Skip to main content
Canada 150

What sitting premiers think of the next 50 years for Canada

In 1967, The Globe and Mail interviewed all of Canada's sitting premiers to get their thoughts on where their provinces were headed in the next 100 years. To mark Canada's 150th birthday, we've taken this concept, updated it with new questions and asked today's provincial and territorial leaders to prognosticate on their region's next 50 years.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

British ColumbiaAlbertaSaskatchewanManitobaOntarioQuebecNew BrunswickNova ScotiaPrince Edward IslandNewfoundland and LabradorNunavutNorthwest TerritoriesYukon

Illustrations by Kagan Mcleod

British Columbia

Premier-designate: John Horgan

Party affiliation: NDP

By Ian Bailey

Story continues below advertisement

What will be the key challenge for British Columbia between now and 2067?

It's always a small population – four and a half million people in a sea of seven billion souls with dwindling natural resources. While we have an abundance of metals and minerals, we are increasingly having difficulty getting them to other markets at a price that is consistent with lower labour standards, [and] lower environmental standards in other parts of the world. I think the big challenge for Canada and British Columbia going forward is making sure our competitors are dealing with the same challenges we are – protecting our air, water and land, and ensuring that workers are paid a living wage.

What will your province's electoral system and political party structure look like in 2067?

I firmly believe our first-past-the-post system is well past its best-before date. We, here in British Columbia – with the Green and NDP alliance – are committed to putting a question to the public and campaigning in favour of that question to bring in proportional representation. I think the public wants to get outside of their comfort zone when it comes to our democratic institutions. They want to know they are electing people that reflect the diversity of their community and I think that's what our voting system will look like 50 years out.

What kind of impact do you imagine climate change will be having on B.C. in 2067?

Larger on British Columbia than anywhere else because we're a coastal community.

What should we do given the challenges?

Story continues below advertisement

Meet our international obligations, first and foremost. It's critically important we don't just use the atmosphere as a dumping ground. Donald Trump aside, I think American cities and states are well advanced, as are Canadian provinces and cities, to make the transitions we need to make to reduce our emissions.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

I would put in some simple words and that would be, 'Never forget that you are working for the people of the province.'

(Return to top)


Alberta

Premier: Rachel Notley

Party affiliation: NDP

Story continues below advertisement

In power since: 2015

By Kelly Cryderman

What do you think the population of Alberta will look like in 2067?

Very possibly mostly robots – big ones. Some will be invisible. And it will be weird. But speaking more seriously: I think there's no question Alberta is getting more and more diverse every year, and that young people in particular are embracing that, and seeing that as the way of the future. And I think that will become an increasingly defining element of our population.

What will be the biggest industry in Alberta in 2067?

Alberta is an energy province, and we will be for a very long time. But the nature of that energy is always changing and diversifying. And we are arguably, right now, the most popular place for investment in renewable energy in the country. But generally speaking, we also are very focused on diversification. So the last thing I want to do is pick an industry or a particular product and say that's what going to be what drives our economy.

What kind of impact do you imagine climate change will be having on Alberta in 2067?

Our government is actually quite proud of the work that we have done in the last two years to make serious progress on climate change. So I am optimistic. That being said, the reality is that many scientists will say that one or two, at least, of the horses have already left the barn. And so we have adaptation issues that we have to deal with. I think that increasingly we will see conversations between provinces and the federal government about work that needs to be done around adaptation. Because even if we are successful at stopping the trend, we know already that there are some significant issues there – look at the flood in Calgary in 2013. I think that if we have foresight, we will turn our attention to that work sooner rather than later.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

It would be not one thing – it would be several things. But it would all be focused on one thing. I would put in a record, an 8-track, a cassette, a CD and a flash drive of the best Alberta music being played right now in this year.

(Return to top)



Saskatchewan

Premier: Brad Wall

Party affiliation: Saskatchewan Party

In power since: 2007

By Miriam Katawazi

What will be the key challenge for your province between now and 2067?

