Oh Canada

Another Canada Day has passed and once this newspaper hits the street, Independence Day (July 4) will have kicked into full gear.

Celebrations of these sorts mean different things to different people. For newer immigrants, we hope the chance for a new life in a peaceful country heads their list of reasons to cheer. 

Long standing families sheltered from conflict for generations may or may not grasp the significance of how fortunate we are to live in Canada, let alone the continent of North America. Opportunities abound for those who are capable and willing to work hard.

After a freezing round of golf on Sunday morning we retreated to the family room for a dose of Netflix. The latest recommendation was a series on fascist Europe – its violent beginning and horrendous conclusion.

A little more than a hundred years ago Mussolini set up shop in Italy. In a similar time frame, Hitler joined the Worker’s Party and the rest is history as they say. 

Volumes have been written on this timeframe and most thinking people would want to believe such a tragic turn in the public will  never happen again. 

We hope that as well, but the fact is democracy takes work and far too many Canadians have become lazy in this regard.

In recent years, representative democracy has been disappointing. Agendas seem out of sync with the general public. Personalities and messaging have become so fractious that open dialogue is met with distrust and indifference. 

Apathy is the cause of much of this, evidenced by vote counts in recent years. Had people been watching and holding politicians to account all this time, the many crises facing Canadians would not seem as insurmountable as they are. 

Health care, housing, immigration, security, cost of living – these are all great challenges impacting the lives of Canadians. 

This current point of dissatisfaction is troubling because it sets the stage for an appetite to short circuit democracy and look at anyone willing to push the limits. It is a dangerous time in that regard.

Americans will head to the polls this fall with two uninspiring and horrible choices. Canadians, no later than fall 2025, will do the same. 

The need for civic engagement has never been greater.