I have driven across the country, stopping in smaller towns and cities, to talk and listen to Canadians. The experience was exhilarating, enlightening, and frankly humbling.
It is a great privilege to drive across the country and get a real feel for what concerns Canadians in their daily lives. It teaches you the value of what Canada has to offer the world and what Canadians have to offer each other.
Canadians are more engaged and more thoughtful than we are given credit for. What I discovered is that when you stop and actually listen to people they are willing to share their ideas, their hopes and aspirations for themselves, their communities, and their country. The quality of the ideas they shared was impressive, and often left me scratching my head and asking, “why can`t the federal government do that” and “why aren’t we trying that approach.”
I also learned that what connects us, and what unites us is far greater than what divides us. We are concerned about each other, our economy, and whether the next generation will have the same opportunities we have enjoyed. We want a country where the federal government does not adopt short sighted policy for political gain, but acts in the best interests of the whole country with a long term vision of what Canada can and should be.
When I started this trip I was motivated by a desire to change the country, but I found that Canada changed me. There are real problems we must face, and challenges to overcome, but I am more optimistic than ever that the solutions we are looking for are here, if we listen to each other, respect each other, and work together to build the Canada of opportunity we dream of.