Here’s the complete text of Enza “Supermodel” Anderson’s speech at the all-candidate’s meeting for the Canadian Allaince leadership. She delivered it in Chatham, Ontario on Jan 18.
Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for inviting me here this evening.
A lot of people here tonight are probably asking themselves “What the hell is she doing up there? Or is it he?” Good question.
I suppose you could say that Jean Chrétien needs a real man to stand up to him – and I’m her. But I won’t.
I’m here tonight to tell you why I have decided to run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance. And I’m going to tell you why I’m the very best person for the job.
Before I decided to run for the leadership of this party, I thought a lot about why the Canadian Alliance just couldn’t seem to stop the Liberals during the last election.
The Alliance had a charming, good-looking leader and a pretty solid platform.
But they couldn’t convince Canadians to vote for them.
I just couldn’t believe that the reason the Liberals won the election was because Jean Chrétien was so powerful and so popular that Canadians naturally flocked to him. That didn’t seem reasonable.
When I really thought about it, I discovered that the real reason that this party couldn’t win that election was because the Canadian Alliance scared a whole lot of voters.
At best, many voters were afraid that the Alliance was the party of the extreme right – of the anti-abortionists and the religious right – the social conservatives who weren’t interested in hearing the views of others – but only their own.
Voters were afraid that the Canadian Alliance would not represent their views – that the party and its leader had a hidden agenda. The Alliance couldn’t be trusted with the fate of the nation.
At its worst, voters believed that the Alliance was a political shelter for closet racists and bigots and homophobes.
In either case, the fear of the Alliance scared voters away – and we lost an election we should have won. But I also discovered, ladies and gentlemen, that I don’t share those fears.
I don’t believe that the Canadian Alliance is a home for racists and bigots and homophobes.
And that’s why I am here tonight.
That’s why I have chosen to run for the leadership of this party. I believe that the Canadian Alliance is a party of the people. And I believe it is a party of all the people.
The Canadian Alliance is the grassroots of this nation. It is Canadian women and men from the East Coast to the Pacific – and from the Far North to here, in southern Ontario.
The Canadian Alliance is newcomers to Canada who have chosen this nation as their new home – new Canadians who can find a place in this great party of the people.
The Alliance is farmers and bankers, bartenders and lawyers, mothers and fathers, and their children. The Canadian Alliance is men and women of every persuasion and, ladies and gentlemen, in case you weren’t aware, that includes gays and lesbians and bisexuals and transsexuals and, yes, even a few drag queens.
I believe that the Canadian Alliance must be a home to everyone in this country who believes in the strength of the individual who believes in human rights for all.
The Alliance must be a safe haven to those Canadians who have abandoned the traditional political parties because those parties have abandoned them. This is what I believe the Canadian Alliance to be. And I believe you do, too.
I share your beliefs in the grassroots strength of the Canadian Alliance, and I share your determination to take those strengths and those values to Ottawa.
I believe these things about the Canadian Alliance because I have to.
Because if we don’t all truly believe that the Canadian Alliance is the party for all the people – every single Canadian – with no exceptions – then, ladies and gentlemen, we have no right to be here. We have no right to call ourselves a truly Canadian political party. If we do not represent every single Canadian, without exception, then we certainly have no right to call ourselves Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
And if we are to claim that we represent the people of Canada when we form the next government, then we must represent every single person in this land.
To deny representation to just one citizen is to deny representation to all.
You know, I don’t really believe anyone in the Canadian Alliance cares who wears the dress.
The Canadian Alliance cares about much more than that. We care about establishing a national housing strategy that meets the needs of ordinary Canadians. We care about a maintaining a world-class health care system that is open and accessible to every single Canadian.
We care about a central government that listens to Canadians and strong, equal provincial partners who will stand with us as we face the national issues. We care about establishing strong economic policies that will attract investment; about strength of competition and opportunity that will keep our best and our brightest minds at home, in Canada; about good jobs for Canadians that will give them the economic security they need to raise their families.
We care about electing a government that hears the people of Canada – all of the people of Canada – and continually strives to ensure the security and the safety of its citizens. We care about a sovereign and united Canada where the value and dignity of the individual citizen is cherished. And we care about preserving a stable, healthy, and productive society. These are the things the Canadian Alliance really cares about.
That guy-in-a-dress thing? Hardly worth a mention, don’t you think?
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s why I am here tonight. That’s why I have chosen to run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.
Tonight, I have shared my vision for the Alliance with you. It is a vision that doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religion, or colour, or sex, or nationality – or even sexuality or birthplace! It is a vision that celebrates each individual for who they are. It is a vision that includes every one of you and it includes me, too. It is a vision that I hope you share.
Tonight I am asking for your support.
But more than that, I am asking you to stand with me for equality; for human rights; for democracy and for freedom for all. I am asking that you stand with me to shout to all Canadians that the Alliance is a party of the people – that there is room for everyone – and that we make no exceptions. Let us join together to demonstrate to all Canadians that everyone is welcome in this great party of ours, and that everyone can find their place within the policies of the Canadian Alliance – no matter how they dress. Thank you.