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October 03, 2008

The Great Canadian Wish List: What We Say We Want

This list is my attempt to begin to spell out the disconnect behind what Canadians say they want and how they vote. In this post, I create my version of a Great Canadian Wish List -- what Canadians talk about when they describe what's great about their country. In my next post, I'll measure this wish list against what voters are being offered by the Conservative Party of Canada -- the party that called this election seeking a mandate in the form of a majority government.

The Great Canadian Wish List

What do we Canadians talk about when we express our values and talk about what we want for our country?

  • We talk about how we want to feel safe and secure -- to have a government that makes sound economic decisions that take the needs of the ordinary citizen into account -- and that won't cause us to lose our bank account savings or our homes.
  • We talk about how important it is to us to stop destroying the planet so that our beautiful country will be able to provide the land and water that our children and grandchildren will need to grown and thrive.
  • We talk about how industries that are doing the damage to the planet should be the ones to pay to clean it up.
  • We talk about how much our health care system matters to us -- and how important it is to us that every Canadian be able to have access to a family doctor and how chronically underserviced communities and provinces need to have their long-standing shortages in certain health specialties (for example children's mental health services; mental health services in general)?
  • We talk about how we want a government that protects the health and safety of Canadians.
  • We talk about the importance of protecting our rural heritage while creating safe and healthy urban environments -- cities in which people can walk or bike to work instead of driving their cars.
  • We talk about how we want a government that looks out for the needs of farmers and that provide Canadians with accurate and reliable information about genetically modified foods, agri-business, and other issues that affect the food that shows up on their dinner table.
  • We talk about how much we value freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and government transparency, and government accountability -- and how much we want politicians who are accessible, genuine, and trustworthy.
  • We talk about how much we regret the treatment that aboriginal people in this country have received -- and how we want to move forward in ways that take serious action to right those wrongs.
  • We talk about how much we value being part of a society in which everyone has equal opportunity to succeed -- including new Canadians -- and in which no one is discriminated against.
  • We talk about how proud we are of the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- and a justice system that assumes innocence until a person is proven guilty.
  • We talk about the importance of giving young people the best possible start in life -- how the early years are the most important years: a critical time when we must invest in our children because they are our country's future.
  • We talk about how much we value our children and our families, including our seniors.
  • We talk about how proud we are about being Canadian and having a uniquely Canadian identity.
  • We talk about how fortunately we are to live in a country like Canada that is one of the safest countries in the world.
  • We talk about how proud we feel when we travel abroad and people from other countries speak glowingly about Canada and its peacekeeping and environmental stewardship record abroad.

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