Will nobody come to Canada’s party?

Canada will be 150-years old next year. Even the Harper Conservatives were going to celebrate that. As it looks now, there might not be much of a party. “Hard times” we are told. The private sector wants to save its money. The public sector does not want to be seen spending money. So cake and candles are out.

It is just that we remember birthday 100. That was a fabulous party. We had year-long festivities centred in Ottawa and Expo 67 in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. Great pride was generated. Fun was had. We met the world in Montreal that year. Nobel Prize winner Lester Pearson was Prime Minister. The world looked to and admired Canada.

And it is hardly practical to wait for the celebrations when the country makes it to 200 years. You want to be able to enjoy the party. Milk and soft cookies can hardly replace champagne and caviar.

There is also the possibility that we might not like Canada when it turns 200. If the country cannot overcome some of its inertia by then, it might not be much of a party. Can we continue that long with our constipated constitution? Can Canadians not make common cause to strengthen our democracy and build a stronger economy?

Will Canada remain a country of failed potential? Will we continue to waste the talents of our youth by refusing a universal right to education? Will we deny our citizens the national drug plan that can improve the lives of many? Will we continue to just exploit our resources instead of challenging our entrepreneurs?

Having once helped a national charity to raise money in good times and in bad, it was found that bad times simply called for more creativity. Canadians have that creativity.

Prime Minister Trudeau told the world the other day in Davos, Switzerland that Canada was a land of resourceful people. His government needs to understand its own rhetoric and show some understanding of what that Canadian resourcefulness needs. Fixing our infrastructure is something that needs to happen in any event. It is the release of capital to new ideas and new businesses, to the arts and to challenges that builds something for our future. It is not a time for the conventional. It is time for the creative.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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