July 1st can only mean one thing in this country, Canada Day. It’s the one day of the year that we can all agree that we are proud to be Canadian. The rest of the year, we spend complaining about everything that is wrong with this country. Just for a moment, let’s take a look at some of the ups and downs the country faces and a few challenges for the future. Rather than simply complain, let’s look for solutions to issues like the economy, personal freedoms and First Nations rights because though we have a great country, there is always room for improvement!
The world’s economy is in difficult times, it’s a well known fact, and the Canadian economy has not been immune to these changes. Though our banks have largely escaped without too many bruises so far, the entire economy is shrinking. The government did not make the mistake of the depression but the intervention still seems to be a hesitant after thought and has invested too much into General Motors. While General Motors does contribute a fair amount to the economy of certain regions, especially in vote rich Ontario, it is a gamble of many billions of dollars of tax-payers money from all across the country and no relief has been seen for people in other hard-hit sectors like manufacturing. Additional investments in green technology should be made, although a few tax credits are a start. The economy is on the right track to recovery but infrastructure investments and others deserve to be placed in priority and cuts should no longer be made to important cultural and heritage institutions.
The government is walking a slippery slope in regards to its attempts at restricting personal freedoms. Though Canada is often seen as a very free country, many laws have encroached upon personal rights and legislation currently in debate in Parliament would further this trend. The government must increase trust its citizens and focus on real criminals rather than the average law abiding citizen. Tougher copyright law which forces ISPs to give out personal information should be avoided as most people are downloading music are simply trying to discover new music rather than build libraries or worse, attempt to make a profit. At the same time, the government does not believe in banning handguns which serve no useful purpose in any society, especially one where the rule of law is applied, we hope, fairly to all.
One of the most pressing issues in our country is the treatment of the First Nations peoples which is an international embarrassment. Martin tried to find a solution with the Kelowna Accord though it has already been forgotten, NGO’s criticise our human rights record for this apathy and a debate about sending hand sanitizer to prevent swine flu is ridiculously insulting. Again, the government needs to trust the First Nations by giving them more powers to represent and govern themselves to ensure a more prosperous future.
It seems a general lack of trust in decision-making is coming from our government. If only citizens’ abilities and talents were better respected, much headway could be achieved. This country was not built in a day, it took millions of people working together to achieve what we have now and we will need this same spirit to build towards our future. What a great country we have built! Happy Canada Day to all!