Canada is turning 150

This blog post originally appeared in the CBC Radio-Canada Blog here.

March 24, 2013

In four short years, Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday. To help mark the occasion, the Canada 150 Conference Series is bringing citizens together in conversations across the country, asking:

How and what do we want to celebrate in 2017?

Though they may seem like lighthearted questions, the answers have the potential to inspire significant change.  

Canada has grown in many ways over the past 146 years. Railroads, highways and now technology have made our vast country an increasingly connected one. Canadian institutions have supported progress towards a just and healthy society. Our country’s ambassadors have contributed to international peace and progress, and our cities and towns have become places of new beginnings and hope for immigrants from around the world. Indeed, over the past 146 years, Canada has become a place to be proud of.

Unfortunately, some of our progress has been undermined. Over recent years we’ve seen an erosion of many Canadian social structures, our natural environment, and our sense of pride. This year, Canada lost its place among the top 10 countries on the Human Development Index, and our nation now emits more Greenhouse Gases per capita than almost any other. Although our dollar remains relatively strong, growing socio-economic inequality threatens the stability of our country’s social structures.

Our collective advances and setbacks, successes and failure, were top of mind among citizens at the Canada 150 Conference in Vancouver. In small discussion groups, we envisioned ourselves four years from today and considered what we’d like to be able to say.

The hope in the room was palpable. The ideas were inspiring. The dialogue was respectful and productive. In true Canadian style, folks at the Canada 150 Conference in Vancouver were interested to hear new approaches, and eager to solve the problems we face collaboratively. Ultimately, the feeling in the room was one of aspiration.

As the conferences move across the country, I am hopeful that more Canadians will join this conversation and resolve to pitch in to uphold and protect the future of our home and native land.

Let’s identify issues and get to work on solutions. Let’s use this time to ensure that, in 2017, we can celebrate the progress we’ve made since 2013.

Author Jackie Pichette is the Research and Communications Officer at SFU Public Square

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