We are in a unique time in the world.
After nearly 15 months of lockdowns, first waves, second waves, and third waves, the light is at the end of the tunnel for Canadians. And while as Canadians we can celebrate the beginning of the end, there are still many around the world that don’t have anything to celebrate as they are still trapped within this storm and help doesn’t seem to be coming fast enough. We must immediately address this on a global level with all country partners that can spare additional vaccines and have capacity for increased vaccine delivery. We must ensure everyone is safe because until everyone is safe, nobody is safe.
Once we can address the global vaccine needs, Canada will be in a very unique position, at a crossroads really. We can decide to come out of this pandemic as a country reinvigorated in our mission to help those that we can, to continue being the middle power country with friends around the world who we feed into, and continue being fair share players while we look to rebuild our domestic strongholds. Or we can come out of this pandemic, energized and ambitious, with a new vision for our role in the world as a global citizen, a role where we are seen as risk takers, a world where we want push the envelope to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place, a world where our actions pave a new path to address the failings of our old normal to create a better new normal. We would like to see Canada fall into the latter.
The government needs to see that Canadians are in favor of equitable, sustainable change. The changes needed in society today, if we are to move to a more sustainable and equitable future, are much deeper and broader than what we have considered thus far. We cannot afford to have global development funding and policy that is completely disjointed from our domestic policies and behaviors. There are specific sectors through which Canada is impacting the world disproportionately. Some of them dwarf the aid we provide to the world, the “global development” we do. The way we act in these domains is very consequential. This is not to diminish the importance of the aid we give – it is CRUCIAL and NEEDED, it is to say that it is simply not enough.
A broader range of Canadians must be invited into this conversation, because this is the only way we will actually move the needle. It’s a journey, and while on any new journey the beginning is tough and confusing, we must charge ourselves and our leaders to think about all that Canada has to offer and how our domestic policies can have a ripple effect internationally. We require policy coherence and long-term thinking to figure out where we want Canada to be not just 5 or 10 years from now but 20 and 30 years from now. A timeline much longer than most political cycles. But we believe that what matters at this stage is that we commit to examining, inquiring, and uncovering specific ways we can improve Canada’s impact in the world.
We implore you to dig deeper and look farther as you join us on this journey. As we explore how our support to multilateral organizations can be a catalyst for change, as we examine how we can shift our global development strategy to help those that need it most, to find ways that our own climate change and net-zero 2050 agenda is not only helping us but how it can help others achieve their emissions goals. Discovering new innovations and aligning our own Canadian innovation agenda to international goals and needs while finding new ways to invest in infrastructure and green energy in emerging economies as a road to economic development. These are the areas we believe that Canada can play a sizable role in changing the kind of impact we have. But it requires a new paradigm, a new vision, and it requires us to be bold, are we ready?
Check out what we heard from our panelists during EWBs Day of Action.