View From the Legislature

Despite Challenges Canada Remains Filled With Promise

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

Because of the very diverse and scattered way in which people consume news and events these days, we don’t share common experiences in the same way we once did. Long gone are the days when the majority of households could be counted on to be tuning into a major political address or event. Yet there are still things that seem to bring Canadians together, even if in different ways then they did in the past.

This past Monday, millions of Canadians were watching, either on their televisions or various streaming devices, to the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Such is the hold that hockey can still command on Canadians. And while there was a common perspective that the majority of Canadians watching were rooting for the Edmonton Oilers to bring the Stanley Cup north of the border for the first time in decades, sports rivalries run deep. It is as unlikely that fans in Calgary were rooting for the Oilers because they are a Canadian based team as it would be for Blue Bomber fans to root for the Roughriders because they are both in the west.

However sports rivalries are not a sign of division, but rather passion. In fact, when we talk about division, often our thoughts turn to the United States where it truly feels, according to polling for several years now, that Americans are split almost down the middle on who they want to lead the country. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Canada. In fact, if the recent by-election in Toronto (won by the Conservatives for the first time in decades) is any indication, Canadians seem more united than ever in their desire to see the federal Liberal government removed from office.

But while hockey still stirs our passion and there is a mostly unified desire for change politically, there is still more than a little anxiety among Canadians. Two years of high inflation accompanied by corresponding jumps in interest rates have made life considerably less affordable. Add to this a significant jump in the cost of housing and rent and many Canadians, young people especially, are wondering just what their future holds. Canadians are also concerned about the rising level of drug addiction and the increased level of crime that has come along with it. More and more, people are not feeling as safe in their communities as they once did.

These are very real and legitimate concerns, and they require serious policy action by the various levels of government to address. And yet, as we approach another Canada Day, this one celebrating Canada’s 157th birthday, one can still look past these challenges and see a country filled with promise.

Canada remains a country seen as desired for its freedom and democratic system of government. It remains a country that is rich in natural resources and filled with diverse natural beauty. Canadians still today, despite regional differences, generally value the different parts of the country and what each brings to the shared whole. For these reasons Canada is still seen as one of the most desirable places in the world to live.

But like every generation of Canadians, we face challenges that need to be addressed. There is a need to continue to be a strong voice in the world for democracy and freedom. We must ensure those values remain strong at home as well. Young Canadians should be able to have a reasonable path, if they choose it and are committed to earn it, to home ownership and financial security.

On this Canada Day, take the time to celebrate the wonderful country we get to call home. And then let’s commit ourselves to work to ensure it remains as filled with hope and promise for tomorrow, as it did for generations past.