It's time again to provide some update. You can rest assured I keep busy in all sorts of issues, not least being in the health care area as chair of Friends of Medicare.
You may be aware of the thrust by Liberals, specifically our Leader, Michael Ignatieff who last year called for the largest get-together thrust in Canadian History in terms of discussing and formulating vision and policy for Liberals and Canada as we celebrate our 150th birthday in 2017. Of course, it goes much further than that; really looking at the issues now and as best we can anticipate them well into the future as well as also looking at how we can address them. Since unlike some that believe thay only have the answers for everythings and to assure we are in tune with what Canadians want everyone has been given the opportunity to give their opinion and thoughts; in other words to be part of the solution.
The thrust called on progressive thinkers regardless of affiliation or background and has resulted in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. The synergy was palpable throughout sessions to-date; the closest and most recent encounter being set for Edmonton on June 19 to facilitate Canadians across the Prairies. I should note that some of us were already well-primed having followed the Montreal Convention in March in the media and/or on the web.
On June 19, Donna, Everett, Greg and I attended the historic ‘Canada at 150’ session in Edmonton. The session was planned as a follow-up to the March meeting held in Montreal which linked over 30,000 Canadians from over 40 countries. The Edmonton session being closer and another once ever chance that we felt we could not pass-up especially since due to space, cost and other considerations we were unable to attend the session in person in Montreal though many of us followed it closely on the web.
The Edmonton session was one of the 8 arranged across the country in follow-up to the March session and included input from young and old and people of all political persuasions and backgrounds since as or leader, Michael noted in his address and summary the great Liberal tent is large, accommodative and inclusive. He also appeared very comfortable with everyone and made everyone feel likewise and appeared to enjoy himself as did his wife Tsusanna. They deserve our support and admiration.
Maurel Bellanger, Co-chair from the March session kicked-off the session and several MPs and Senators including Ralph Goodale and Tommy Banks attended and spearheaded sessions. The audience included people from across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the NWTs and everyone left feeling psyched and special at having had opportunity to be part of planning and shaping our future. In short, this is a “National Discussion” to help ensure Liberals are looking at our future and in sync with Canadians so we can be the best we can be in all respects and in the best interests of all. We commend Mr. Ignatieff for taking such a bold and forward step and look forward in great anticipation.
Though I didn’t count it appeared as though about 150 to 200 attended. After welcoming statements and to make the most of everyone’s time the agenda provided forced us to choose between breakout sessions on topics as follows:
• Jobs Today and Tomorrow
• Real Life Issues for Canadian Families
• Energy, Environment, Economy
• The Creative and Competitive Economy
• A Strong Presence in the World of 2017
So Lethbridge could get most benefit we chose to ensure someone attended each session and so we could report better on the conference. Mr. Ignatieff attended either the first half of last part of all the sessions. Detailed notes from all of the sessions will be shared with those in attendance and can be likewise shared with anyone. Following a wonderful lunch, the Panel - Enhancing and Protecting our Fresh Water Resources presented and fielded questions and comments. Information presented was supportive of our Water Policy which went to National following the LPCA convention in Lethbridge.
Mr. Ignatieff ended the day summarizing most accurately what he and we all heard and he assured us he will come to Lethbridge. The organizers deserve our thanks for such a well-run conference and our Leader, Michael deserves special recognition for his vision and foresight in bringing about such a much needed exercise and undertaking to ensure that we are prepared and foremost in leading for our future in the world. Hats off; let’s all roll-up our sleeves and do our best so we can assure ourselves a true leader that makes us feel proud to be Canadian again!
Summarised by: Michael Cormican