What kind of future will our province hold for a child born today? When they turn 25 will there be opportunity for them here at home? And will they have the skills to take advantage of that opportunity if it exists?
That all depends on the future we create, and whether it is one of happenstance, or one we have intentionally designed. We must think beyond the current fiscal crisis and the next four years to understand the effects today’s decisions will have on the next generation.
The road to a sustainable future will not be an easy one. As a province we seem to always be searching for that silver bullet. Some external panacea that will make everything okay. But no mega project is going to change the structure of our economy, our low literacy rates, poor health, or unsustainable expenditures. The health of our economy must be based on the intelligence and ingenuity of our people and not what non-renewable resources we can extract from the land and sea.
If we want our children to have a life in the places we love, big changes are going to be necessary. It won’t be easy, or pleasant, and it will pit our hearts against our heads. We must all be willing to give a little, to change, and see beyond our own short term self interest.
We need to stop waiting for others to create solutions. Some problems are simply too big, or too politically sensitive for government to take on. Nor should government be relied upon as the only agent of change. In fact grassroots and broad-based community action is what government needs to have the “permission” to tackle the big issues. They will need our support to tackle our sacred cows.
In other regions of the world, the voice of one person is seldom heard, but for rare exceptions. However our province is so small, that one person can be heard, start a movement and create tangible change. It’s up to us as individuals to stop waiting for permission and just act. People with passion and reason can create powerful coalitions and effect social, economic, political, environmental change. And by breaking down the barriers between the private, public and not-for-profit worlds, quick and tangible solutions can be created.
So for that child born today, what do we want our province to look like? What will their early years hold? How will their education prepare them for life?
As a province will we still have communities true to this place? A vibrant, healthy, and educated population? Or will we continue to ignore our structural issues and manage decline?
So what types of changes are needed? Here are some thought starters:
- Education: Comprehensive new programming that promotes intra/entrepreneurship, citizenship, life skills and 21st century knowledge.
- Health: Shift resources from infrastructure to prevention. Through proactive measures we can reduce the future burden on the system.
- Taxation: Restore the planned HST increase and increase the highest personal tax bracket to the national average.
- Natural Resources Royalty Revenue: Allocate funds only to debt repayment and a Prosperity Fund.
- Alternative Service Delivery: Social enterprises can bring efficiencies to public services, with added public good.
- Population: New, aggressive program to attract immigrants, including a three-year retention agreement.
- Regionalization: Continued support for a regional hub policy and mandated regionalization of services on the Northeast Avalon.
Have an idea? It’s time to share it. Start an advocacy group, share your idea online, or attend a consultation session!