Today, I’m grateful for access to clean water, healthy food, and safety and security for my family. It’s easy to forget not everyone enjoys these same things – especially here in Canada, a country that touts itself as one of the greatest countries on Earth. If our country is going to live up to that claim, there are a number of items we need to take care of here in the 2020s.
I’ve come across the sentiment a few times that we are ancestors to future generations. I like this way of thinking because it asks us to fulfill a responsibility greater than ourselves. To use our strength and courage to effect change and for us to be the ones that choose the stories that are told about us one-hundred years from now. These are the stories I want to be true about Canada in the 2020s:
- Canada asked for forgiveness from Indigenous people and fundamentally changed how the country was led. All levels of leadership and decision-making were transformed to be equal and together with Indigenous people. The hard truths were faced by the settlers and a true reconciliation with Indigenous people began.
- The patriarchy was dismantled. Intentional and purposeful changes were instituted to shift organizations, industries, and governments away from male dominance, especially at top leadership levels. The “boys club’s” attempts to resist were quickly extinguished.
- Canada’s history of racism was finally addressed and, like the dismantling of the patriarchy, changes were instituted to shift organizations, industries, and governments away from white dominance, especially at top leadership levels. Zero tolerance was had for white supremacist groups.
- Canada instituted a tax on the wealthiest citizens and closed personal and business tax loopholes. People came to understand and accept that their chance of ever having to pay such a tax was slim and supported the move to narrow the wealth disparity. All the threats to leave from wealthy citizens and businesses were by-and-large empty. The few that did leave had been toxic to Canadians and the country was stronger in the wake of their departure.
- Canada’s increased tax revenues allowed for debt reduction and a massive investment in things such as social programs, arts and culture, infrastructure spending, and innovation grants. All of this was an investment in the people at the time and the generations to come.
- The economy flourished under increased participation by citizens and sustainable practices. New businesses and industries formed regularly. Social programs – including guaranteed income – supported those unable to work either temporarily or permanently.
- Issues of contaminated water, hunger, poverty, and homelessness were eradicated due to the recognition that this was a fundamental right of every person in Canada. Social spending ensured no one would have to experience going without. Notably, spending on healthcare decreased as a result of increasing the quality of life for everyone.
- Policing fundamentally changed and was demilitarized. Police forces still existed and worked in partnership with other social services. Due to Canada’s investment in social programs, crimes due to financial hardship, addiction, and mental health issues declined dramatically.
- Education of all citizens became world-leading with continued investment in primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions. Barriers of entry were reduced and everyone could pursue studies in the field of their choosing. The highly-educated workforce spurred economic growth and diversity.
- Populist and neoliberal politics faded away. Canadians rejected the myths they were being fed and recognized these lies were intended to distract and divide while wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of the few to the detriment of the many.
- Canada met and exceeded its 2030 climate change targets, again acting as an innovative world leader in environmental and climate sustainability. Energy companies were embraced as partners (not demonized) to support the transition and meet targets. The environment was once again prioritized and long-standing commitments were made to preserve it.
All of this is possible if we are committed and united to make it happen. This is where I started dreaming today. Imagine ten years from now – what bold actions should we take to transform Canada to support the prosperity and equality of everyone?