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opinion

As part of the Zero Canada Project, The Globe and Mail asked some prominent Canadians to share their thoughts on the current crisis and the path forward for Canada.


Handout

The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney was the eighteenth prime minister of Canada, and former leader of the Progressive Conservative party.

When the Fathers of Confederation met in Charlottetown, they articulated a grand vision for a new country. 153 years later their confidence has clearly been rewarded. Canada has emerged as a successful, admired and influential nation, recognized as such by leaders the world over.

But times have changed. Recent dramatic developments call for fresh thinking and daring leadership if Canada is to maintain its destiny as an exceptional nation whose citizenship is valued by countless millions around the world.

The Prime Minister may want to develop an Agenda for Canadian Greatness with ideas such as the following:

  • Full Indigenous justice by implementation of the Erasmus-Dussault Royal Commission report which provides many answers;
  • Greater fairness and opportunities for our Black, Indigenous and people of colour together with a national commitment to the eradication of systemic racism and anti-Semitism in Canada;
  • Dramatic increase in our immigration over time to an objective of 75 million people so that we can achieve our full potential;
  • Priority examination of policies articulated by Hugh Segal to guarantee a basic income for those living in poverty;
  • The complete dismantlement of interprovincial trade barriers;
  • Renewed Canadian leadership to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas, incorporated into NAFTA, regrouping 35 nations of 1 billion people generating approximately $30-trillion annually in GDP and jobs for millions in all involved countries;
  • A powerful assertion of sovereignty across our North with a strong military, cybersecurity, educational and health facility presence accompanied by a major infrastructure program to ensure growth and prosperity;
  • Creation of a vitally needed Productivity Enhancement Program for Canadian industry;
  • More coherent support, in full respect of the environment and the realities of climate change, to resource sectors that are key to our economic growth, namely agriculture, mining and energy and including pipelines, which increase our prosperity and also staunch regional fissures growing in western Canada;
  • Our approach should be driven by the hard reality that, in a post-COVID world, two fundamental pillars that have influenced Canada’s success to date – a privileged relationship with the U.S. and our “middle power” reliance on key multilateral institutions – are no longer assured. We need to navigate smartly and more nimbly to advance Canadian interests in what promises to be a more tumultuous, unpredictable world.

Incrementalism builds increments. Bold initiatives build nations.

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