June 21st, 2024

In these turbulent times, Canada needs ‘more Canada’

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on June 28, 2018.

The phrase “the world needs more Canada” began as a marketing slogan to promote Canadian authors, but was quickly embraced by a population that’s typically been slow to brag about our accomplishments.

It’s been picked up and repeated by several world leaders and global celebrities whose causes align with our traditional support for compassionate internationalism.

Yet, as the world enters the second half of a tumultuous 2018, and we celebrate the 151st year of confederation this weekend, one thing is increasingly clear.

Frankly, Canada also needs more Canada.

Our large, peaceful, prosperous example to the world requires a little “me time” to refresh and start pressing work on the economic, social and political challenges that lie ahead.

It’s not a conversation that Canadians have had before.

Touchstones of Canadian culture and our presence in the world, if not shouted from a mountain, have seemed as constant.

In another age, these would have been peacekeeping, universal health care, a strong social safety net, a cultural mosaic, and on and on.

In this age, though, those may sound as corny as the McKenzie Brothers, a Leafs game on Saturday night and maple syrup.

Today, a great many Canadians have serious concerns and a wide variety of opinions about immigration, equality, federalism, and the future of the resource economy — all foundational pillars of our society.

An effort to improve relations and the living with Indigenous people appears to be dragging along.

Local communities are challenged to fulfill their commitments and mandates.

No one seems to have enough money.

Front of mind, certainly, is a Canada Day deadline for Ottawa to implement tariffs on U.S. goods. That’s in response to moves by U.S. President Donald Trump to undo generations of work to integrate economies and gain benefits that both sides enjoy.

But it’s not just the wildly unpredictable White House that challenges us.

Within our borders, we’re flush with interprovincial squabbles, and trade skirmishes, and renewed regionalism in the cases of pipeline construction, equalization, and climate strategy.

Even Alberta and Saskatchewan, sisters that became provinces together on the same day in 1905, are arguing like harpies about micro-brewed beer, licence plates and who’s got the better premier.

These are mere microcosms of larger, important arguments, of course, but they are petty and counterproductive.

While Quebec nationalism is at a notable low, Western alienation is rising fast.

With dramatic provincial election results in Ontario and British Columbia over the last year, those jurisdictions appear to be doing their own thing as well.

Does anyone, anywhere see a sense of community coupled with a search for common values, common purpose or common good, on the rise?

That’s a good question for Canadians to ask themselves this weekend.

The bigger question going forward, is what to do about it.

(Collin Gallant is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to https://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions.)

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