July 1, 2014 – It is my country’s 147th birthday today. Yes Canada as a confederation is now almost a century-and-a-half in age and as part of that celebration, the Toronto Star, one of Canada’s premier newspapers, asked Ken Dryden, goaltender, Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister, lawyer, professor, and overall pretty bright guy to ask famous Canadians to talk about their hopes for Canada’s future.
What comes across in the wonderful Q&A put together by Mr. Dryden, is that Canada’s brightest yearn to see our country do much better on the global stage. They are not saying we should lead the world, but that we should participate in making it a better place, a globe of unlimited potential rather than of approaching scarcity. A place where climate change action is part of our national purpose and not placed on the sideline because a Prime Minister of our country says if it means losing jobs then forget about it.
Mr. Dryden, who was my Member of Parliament in Toronto a few years ago, asks that not just the famous should go through this vision exercise about the future. He invites all of us to be participants. So here is mine.
- Canada is in an envious position. We are a big country with a small population. We have natural resources in abundance, a well educated population, a surplus of food and freshwater, and more energy resources than almost any other country on the planet. But we have small leaders with small minds. That has to end.
- My Canada of the future takes a leadership role in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Instead of mining oil sands my Canada recognizes the threat these fossil fuel “resources” pose and focuses on finding technology to render them carbon neutral. My Canada becomes a world leader in designing and developing renewable energy resources, sharing the intellectual property from discovery with the world community.
- My Canada is a shining beacon of how diverse peoples from all over the world find a way to live together, solving the problems of the planet.
- My Canada recognizes that in its biodiversity there is strength and further ensures that “all creatures great and small” within the country are provided with a sustainable future.
- My Canada takes its leading academic and medical institutions and applies their knowledge to tackling the disease vectors of the planet sharing the knowledge to ensure all humanity benefits.
- My Canada once more takes on the mantle of being a peacekeeper in a world fraught with internecine conflicts.
- My Canada leads by example rather than runs away from its international obligations.
In my Canada thinking small is banished once and for all. We may be small in population but we are the country with the longest coastline in the world. We are a country that almost touches the North Pole and stretches far to the south. We are the country at the end of the Underground Railway that helped free slaves escaping from our neighbour to the south. We have a conscience, a moral compass, and we need to start pulling our weight on this planet once more.
So Happy Birthday to my country, “my home and native land.”