So here we are once again with a post that will tackle this year's 'Ask Me Anything' inquiries. And just like last year, I saved one question till the end that grabbed my attention from the get-go and really got me thinking.
If you could be Prime Minister of Canada for one day, with unlimited power, what change(s) would you make to our country?
I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on things that I feel are important to our beautiful country and what changes I would make if I had unlimited power. And although one day is obviously not long enough for any Prime Minister to implement significant change, we’ll pretend for a moment that it would be a very, very long day.
There are many things that stand out for me, some of which I listed on a previous post, and although quite a few would rise to the top (like major improvements in our mental health care services and working toward eliminating poverty and homelessness), I’m going to zoom in on one that is a national disgrace:
The deplorable living conditions of our country’s First Nations reserves.
The sense of despair in these communities is beyond disgraceful. It offends our values, everything we stand for. We should be unleashing outrage that fellow Canucks are living in third world conditions in such a wealthy nation. We should be hanging our heads in shame the way we ignore and criticize and harshly judge and discriminate against these communities. We should be shocked and infuriated that so many Canadians are living in such poverty, such appalling conditions. And feeling isolated, desperate and hopeless.
This is one of our country’s greatest failings. And it is in our collective interest to change it. Right now. We should not stand for this one minute longer. Not one. We are all in this together and when we cast our ballot to choose who will govern us, our questions should not be “what can they do for my wallet or for my petty fears or for my first world problems?” but rather “what can they do for my country, for all of us?” Because we should be looking after each other. When we’re all doing well, our nation is stronger, healthier, happier. And more united. Truly united.
So this would be my priority, Debra, if I was the Prime Minister for one (very long) day. But I won’t pretend to know what the solution is. This situation is very complex with many social and economic issues to untangle and tackle. These marginalized citizens have been subjected to immense pain and mistreatment and atrocities that have affected their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing, which in turn has caused depression and mental health issues that can lead to addictions and poverty and on and on. It is a vicious cycle, a hopelessness that gets passed on from generation to generation. But no matter the complexities, we must come up with a strategy, roll up our sleeves and get to work.
We must come together and fix this. And help our fellow citizens become healthy and happy and whole, so that they can move forward and prosper. So that they can become a proud people again.
That’s the Canadian way.
And that concludes this year’s “Ask Me Anything” series of questions. Thank you to everyone who participated. Enjoy the day!