In my last offering, I recounted fond memories of our Centennial Year, 1967. It was certainly a grand time to be Canadian, and I wondered aloud if any plans were being made for the sesquicetennial, coming up in 2017. Two years ago, I emailed our illustrious Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper, asking what, if any plans were being put in place. I received a form email from an assistant deputy minister, thanking me for my inquiry and wishing me well in all my future endeavours.... basically blowing me off and all but saying that nothing was in the works. Typical !!
I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person who thinks about these things. I mean, everyone has their concerns and issues. Me? I guess I have little better to do than wonder about expressing a heartfelt affection for my country, a country into which I was not born, but have embraced fully and without reservation. There are far more important things to think about, I certainly agree, than another reason to promote ourselves and hope all the world loves us, like the recently completed Vancouver Olympics. Who needs another World's Fair? Been there, done that, and quite well, as we all recall. Centennial Caravans reminding us of our history, our story, and all the things we had to overcome and achieve as a people? Well, history is boring and no one would be interested in visiting that again? Centennial projects? I guess we do this all the time now, what with infrastructure spending as common as blackflies in spring.
No, it's pretty clear that re-doing the stuff we did back in 1967 is just not cool or sexy for today's sophisticated Canada. So, maybe these are the things we should try to accomplish in time for our country's sesquicentennial. We have seven years, so we'd better get started.
1) Resolve all outstanding grievances with First Nations people. That doesn't mean giving in to all their demands. After all, they have become just as skilled as anyone else in formulating demands to be negotiated. But the federal government has been dragging its feet far too long. Let's recognize them for who they truly are: sovereign nations with ancient traditions and wisdom equalling and perhaps surpassing ours. Let's do what is necessary to remove the status of wards of the state, and give them land and control over the revenue on and under the land. Let's make these reserves achieve full provincial status and invite them to join fully in the future of Canada.
2) Invest heavily in green technologies. Make Canada a world leader in research and development in areas such as alternative fuels, green transportation systems, and more complete recycling programmes. We keep hearing that this is the technology of the future, with new jobs attached to it: let's commit ourselves to pioneering this technology, instead of waiting for others to do it, and sell it to us.
3) Re-commit to universal health care and public education. Reject the neo-conservative drive to sneak private health and education in the back door by undercutting the public services. These things used to give us a respected reputation abroad: let's renew this. Put more money into our schools and universities, hospitals and research centers. Canadians pioneered such advancements as treatments for diabetes: imagine if we could do the same for cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS and other neurological disorders.
4) Invest in youth initiatives. Bring back such worthwhile things as Katimavik and the Company of Young Canadians. People around the world respect a nation that is willing to send its young people abroad to learn and help others in need. We get more mileage out of this type of "army" going forth than we do from a real army.
Well, there are more things to add to the list, but that's enough for now. No one with any real decision-making power is going to read this anyway, so why bother? Maybe we'd be better off with another Olympics or World's Fair.... maybe an international sesquicentennial Curling Bonspiel is what we need. 2017? Hurry hard !!!