Mike Robinson’s 2013 New Year’s wish list

Robinson-MikeLOGOVANCOUVER, BC, Dec. 30, 2012/ Troy Media/ – A new year characterized by a ’13’ may be auspicious! As we sail on beyond the fiscal cliff, the triple dip, the 392ppm C02 benchmark and the season there was no hockey, can we reasonably hope for something just a little bit better in 2013? Let us assume we can. Let us ask in the spirit that we might just receive.

I hope that in 2013 that we decouple with ideology and belief, and recommit to creating government policy based on peer-reviewed science and rational thought. Such an environment would welcome the return of long-form census questionnaires, refuse the scrapping of long-gun registries, protect our fish from substances deleterious to them, refuse the construction of new prison cells when the crime rate is decreasing, and face up to the reality of climate change.

While we are at it, let’s consider full-cycle cost and energy accounting when we approve new energy projects. This would mean forecasting and considering the impact of oil and oil product incineration beyond our borders. It would mean questioning the need for new hydrocarbon exploration programs, given the climate change impacts already locked in by past consumption and incineration. It would mean thinking through the impacts of tying Canada’s economic future to a natural resource exploitation agenda at the expense of other forms of industrial training and production.

Why not consider a Canadian industrial policy that is at least working towards a carbon-free future? Why not start thinking about Canada’s next economy, instead of endlessly circling the means of production that characterized our past?

How about gifting ourselves (all it really takes is collective will) with a new democratic process that promotes majority representation instead of plurality representation? Why don’t we end majority governments that rule with 39 per cent of the electorate’s support (at least of those who bothered to get out and vote!), and strive to elect governments with 50 per cent plus one vote of the electorate’s support? In this cause, why don’t we gift ourselves with a study of German and New Zealand proportional representation practices, and talk about it as a nation? What a good topic for a Royal Commission.

Armed with a new awareness of what’s possible in politics, why don’t we then look inwards and really rethink the role and destiny of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis in the economy and our national polity? How about a renewed effort to conclude the modern Treaty process, and the guarantee of aboriginal inclusion in the next economy? Why not tie the philosophy of the next economy to the principles of sustainability that characterized the pre-contact economies of this land?

Looking out beyond our borders, why not recommit to middle power service in the international community predicated on Pearsonian diplomacy, mediation and anthropological insights into cultures? Let us refuse to take easy sides, and equally not offer simple solutions to complex cultural and intergenerational problems on the world stage. Let us be a country that listens to all perspectives, and struggles with diplomatic solutions, rather than one that simply struggles to determine which stealth jet will best perform destructive duties in Arctic skies. Let us become once again the country whose flag every 20-something wants to stitch on their backpack.

Re-aware of our natural and civic gifts, let us create and embrace new cultural product that draws our diverse publics back into book stores, galleries, playhouses, and symphony halls. Let us celebrate the national creative Geist with renewed passion and Tom Thomson vigor, so that our grandchildren will look back at this time with the knowledge that that was when this novel was written, this painting group was formed, this play was wrought, and this music was first scored.

I think that all of the above wishes are magical in that they all are possible. They simply reflect human will; our collective desire that something be so. Where else but Canada are such wishes actionable? We owe it to ourselves to wish big, when wishes have disproportionate chances of coming true. We owe it to ourselves, to one another, and to a world that increasingly looks at our northern national homestead as if it were an ideal homeland.

In the spirit of the aphorism, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’ in 2013 let us challenge ourselves to be consumers of ideas that challenge unquestioned orthodoxy, improve our chances of survival, and give back to Canada.

Troy Media syndicated columnist Mike Robinson has lived half of his life in Alberta and half in B.C. In Calgary he worked for eight years in the oil patch, 14 in academia, and eight years as a cultural CEO. Now back In Vancouver, he is still a cultural CEO, but also has business interests in a resource company and mutual funds.

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