As Canada’s Constitution approached its sesquicentennial, the Walrus Talks set out on a national tour to answer this question:
What is one thing Canadians can do to make the country better?
Thousands of Canadians in all thirteen provinces and territories heard 100 Walrus Talks on the theme of We Desire a Better Country—fifty from emerging youth leaders and fifty from members of the Order of Canada. We also asked each of those speakers what Canadians can do to improve the country. Here is some of what they had to say:
After each Walrus Talks we posed the same question to our audience. Here is some of what you had to say:
1. BEGIN RECONCILIATION
Urge the federal government to formally recognize Indigenous peoples as founding nations.
Read the RCMP’s report on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.
2. EMBRACE DIFFERENCE
Move from “multicultural” to “intercultural” through more intimate relationships with individuals with different backgrounds.
Make friends with a conservative/liberal.
Get out of your bubble.
3. STUDY HISTORY
We need to learn more about our country. There was more Canadian content in grade school when I was growing up. Let’s make our children proud to be Canadian.
Listen. Listen. Listen. Then come to grips with the results of our history and make amends.
Learn from our history yet do not dwell on the past.
4. READ MORE
Follow political news and keep our leaders honest and connected.
Stop paying attention to American media and re-engage with thoughtful, in-depth, factual Canadian media such as the CBC and The Walrus.
Support good journalism.
5. PRACTICE EMPATHY
Be empathetic, even if you haven’t shared a lived experience.
Talk to people who are not like you and with whom you don’t normally associate. Ask questions to learn and understand, not to argue with or try to convince.
Remember that this is our shared home and that almost every single one of us is an immigrant of just a few generations. Compassion. Compassion. Compassion.
6. GET INVOLVED
Advocate and educate. Fight the apathy foisted upon us by an outdated political system interested in maintaining the status quo at the expense of equality, unity, connection, social justice, and cultural growth.
Give back by volunteering with local charities and by being kind to each other.
Build, maintain, and repair relationships with Indigenous people and with the land.
7. ADDRESS INEQUALITY
Give POC writers and artists a platform to share their stories.
Provide support and education to our rural areas.
Be extra kind to visible minorities.
8. GET OUT THERE
Reignite our curiosity about other people and places, even within our own country.
Travel across the country to see what life is like where you don’t live and work.
Go and visit every corner of our amazing country and experience the rich diversity of its people and geography. This will foster greater appreciation of who we are as a nation and greater insight on what we need to do to make Canada even better.
9. PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Invest in green energy and clean-tech jobs.
Switch to active commuting (e.g. walking, biking) to improve health, air quality, lower emissions, improve moods, reduce wear on roads, and engage in our communities.
Pick up litter in a small way and clean up in a large way.
10. BE PROUD
Be proud of this country, and stop being so shy about being proud.
Stay in Canada, buy Canadian, and make public education top priority.
Simply be Canadian: Face the world and each other with acceptance, respect, and a warm, welcoming attitude. That is what made Canada such an amazing country to live in.
Want more inspiration? Watch all 100 Canada150 Walrus Talks now.
This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce à l’aide du gouvernement du Canada.
A Canada 150 Signature Project.
Un projet signature de Canada 150