We have to continue to focus on the fact that the world population is growing and that the demand for food will grow – the demand for high-quality protein food will grow. We should focus on crop science. We've been leaders on that for our first 100 years and we need to continue that. As we look forward to the next 50, the next 100 years, we better be focused on what role Saskatchewan can play in the world, and food security and energy security are a big part.

What kind of impact do you imagine climate change will be having on Saskatchewan in 2067?

If you look at the models, there is a possibility we will be growing larger quantities of different crops because the growing seasons will have changed. We need to continue to lead in technology to help the fight against climate change worldwide. I hope we'll all see the dividends of some of those scientific investments that have been made now.

What do you envision as being the biggest challenge for your health-care system in 2067?

I think health care in 2067 will look a lot different with respect to a greater emphasis on seniors' care and long-term care. I just hope that all of the provinces and the national government are focused on life sciences because we've seen amazing developments over the last 50 years that have resulted in thousands of lives being saved and extended. I'm very optimistic that in the next 50 years we are going to see even more of those kinds of advances. I hope Saskatchewan is a big part of that.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

Our very first premier who was a man by the name of Walter Scott. I would probably pluck out a few quotes from premier Scott. I would tell the premier in 2067 that Scott had it right and we should always aspire to his vision.

(Return to top)



Manitoba

Premier: Brian Pallister

Party affiliation: Progressive Conservative

In power since: 2016

By Miriam Katawazi

What will be the key challenge for Manitoba between now and 2067?

A tremendously important challenge is to create equality of opportunity for Indigenous young people. The Indian Act has stood as an impediment to that equality of opportunity for a long time, so we're advancing things like the treaty land entitlement process, we're advancing economic development strategies in the North, we've been pushing for better primary health care for Indigenous communities. These are really important initiatives – and many others – to create that better opportunity for young people.

What will be the biggest industry in your province in 2067?

That's a tougher question for Manitoba to answer because on a pie chart you would look at our province and say: 'Well these guys have no specialties at all.' That's because we have one of the most diverse economies and that's helped us. I would expect Manitoba's economy to remain diversified because of our location. We have some real benefits to offer other provinces and trading partners in terms of green energy and our beautiful soil [agricultural opportunities]. And because of our diverse population of highly skilled and well-trained young people, we have a real opportunity in terms of building the small business economy.

What do you envision as being the biggest challenge for your health-care system in 2067?

It's very hard to predict because of emerging technologies and new drug development. Take, for example, diseases that right now are affecting people and are killing people – we may be able to combat them in the future but at what expense? Those are things that are hard to predict. Imagine trying to predict health-care treatments that are available today 50 years ago. I don't anticipate that the costs will reduce but I sincerely hope that we can all engage in healthier lifestyles.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

Well, me I guess! I would like to be here in 50 years. I would like to get to know my great-grandchildren. I love this country and I would like to stay in it as long as possible.

(Return to top)


Ontario

Premier: Kathleen Wynne

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2013

By Justin Giovannetti

What do you think the population of Ontario will look like in 2067?

We will continue to draw people from around the world. We're also on a trajectory of an ageing population and I think that that will continue. Although as we draw more newcomers from around the world, that and the Indigenous population will continue to drive population growth. I think we will see lots of young, second and third generation Canadians. My hope is that we'll see a strong and well-educated Indigenous youth population.

What will be the key challenge for Ontario between now and 2067?

The biggest challenge that we're facing as a species is climate change and if we're still to be a healthy planet in 50 years, we will need to turn the corner. My hope would be that in 50 years, Ontario would be seen as a leader in that fight. But much more importantly the technology that we develop in the next 50 years that will go on to help the rest of the world.

What will Ontario's electoral system and political party structure look like in 2067?

In 50 years, I think there will likely be another shot at proportional representation in the province. But the fact that we're already seeing ranked ballots at the municipal levels here in Ontario seems to indicate that people will look at different systems. I think there is a distinct possibility that we will see more parties.

What do you envision as being the biggest challenge for your health-care system in 2067?

