Work in progress

Written by Brenda Schimke

Canada Day, a day we come together to celebrate just how fortunate we are to live in a country with strong democratic principles and a high quality of life. In fact, we are the envy of the world.

The US News & World Report, annually rank 78 participating countries as to which is the best in the world. The global communications company VMLY&R and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania use both qualitative and quantitative data in their analysis.

In 2021, Canada, for the first time, was ranked number one with Japan and Germany at number two and three respectively.

For six consecutive years Canada ranked number one in the Quality-of-Life category which measures economic stability, public safety, affordability, income equity, a good job market, well-distributed political power, and well-developed public education and public health systems.

Canada also took first place in the Social Purpose category which considers social justice, human and animal rights, racial equity, gender equality and religious freedom.

I suspect the government’s recognition and small steps towards reconciliation with our First Peoples was significant in pushing our world ranking up. Very few countries, Germany excepted, admit and try to correct past shame.

The country also received high marks in the Agility, Entrepreneurship and Open for Business categories. Agility refers to a country that is modern, dynamic, progressive, adaptable and responsive.

In the Open for Business category, Canada ranked number three, whereas the U.S. was number 45. The countries considered the most business friendly are those that are perceived to have the best balance between a stable business environment and a reasonable cost of doing business.

Multiculturalism is the bane of the Alt Right, albeit, it is probably the number one reason why Canada does so well in the entrepreneurial and business categories. The diversity of students in our universities are great for employers who are keen to hire graduates that can bring a range of diverse perspectives and languages to their organizations. By accepting and embracing people from around the world, it makes Canada much more agile on the global scene.

White Canadians stopped bearing enough children to satisfy our work force needs in the late 1960s making immigration a necessity for economic growth.

But that doesn’t mean Canada is perfect. We have a long way to go towards full reconciliation with our indigenous peoples, stopping racial profiling of our black peoples, the unprovoked attacks against people of other religions, and the growing anger and feelings of alienation by many white, rural, Canadian-born citizens.

It will be to Canada’s peril if the concerns of rural Canadians aren’t also taken seriously.

The illegal blockade at the Coutts border is a forewarning of what could come if nothing is done. It was made up of ordinary, usually law-abiding, citizens. The anti-vax, anti-science, anti-public health restrictions were not the underlying cause of this unrest. They just became the ‘coming out’ issues.

Politicians on the left need to judge less, stop demonizing, hear more, and sit face to face with rural community leaders. Strong leadership will always find points of agreement and effective compromise.

Politicians on the right need to stop ‘Americanizing’ and cease the inflammatory rhetoric against our public institutions and Canadian democracy. Rather they should put all their efforts into finding and delivering real solutions to address the substantive concerns of rural Canadians.

Canada is a great country, with as many warts and problems as any other country. It will always be a work in progress. Yet, on the front lines are the politicians and it will be their rhetoric, actions and leadership that will significantly determine Canada’s future.

Brenda Schimke

About the author

Brenda Schimke

Schimke is a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a BCom degree. She has lived and worked in Alberta, BC and Ontario.