Fifty years ago, at Canada’s centennial, the country saw significant changes in many areas of policy. Bilingualism and multiculturalism rose to the forefront; the welfare state expanded; commercial development of Alberta’s oil sands began in earnest. This year, at the sesquicentennial, many have reflected on the country’s past in order to speculate about its future.Academics and policy influencers from the country convened at the University of Toronto for a symposium called “Canada’s Policy Transformations: The Last 50 Years and the Next.” Through eight panels and in a keynote presentation, symposium participants discussed everything from Indigenous peoples’ place in the federation to Canada’s role in geopolitics. We’re excited to share summary articles for each of these talks to encourage wider conversation about Canada’s past and future policies.
The Economy: from Canadianization of the Economy to Global Competition and Innovation: Our capability to adapt to technological change, make the best of free trade and benefit from our unique fiscal spending policy may allow us to better adapt to the economic turmoil ahead. Jasper Paredes left the economic panel feeling surprisingly positive about our economic future. [Paredes/PPGR]
Diversity and Rights: The Evolution of Pluralism: Canada was once lauded for its contribution to the cause of refugees. As we look ahead for the next 50 years, Niha Shahzad presents how panelists sought to address current questions of equity from three different standpoints: the court system, the immigration system and the lived experiences of Black Canadians. [Shahzad/PPGR]
Indigenous Peoples: from the 1969 White Paper to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and beyond:Along with the sesquicentennial, 2017 was also a notable year for the recognition of Indigenous peoples and their concerns within Canada. Josh Johnson writes on what three scholars seek to be the next major steps for Indigenous recognition and reconciliation in the years ahead. [Johnson/PPGR]
Intergenerational Equity and Social Policy: How do we conceive of intergenerational inequality? Job and benefit availability will deeply differ between those borne 50 years ago as compared to those born today. Jasmine CY Lam helps us consider more deeply how these inequities will contribute to the growing disparity between the two cohorts. [Lam/PPGR]
The Environment and Natural Resources: from Silent Spring to Climate Change: Canada has recently become more of a proponent for more ambitious climate goals at the federal level. At the same time, Canada has struggled with balancing its interests in utilising its natural resources and addressing Indigenous concerns. Cindy Liu and Tom Piekarski present the interesting exchanges which occurred in the panel presenting both environmental and natural resources policy [Liu&Piekarski/PPGR]
The Federation: Is Canadian Federalism Fit to Meet the Challenges of the Future?: Can federalism return to being a driving force for policy, rather than a hindrance and a hurdle? After attending the panel on federalism, Scott Surphlis summarizes the challenges caused by our governmental system but its central role in addressing the challenges we face today. [Surphilis/PPGR]
50 Years of Election Promises, Public Policy and Democracy in Canada: What is the average percent of electoral promises fulfilled by an elected government during a mandate? And how much does fulfilling specific targets matter? Sacha Forstner and Katerina Stamadianos were pleased to hear answers to these questions just as the Trudeau government is increasingly being scrutinized for its promises [Forstner&Stamadianos/PPGR]
Canada and the World: from Peace-Keeping to Counter-Terrorism and Nation-Building, from Multilateralism to Global Disorder: Known at the centennial as a peacekeeping nation, Canada has more recently had difficulty in defining its place on the international scene. What are? Covering the final panel of the conference, Emily Burton-Brown and Kevin Hempstead discuss the major international challenges which lie ahead for Canada [Burton-Brown&Hempstead/PPGR]
and finally, for the keynote:
Citizens, Surveillance and the Public Good: How can government services become as intuitive to use as the smartphones in our hand? Breanne Bateman notes the concerns David Eaves raised in his keynote address in the struggle to implement digital government, along with the ethical challenges of such a system. [Bateman/PPGR]
The next edition of the Brief will be making its way to your inboxes on January 24, 2018.