The health-care system is evolving into a system where we're moving away from a solely hospital-centered system into more of a community system. I think you will see that evolution as we go forward. I hope that we will find a way to focus more on prevention.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

I would encourage my successor to continue to work toward a fair society. So it would be a letter, it would be words.

(Return to top)



Quebec

Name: Jean-Marc Fournier, Government House Leader and Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2014

The Globe and Mail submitted several requests for an interview with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. His office did not respond.

By Ingrid Peritz

What will be the key challenge for Quebec between now and 2067?

Ensuring that Quebec is more prosperous, more egalitarian, more green and more open.

How do you see Quebec in 2067 in terms of language, age and diversity?

A major issue for Quebec will be the demographic challenge. We're going to be dealing with an ageing population and we'll have to take actions in response to that. One will be with immigration. By definition that means more diversity, but also integration, our policy of inter-culturalism and francisation. Today, 94 per cent of the population can speak French. Let's aspire to reach at least 95 per cent.

What kind of impact do you imagine climate change will be having on your province in 2067?

We're obviously going to have to adapt, and there will be costs, but there are also opportunities – for example, in energy transition. This means producing our own energy, diminishing our dependence on hydrocarbons, and relying more on hydroelectricity, solar and wind power. It will lead us to produce our own energy, which is good for the economy.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

It would be one word written on a little piece of paper: Confidence. Because what we envision for Quebec for the next 50 years – and for the rest of Canada – has to rest on confidence. Confidence is what attracts immigration, so it responds to our demographic challenge. Confidence is the key that brings investors, so it means prosperity. Confidence is also the hope of those who are less fortunate, when you want a more egalitarian society. And confidence is the path of openness toward others, toward Canada, toward the world. I think the next 50 years will offer an avenue for Quebec to be above the economic average. We could stop receiving equalization payments because we will have a confident society capable of progressing.

(Return to top)



New Brunswick

Premier: Brian Gallant

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2014

By Joyita Sengupta

What do you think the population of New Brunswick will look like in 2067?

I believe we'll see that New Brunswick has complete women's equality. We'll have 50 per cent of positions of influence held by women, we'll have 50 per cent of our elected officials be women, we'll have pay equity and we'll put an end to gender-based violence.

What will be the key challenge for your province between now and 2067?

There's no doubt, it will be an ageing population. So, we're going to be focused on growing our population. To do that, you want to bring New Brunswickers who have left back home. We want to bring Canadians to New Brunswick for the first time and we want to bring new Canadians to our province as well. By doing all three of these things, we hope to buck the trend of an ageing population. We recognize the main focus has to be economic growth and job creation to get people to stay here. We also recognize that with an ageing population we have to be innovative when it comes to important programs like health care.

What will be the biggest industry in New Brunswick in 2067?

I see us as the epicentre for Canada in cybersecurity. At the same time, I could see us being the responsible energy and resource development hub between North America and the European Union. In 50 years, New Brunswick will be exporting our food and seafood to markets around the globe. And, I see all of the Atlantic provinces as the primary experiential tourism destinations in Canada over the next few decades.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

I'm not sure how you put this in a time capsule but I would say some sort of certificate to buy a dog. As premier, you feel very lucky but there are tough days. So it's nice to have a dog that loves you unconditionally. And for those really great days when you feel like you're on top of the world, it's just as important to have a companion at home that keeps you humble because I often say there is nothing more humbling than walking a 90-pound black Lab and picking up after it.

(Return to top)



Nova Scotia

Premier: Stephen McNeil

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2013

By Kenny Sharpe

What do you think the population of Nova Scotia will look like in 2067?

Our population will look more global than it does today. We're very proud of the fact that we just had the largest increase in our population since the end of the Second World War, but the face of this province will change as I believe the face of the country will change with the immigration policies.

In 50 years, what will your province's electoral system and political party structure look like?

Well, I actually think that the party system will probably still be intact. I don't know what the electoral boundaries will look like. I believe that we might find some creative ways on how we ensure how minorities inside our province are represented in the legislature. I think, by and large, the party system will still be intact but the boundary and the configuration of who is in the house and why they are there may be different.

