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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Is Complacency a Character Flaw or Just Being Canadian?

The Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin had some interesting things to say today about unmotivated “dozy” youth. Dubbed “the complacent generation” by Liberal Leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy, who says, “I think my generation has been more or less asleep in taking for granted what assets we have. It is time to assert ourselves before it’s too late.” I could not agree more.

Lawrence Martin says the complacent generation has been “turned off by political corruption and the idea that they can’t make a difference.” He goes on to suggest that ought to be a “Motivating factor, not the opposite.” I would expect that response as well but apparently not.

Martin and I are baby boomers and we agree on many points in his column today. We had Vietnam, the Cold War, Watergate and the FLQ in Canada to stir our activism. I recall believing that the mainstream system was so corrupt and out of touch that “you couldn’t trust anyone over 30.” With climate change, terrorism, HIV/AIDS and various warring hot spots, and, as Martin points out, “a president who may even be worse than Richard Nixon,” that ought to be enough to stir up some activism amongst youth.

It all comes down for values and beliefs. There is a wide range and expression of values and beliefs in a pluralistic country like Canada. That diversity is a good thing, so long as we can continue to learn from each other, have mutual respect and not try to impose only one point of view on the entire population. That is the essence of Canada and what is respected and revered by other peoples and countries throughout the world. There is that “multilateral moderation” that is at the heart of Canada and what I call “the incredible enlighten-ness of being Canadian.” As so many other places on the planet decline into what Martin call a “medieval standard” Canada and Canadians have to overcome complacency and start to show some assertive leadership and greater engagement in the large issues of the world today. That ought to be the job of youth to force those changes.

As for values and beliefs, take a few minutes for personal self awareness and go to the Environics 3SC Survey find more about your beliefs and values and your values “tribe.” Then consider what you are doing as a citizen and how you can engage to make a better world and then get at it and keep at it…it is such a Canadian thing to do. Remeber generousity of spirit is not a sin.

By the way my tribe is Cosmopolitan Modernist.