Thursday, September 25, 2008

Extraordinary People

Canada’s role on the world stage stands on the brink of a knife. We have all that it takes to say, “Here we are, world; this is the future; Canada is the future.”

Canada is the second largest country in the world. It touches the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. It is hugely rich in all vital basic resources: water, energy, food, minerals. It is not militaristic. It has a reasonably stable economy when its closest ally flounders in economic confusion. It is successfully multicultural and increasingly so. It values education, intelligence, tolerance, ideas. It prospers.

It seems to have everything required to take the future in our grip. We do not have to merely be competent; we do not have to copy everyone else's methods.

So what should we do to turn that corner and set along that path of being the country of the twenty first century? Should we imprison our youth for their entire lives, increasing the prison population and achieving little else in the process? Should we eschew those who value creativity and invention as if there is some real distinction between us (‘ordinary people’) and them? Should we subvert environmental issues in lieu of economic ones and lose out on a chance to promote Canada as one of the first truly environmentally conscious nations?

I do not think that these ideas will help Canada very much.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Canada, with all its wonderful wildlife and landscape that has historically been so integral to the development of this modern nation, became known world wide as a country that successfully combined energy, mineral and food production with stringent environmentally-conscious efforts? Canada has that chance.

Wouldn’t it equally be amazing if Canadian arts- no, not only Canadian arts, but Canadian invention, Canadian science, Canadian engineering, Canadian creativity- became not only renowned and respected worldwide but also sought after, inviting in droves of budding intelligences to learn and then return to their home nations taking their Canadian values of tolerance and education with them? Canada has that chance.

Wouldn’t it also be great to demonstrate to the world that a multicultural nation can work and work very well? That it can be richer in every area for being tolerant, accepting and even forgiving. That it can be environmentally conscious without sacrificing economic stability. That it can be tough and seek justice without becoming militaristic. That ‘ordinary people’ excludes no single group.

I’m not targeting a sole party leader here, although I am using one particular party’s ideology to illustrate my concerns. Canada has such potential the air in this massive, incredible nation should be palpable with possibility and yet people would rather vote south of the border. We have so much going for us and yet we flounder.

Somebody, please think firmly of that future- one of intelligence, education, environmental consciousness, arts, science, invention, tolerance, multiculturalism, peace, justice, cities and great empty landscapes, imagination and reality- and at least try, at least try, to grab a hold of it and hold on with all your might.

Because we can be that country.

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