Skip to main content

The Canadian flag flies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

Craig and Marc Kielburger founded Free The Children, Me to We and We Day. Find out more at Their biweekly Brain Storm column taps experts and readers for solutions to social issues.

Unless you've been focused entirely on the Toronto Blue Jays' exhilarating quest for the World Series, you'll know there's another race happening in Canada that feels as excruciatingly long as the baseball season.

It's the longest federal election since 1872. If the 78-day campaign went any longer, there may be no candidates left. Not after their opponents burrow through old Facebook posts and Instagram photos.

After the ballots are tallied on Oct. 19, Canadians will be wondering, "What happens next?"

Among Sir John A. Macdonald's first acts as prime minister was launching the Intercolonial Railway to unite the nation by train. John Diefenbaker boosted pensions and employment insurance, and Pierre Trudeau passed the Official Languages Act.

In the United States, Franklin Roosevelt passed 15 laws in his first 100 days as president to rescue Americans from the Depression. Try matching that feat.

Regardless of its political makeup, our next parliament desperately needs to deliver constructive initiatives that tackle key problems everyone can agree on, like more employment opportunities for young people.

We'd vote for a federal program that trains a generation of Canadian youth as social entrepreneurs. It would equip aspiring global problem-solvers with tangible business skills, from budgeting to marketing. A Dragons' Den 101.

There are countless important issues facing Canada. Instead of hearing (again) about what Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau would do, it's time they heard from you.

This week's question: If you became prime minister, what would be your first policy, or law to solve a pressing problem?


Jessi Cruickshank, TV host, Canada's Smartest Person

"Enforce equal pay for women and invest in equity programs to address the astounding wage gap, in particular, for minority, aboriginal and immigrant women."

Mackenzie Dove, president, Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Parliament

"Make postsecondary education more accessible for all Canadians. Increasing federal student grants and boost online programs to reach those in rural communities."

Raymond Wang, teen inventor and social entrepreneur, Vancouver

"Create a national fund for youth science programs (fairs and competitions in engineering, biotechnology, robotics and programming) that are focused on hands-on learning and economically viable solutions to real-world issues."

Kathy Brock, professor of policy studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont.

"Create a new federal 'Life with Dignity' transfer payment for two priorities: end-of-life care including more robust home and palliative care and physician-aided death; and ensuring every child has adequate food, shelter and access to play a sport."

Have your say in the comment section.