remember how we felt when we heard that Jack Layton had passed away? What a loss for Canada! And then a second set of tears flooded our eyes when we read his letter. Throughout Canada, his words resounded; filling our hearts with pride and inspiring us to action.

His message was full of love, hope and optimism: “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world,” his letter read.

Are you optimistic about the future of Canada?

From the embarrassingly low voter turnout at civic, provincial and federal elections over the last several years, it appears that many Canadians feel rather pessimistic about politics. The common theme is that their vote doesn't count and things won't change no matter who's in charge.

So, in the spirit of Mr. Layton's final message, a group of young men and women are calling for meetings across the country to develop consensus on what it is that Canadians want for the future of this nation. The campaign, dubbed the “Turning Point,” features a week of gatherings across the country between Sept. 27 and Oct. 2, culminating in a “day of action” on Oct. 3.

At those locally-initiated meetings, organizers anticipate that Canadians will work together to see how they can bring about meaningful change. The plan is to gather the ideas of Canadians across generations and party lines, and take them to Parliament.

If you are one such Canadian then Turning Point is for you. According to Leadnow.ca, a non-partisan advocacy group behind the campaign, the goal is “to create a turning point for Canada by connecting people through our values, growing our ability to speak out and support each other on key issues, and organizing to reach millions of Canadians over the next four years to achieve progress on major challenges, such as reforming our electoral system.”

"Jack Layton's death and final message tapped into many people's deep desire for both a more positive and collaborative kind of politics, and their concern about the direction that our country is being taken by this government," Jamie Biggar, Executive Director of Leadnow.ca said in a press release.

"It is amazing how empowering it was. We saw people, many of whom have never been  involved in politics before, saying that they wanted to step up and get involved."

According to Mr. Biggar, Turning Point was planned over two days and then quietly launched with an invitation letter on Aug. 25. Word of the campaign spread rapidly online and one week later almost 1,000 people had signed up to host or participate in Turning Point gatherings.

The week of gatherings will bring Canadians together to discuss how they can collaborate to build a shared extra-Parliamentary voice for change on a range of issues, from democratic reforms to rising inequality and climate change.

The event will culminate with a "Post-It" action at constituency offices across the country. Participants will post messages about the reason why they want change on the walls and windows of their MP's offices.

Although individuals that are dissatisfied with the current state of the nation will be more inclined to participate, the campaign is open to all citizens. Everyone has concerns or questions regarding Canada's present and future state of affairs, but without participation you cannot shape either.

The event will culminate with a "Post-It" action at constituency offices across the country. Participants will post messages about the reason why they want change on the walls and windows of their MP's offices.

A Turning Point gathering would be a great way for the Muslim community to unite and discuss their concerns. Muslims disenchanted with Canadian politics can not only seek answers to their concerns but also share their thoughts and ideas with the larger community. Participating in the campaign would give Muslims a good opportunity to meet and exchange views with Canadians of other faiths that yearn for a similar change in the country.

Will the Turning Point campaign guarantee that our voices are heard and that change will follow? Maybe not. But the first step is getting the attention of our politicians and letting them know that they work for us, and not the other way around.

"This moment goes beyond any one party," said Mr. Biggar. "This is about taking responsibility. The time is calling for us to be ambitious in our goals, and humble in our recognition that we can only get there by working together."

To learn more about the Turning Point campaign, visit: www.leadnow.ca/en/turning-point  

This article was produced exclusively for Muslim Link and should not be copied without prior permission from the site. For permission, please write to info@muslimlink.ca.

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