Thank you, Prime Minister.
After difficult reflection, I reached a conclusion. I cannot exaggerate how hard this was for me. The political crisis affecting Canada is too risky and dangerous for blind partisanship. I watch and listen and feel that the interests of individuals or parties are often placed above the national interests. The country must come first.
The current political crisis is too risky to enter into partisan politics. I have observed, I've listened, and I believe that the interests of persons and parties have superseded those of the national interests. Our country must be our priority.
I entered politics in the first place both to be a strong voice for the citizens of New Market and Aurora, and to try to make my country stronger and better. To have healthy politics in Canada, we need the checks and balances of more than one strong and vibrant party.
Over time, the Conservative Party will mature and grow to provide that option. There are many good and talented folks that I have a great deal of respect for in the Conservative Party. But I find myself at a crossroads forced on me by the decision of the leader of the Conservative Party to try to force the defeat of this government this Thursday.
It is now the moment to stand and be counted because the consequences are serious. I've been uncomfortable for some time with the direction the leader of the Conservative Party has been taking.
I tried to the very best of my ability to play a constructive role within the Conservative Party to advance issues that really mattered to Canadians in cities, to women, to young people, to many Ontarians.
But regret to say that I do not believe the party leader's truly sensitive to the needs of each part of the country and how big and complicated Canada really is.
Also, by forcing an election before the Conservative party has grown and established itself in Quebec, the hold over Quebec of the Bloc Québécois can only grow into the vacuum. The result will be to stack the deck in favour of separatism and the possibility of a Conservative government beholden to the separatists.
After agonizing, soul searching, i just cannot support such a large risk with my country. I'm as offended as any Canadian by the arrogance of entitlement at the core of the sponsorship scandal.
Today, the Prime Minister has given me the chance to serve my constituents and my country by making a difference at a critical time.
Among several things, he's asked me to take aggressive action on the lessons that will come from the Gomery inquiry, and to put priority on renewing the Canadian democracy.
Our political structures and institutions need renewal. Canadians are crying for political stability. Only in this way can we direct the focus of government once again to growing a competitive economy that safeguards our quality of life.
Only when the people of Canada have renewed confidence and faith in the systems of government can we return to ethics and civility.