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This article was published 20/9/2015 (699 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
David Suzuki has long wanted to save the environment, and now he wants to save Canada from what he sees as the political threat from the Conservatives.
The award-winning Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist was in Winnipeg Sunday night to speak at the Leadnow Ignite! event for the Vote Together campaign.
Suzuki addressed a crowd of about 200 at the downtown Metropolitan Theatre about what is at stake in the Oct. 19 federal election.
"My concern is that the Harper government has shown itself to be so far out of what I think of as a democratically elected government that I’m challenging people to take back democracy," said Suzuki, 79. "I really believe this is the most critical election that I’ve lived through and I believe that it will be terrible for Canada and democracy if Harper is re-elected."
Suzuki pointed to the Harper government’s handling of residential schools and First Nations treaties as examples of why change in Ottawa is needed.
"He gave an apology but words are cheap. It’s what you do. It’s clear that First Nations are not on his agenda. To me, this is one of the critical issues of our time," Suzuki said.
"These are the original peoples. All they’re saying to us is, ‘your government signed treaties with us and in those treaties we ceded a lot of land in return for promises that you’ve never lived up to.’ All they’re asking is that we live up to what we have made commitments to as a country and I think every government has got to deal with that."
Suzuki said he’s voted in every election since he turned 21 in 1957.
"Whoever is elected and whatever the Parliament does is of very little concern to me. I’m in the last part of my life. But whoever is elected and what Parliament does or does not do reverberates through the lives of people like your children," Suzuki said.
"They’re the ones with the highest stake in what’s going on. And I think youth are not tending to vote because they see they’re not on the agenda. But they’ve got to get out and vote."
Leadnow bills itself as "an independent advocacy organization." The Vote Together campaign is focused on identifying swing ridings in centres across Canada — ridings where Conservatives could win because of vote-splitting between the NDP, Liberals and Greens.
Leadnow field manager Logan McIntosh said Elmwood Transcona and Winnipeg South Centre ridings are two of the 72 swing ridings across Canada that Leadnow has identified.
"Votetogether.ca is a tool that voters can use to make an informed decision to understand who the best candidate is who could defeat the Conservative running in swing ridings across the country," McIntosh said. "We’re doing that by giving in-riding local polling in the key ridings that we’re working in across the country as well as the party position on our key issue areas."
Strong democracy, fair economy and a clean environment are Leadnow’s key issues.