Saturday, December 31, 2016

No Time For Complacency

Tomorrow, we enter our 150th year. In 1867, John A.Macdonald's dream seemed like a shot in the dark against Manifest Destiny.  We've flirted with failure, but we've managed to survive in North America's Attic. And we've survived because we've refused to become complacent.

Now that 150 is just around the corner, Peter MacLeod writes, we must not become smug. There are all kinds of questions which we must face head on:

Does a mature and self-respecting country tolerate the systemic injustices that persist between its indigenous and nonindigenous citizens?
Is it satisfied after 150 years of effort to see families still struggle for decent housing, good child care and meaningful employment?
Has its history depleted the land on which it rests or has its ingenuity made possible a gentler balance?
Are its civic and cultural institutions inventive and edifying?
Is every child welcomed into a society that will nurture their talents and invest generously in their future?
Has the country grown overproud and complacent or does it still dream restlessly of a better version of itself?

Whatever our faults -- and they're many -- we've always maintained a sense of humour and a sense of perspective. As we enter the New Year, we will have to work hard to maintain both.

Happy New Year to all. 



The Mound of Sound said...

Happy New Year to you and yours, Owen. You're right. We will have to work harder next year to beat back the flames lest we end up at this time next year looking back fondly at 2016.

Owen Gray said...

And 2016 will not go down in history as an beacon of human progress, Mound. Happy New Year.

Lorne said...

I've started off the new year by beginning to read Unspeakable, Chris Hedges' latest book, Owen. I've only read the first chapter, but it is yet again a sobering reminder of how the poor and dispossessed mean nothing to the privileged. May 2017 see our politicos do more to make Canada what Justin's father aspired to: The Just Society.

Owen Gray said...

We live in a society, Lorne, where the acquisition of wealth has become the sole measure of success and self worth -- and where the gulf between rich and poor has become obscene.

Let's hope that 2017 improves the lot of the vast majority -- who are anything but wealthy. Happy New Year.