Time To Make A Choice

The Conference Board of Canada, which last week came out in support of implementing a carbon tax, has released a new report condemning Canada’s “culture of complacency” which has caused a “mediocrity that is hampering what we can do and what we can be.” The report graded Canada in six categories: economy, innovation, environment, education, health and society, and called the results “stunningly poor.”

The Globe and Mail reports that the report also says that “since Canada’s health-care system is geared toward resolving urgent needs, little innovative thinking is done on how to prevent illness.” (Where have I heard that before?)

Few of us will be surprised by the report’s conclusion. This apparent reality represents a failure of political leadership. As Christopher Waddell observed during the last election campaign, the leaders of the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP all “seem struck by a collective crisis of imagination.” What’s worse, politics has become more about what we can’t do than what we’re capable of doing. There was a time when Stephen Harper accused others of defeatism. Look who’s defeatist now.

The report compares Canada unfavourably to other OECD countries, but lack of vision is also a global problem. At almost the exact moment as the G8 wrapped up their meeting that Susan Riley says failed the planet–and I am not making this up–my computer produced, without warning or provocation, an error message that I have never seen before:

Catastrophic Failure

Seriously. Actually. No foolin’. Reminds me of the timing of lightening during the recent Republican presidential debate. (BTW, have you ever tried taking a screen-grab of a computer during a catastrophic failure? It isn’t easy.)

I suspect the reason that we elect leaders who make only minimal, vague, flabby promises, is that we’re afraid of getting burned (and/or because we’ve been burned too often in the past). If you don’t fall in love, you can’t get hurt. Same goes for getting excited about a politician’s potential. However, the moral about it being better to have loved and lost applies here equally as well. Especially in a time of crisis, when strong leadership is critical.

The next platform of the Green Party of Canada will make bold commitments, and outline an extremely ambitious vision for Canada. It will be easy to dismiss this vision as idealistic or unrealistic, but that’s also the easiest way to ensure we don’t get there. It’s time for us, as a nation, to choose between mediocrity or greatness, between success or failure. What’s it going to be?

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