What do you envision being the biggest challenge to your health-care system in 50 years time?

We need younger people coming in to drive the economy and sustain the health-care system in its current model. We are going to have frank conversations to grapple with continuing to make sure we have the kind of health-care system that Canadians and Nova Scotians have come to expect.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would it be? Don't say donair.

[Laughs] Well, I was going to say a bag of money but I don't think I'll have that to put in there. But if I could put one thing in a time capsule I would probably want to put in the entrepreneurial spirit that I feel this province has today.

(Return to top)



Prince Edward Island

Premier: Wade MacLauchlan

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2015

By Joyita Sengupta

What do you think the population of PEI will look like in 2067?

We have a population action plan that actually takes us out to 2056. We project that our population will be in the number 200,000 or higher by 2067. Half of our growth is coming from immigration, so that will lead to an increasingly diverse population. We should see a gradual reduction or decline in the median age. And on gender, this is very interesting…. The United Nations has a projection where they take all the countries in the world and as long as our population lives longer, there are going to be more women than men. I don't expect Prince Edward Island to be an exception to that. We will also see an increasing portion of our population will be First Nations.

What will be the biggest industry in your province in 2067?

Currently, tourism is a significant part of our economy and will expect that to continue. The food, both land and sea, are a very big part of our economy. We call it Canada's food island. We expect that to continue to be a big part of our overall economy including in a global sense. And clean technology will be an increasing part of our total picture.

What kind of impact do you imagine climate change will be having on PEI in 2067?

Coastal erosion will be the most visible evidence and impact of climate change. And of course closely related to that will be the occurrence of extreme weather events. So the question really is how you respond and how you anticipate what those changes will be. Whatever we do to adapt, the faster we change our current practices, it will be better for everyone.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

An hourglass timer with red PEI sand. It's to remind ourselves that time is scarce and that what happens in the next 50 years will depend to a significant degree on whether we do something about it at the hour.

(Return to top)



Newfoundland and Labrador

Premier: Dwight Ball

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2015

By Kenny Sharpe

Fifty years from now, what's going to be the biggest industry in your province?

It is really in the DNA of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be an ingenious bunch and I think we will be world leaders in many fronts. We are seeing it right now in sports, in health care, in technology. Memorial University students last year competed on the global stage and showed the world how you can actually grow food in northern climates.

What will Newfoundland and Labrador's electoral system and political party structure look like in 2067?

We value our democracy and let's face it we are a country that has been pieced together by choice. And right now I think our political system will evolve, but in 50 years time, it will be very similar to what we have today.

What kind of impact do you imagine climate change will have on Newfoundland and Labrador in 2067?

I think the impacts in our northern communities will be profound. We are seeing that already and it is important for all of us to accept the challenges of how we deal with greenhouse gas emissions; how we use newer technology to actually provide the energy. We are in a position to be able to help other jurisdictions always be mindful that the further north, the greater and the faster those challenges will be.

What do you envision being the biggest challenge for the province's health care system 50 years from now?

I think the biggest challenge that we face as a province is on how we deal with mental illness. We have to find mechanisms and support services that will be very different in a lot of cases. And some won't be face-to-face with a health-care provider – they will be done using technology.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would it be?

A pair of Come From Away ticket stubs and something from my office.

(Return to top)


Nunavut

Premier: Peter Taptuna

Party affiliation: None

In power since: 2013

By Mark Rendell

What do you think the population of your territory will look like in 2067?

I believe the population will continue to grow, but not at such a fast pace that we're at now.

Do you think Nunavut will still have a mostly Inuit population?

It has been like that for quite a number of years, and I see no reason why it can't be. When we talk about Inuit population, our long-term vision is an educated Inuit population.

What will be the key challenge for Nunavut between now and 2067?

The biggest challenge we face right now is the cost of living, and the cost of doing business in our territory because of the lack of transportation infrastructure and the vast distances of the communities within the territory. We have three time zones, and it's a small population, with 25 communities scattered throughout the territory not connected in any way. If we don't get the infrastructure in to bring down our cost of living, it's going to be very difficult to move forward.

