Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Vision for Canada

Happy Canada Day readers! When I initially thought of what to write today I defaulted to some political analysis of either our federal or Ontario’s scene. I realized that it felt out of place for the national holiday so instead I want to talk about vision.

Sometimes during election it feels like we are voting between which party we would like to be our accountants, or the manager of our bank. While we know these are important jobs and in some ways impact us daily we don’t particularly care. And when sifting through the particular candidates it becomes a matter of colours and branding and emotion over basically similar products or candidates.

TVO’s Eric Bombicino wrote a piece recently drawing connections to the small politics we currently experience to apathy. It’s an interesting piece and fits with what a lot of people already feel. Our political leaders are increasingly managers who oversee a government from a particular coalition of support as opposed to a different coalition of support.

That’s not to say that parties are not different. Of course they are. But the differences are smaller and the impact is less. Political parties and politicians seem less willing to strike bold visions for what the future may look like.

In preparation to write this piece I asked myself “What do I want Canada to look like 50 years from now?” Or perhaps better still in 2067 when we celebrate our bicentennial what kind of country do we want to have?

We can blame our politicians for not leading us to a vision, but I’m not sure Canadians spend enough time thinking about what the vision could be.

In the Northwest Territories I have ideas. I imagine a territory that is all but province in name. Communities are linked more effectively with infrastructure like fully paved roads and the Mackenzie Highway. Indigenous languages return from the edge of extinction in communities across the North and there is wealth and opportunity for the people here in the resource sector and others. Back home in the Greater Toronto Area I imagine new densified nodes with mixed use development. The suburbs are re-imagined to balance needs of people and make the more sustainable and the precious farmlands have been preserved. The cities in Ontario have been linked together through transit and people and move through the region cheaply to work, play, and learn. For the country as a whole, I envision better systems of democracy that better reflect the people that make this country great in the first place and a style of government more amenable to our different interests.

For this Canada Day I encourage you to consider what your vision for Canada in 2067 might be. We can only demand futures we can imagine.

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