Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The Vision

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jun 03, 2005

Posted in response to this poll at the Walrus:

If the federal government sought to implement a defining vision for the country, which nation would you want us to be?
- The Peacekeeping Nation
- The Environment Nation
- The Immigration Nation
- The Foreign Aid Nation
- The Poverty-Free Nation
- The "No Separation" Nation
- The Boldly Visionless Nation

It seems to me that the selections offered are pretty unimaginative - each will probably gain a certain measure of support, all are aspects of the vision we see for Canada.

But the sort of vision that would capture our imagination is one that would capture most if not all of the choices offered. Being 'the environmental nation' is a part of being X. Being the 'poverty-free nation' is a part of being X.

Perhaps Trudeau was closest to this when he articulated his idea of Canada as being the "just society." One wonders whether there couldn't be a 21st century reiteration of something like the same theme.

If it were me, I would want to characterize Canada as "the Open Society." This connotes not only freedom and democracy, but also the sense that we do not lock our knowledge and wealth behind barriers reserved for the wealthy. It also (in its more modern usage) evokes ideas of community and cooperation.

I also think that something like this is a vision being more and more articulately expressed by people like Dave Pollard and Rob Paterson, among many others (including, I hope, myself).

This is a current of thought we rarely see amidst the factionalism and wannabe Americanism ringing through our national press. But it is there, and more expressive of what the people I know feel than any of the old line philosophies.

The people have the grand vision of Canada, even if our leaders and their media do not.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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