Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.
–Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, 1984
Canada is coming off a wonderful year of commemorating 150 years since confederation. It was a time to come together and celebrate what it means to be Canadian. Now the party is over and things are not as glowing as we might think.
The current challenge
According to the global Legatum Prosperity Index, Canada has slipped to its lowest rank in a decade – from 4th to 8th. Underlying this fall is a drop in economic quality from 8th to 15th, a slide in health from 13th to 24th, and a decline in safety and security from 17th to 24th. Our global IMD Competitive Ranking was down to 12th in 2016 from a previous high of 5th. Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and the UAE have all moved in front of Canada. This is particularly alarming for business since the IMD competitive ranking measures a nation’s competencies for achieving long term growth, job generation and welfare increases.
Our audacious future
What will the next 150 years hold for Canada? How do we ensure the generations who follow will prosper? Imagine a Canada where everyone’s basic needs are met – everyone’s. Access to clean water, fresh air, accessible health care, basic human rights, education and affordable housing. A Canada that is full of appreciation and acceptance of who we all are and to see diversity as a chance to learn. Dare we dream of Canada as a global role model for international trade and poverty reduction? What do you want the future Canada to look like?
How to achieve our audacious future
I’m proud to be part of a group of Canadian organizational culture practitioners. We’ve worked hard over the last year to put together a program to create national awareness and an understanding about Canadian values. We’re passionate about fostering a sense of shared purpose that will spur change in our neighborhoods, communities, cities and regions across Canada toward a future that we want for us and for our children and grandchildren. We need your help and here are a few quick ways for you to engage:
Take 10 minutes to participate in our anonymous national values survey. Three simple questions. (Okay, there’s some demographic questions too, but come on, those are really quick and easy to answer.) Compare your perspective with other Canadians. Find out what men vs women are saying. Curious about your particular region?
Share the survey with your family, friends and colleagues at work. Encourage others to participate through your social media links. http://canadianvaluesconversations.com is the place to send them. (or just forward this newsletter)
Check out our Values Cafés and join in the discussion about what these values really mean and how we could live them more fully. I’ll be hosting an event in Ottawa in May, and my colleagues are hosting events across the country.
Join us on Facebook or twitter @CDN_Values and #CanadianValuesConversations
If you have other ideas on how to engage Canadians, I’d love to hear them! Just hit the reply button and leave your comment.
The fruit of your labour
We have an opportunity today to shape our future. To raise awareness of what matters most to Canadians when it comes to our culture. While politicians play a role in setting direction, we cannot default or delegate the work to just them. We must not be passive passengers on this journey. Don’t let us fall into the divisive culture that is embracing our neighbors in the United States. By entering into discussions about our shared values, the values that matter the most to us, we can purposely design our culture and our future!