What do you envision as being the biggest challenge for your health-care system in 2067?

There's many issues we've got to tackle when it comes to health care. The lack of proper housing for our population – we've got 15 family members in one small unit, it creates a real health problem, especially with communicable diseases. We've got many lung diseases in Nunavut, spreading from infants to the elderly. Plus, we have minus 40 temperatures out here in the wintertime. So you don't see too many people doing outdoor activities during the winter, and that's one of the key things we have to encourage with our population, is that people have to be physically fit to take care of their health.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

We do have a new $10 bill that's in circulation now with artwork done by an Inuk person from Nunavut, and that's probably something that you could actually put in there with a list of what the real value of that was during this period, and what it can purchase, and see what it can purchase 50 years from now.

(Return to top)



Northwest Territories

Premier: Bob McLeod

Party affiliation: None

In power since: 2011

By Mark Rendell

What do you think the population of your territory will look like in 2067?

I think the Northwest Territories will be the place to come to. People will come here because it will be one of the few places in the world they will be able to cool off and enjoy some nice clean air. Our tourism is going to grow significantly. So I expect within 50 years, I don't know, maybe we'll have a population of 5 million people. [laughs]

What will be the key challenge for your territory between now and 2067?

The biggest challenge is to stop the federal government from turning us into a great big national park. We need the opportunity to diversify our economy. Certainly, we will have to plan to adapt to climate change, so I expect that we'll have the treeline moving further north. With the waters getting warmer, we'll have to look at whether some of our wildlife species are disappearing and new wildlife species appear – there's quite a lot of them that are moving north. Maybe we'll have to plant trees that grow faster, that grow in milder climates, so that we can harvest them in the future. Maybe there will be new species of fish that can survive in warmer waters. We could be growing bananas at some point. Maybe we'll have some camels.

What will be the biggest industry in your territory in 2067?

I think a lot of the infrastructure challenges will disappear. Currently, we have 33 communities, I think only 10 of them are connected by a highway. So to get to most of the communities, we have to go by air or by boat. I think that in looking at some of the new blimp technology that's supposed to be available in five years, we'll be able to resupply our communities without the need for airports or airport infrastructure. We'll probably have to look at some point at a University of the Northwest Territories. I expect that mining will be a large part, with a knowledge economy.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

A golf ball and an ulu. The ulu is what was used by the Inuit to cut all of their food.

(Return to top)



Yukon

Premier: Sandy Silver

Party affiliation: Liberal

In power since: 2016

By Mark Rendell

What do you think the population of Yukon will look like in 2067?

We've been experiencing steady growth in population, so I expect that trend to continue, if not increase, based upon mineral resources and the development therein. If you take a look geographically, the First Nations populations across Canada, that trend is continuing to increase as well, so I can see First Nations maintaining 33 per cent of the Yukon population.

What will be the key challenge for Yukon between now and 2067?

Climate change, full stop. In the North, already we're experiencing the effects of climate change more drastically than anywhere else on the planet. So I honestly believe that's going to be the biggest pressure when it comes to working with our municipalities – we have an awful lot of ageing infrastructure. As we replace that infrastructure, not only are we replacing it, we're also advancing it for the considerations of the climate, so better insulation, better energy considerations.

What will be the biggest industry in your territory in 2067?

Obviously our resource industry is our potential for the future, and it's also our potential for reconciliation and for building resilience. Also, tourism is always an important industry, and I believe we've only really just scratched the surface on that.

If you could put one thing in a time capsule for your 2067 successor, what would that be?

The Yukon Forum is a legislated forum between First Nations and the territorial government that's supposed to meet up to four times a year. This is the start of a new way of speaking with each other. Something symbolic for the beginning of the forum, maybe a potlatch bowl, could go into the time capsule to indicate the beginnings of getting back on track when it comes to our relationship and commitments with the First Nations.

These interviews have been condensed and edited.

Illustrations by Kagan Mcleod.

(Return to top)

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Latest Videos