Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pierre Trudeau led Top Ten list of most inspiring Canadians

Pierre Trudeau
Just imagine that you were the prime minister of Canada and had approved a poll, paid for by the taxpayers, to come up with a Top 10 list of our country's greatest heroes, and you and your political party were essentially shut out by the almost 12,000 Canadians who participated.
Well that's the news Stephen Harper and the Harpercon government received just about this time in 2014, as the result of an online consultation process over several months, conducted as part of the preparations for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. I wonder if the results have changed a year later.
The Canadian Press announcing the results said that "Canadians have handed the Harper government a Top 10 list of the country’s greatest heroes, featuring some of the Conservative party’s greatest adversaries, past and present."
It is unlikely that the results would ever have seen the light of day had the Canadian Press not obtained them under an Access to Information Act request, even though, we, the taxpayers paid for the project.
In answer to a question "Which Canadians have inspired you the most over the past 150 years?" leading the list was none other than Pierre Trudeau, a name which would most assuredly have sent the Harpercons into a fit of rage. The former prime minister not only made the Top 10, he was Number One.
The rest of the Top 10 list in order were: Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox; former NDP leader and premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas; former Liberal prime minister Lester B. Pearson; astronaut Chris Hadfield; environmental activist David Suzuki; former NDP leader Jack Layton; Canada's first prime minister, a Conservative, Sir John A. Macdonald; hockey player Wayne Gretzky (who recently endorsed Harper)  and outstanding soldier and recently retired Liberal senator Romeo Dallaire.
To me at least, it looks like a pretty Canadian list, and I was really delighted that Don Cherry did not make the cut. The only Tory was Sir John A. If he was still around, it is highly unlikely he would make it into a Harper cabinet, much less become prime minister leading the Conservative Party as it is constituted today -- Liberal maybe?
Canadian Press reported that the consultation also asked which of Canada’s accomplishments of the last 150 years “make you most proud to be a Canadian?”
The results showed  that medicare topped that list, followed by peacekeeping, then the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms at No. 3.   The  rest in order were: Canada's contribution to World War II; the Canadarm; multiculturalism; contribution to World War I; bilingualism; space exploration, and the Constitution Act of 1982.
Again, although one may switch the preference order of the Top 10, a pretty Canadian type list of what makes us proud to be Canadian, although not exactly the Harpercon view for Canada.
As the Canadian Press story notes for example, the present government has "recently been buffeted by a series of Charter-based losses at the Supreme Court of Canada,  (and) did not mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter in 2007, nor the 30th in 2012."
In October 2015 , Canadians will judge the Harpercons at the polls. Personally, I am proud to be a Canadian, and generally agree with the Top 10 list of those who inspire me and the accomplishments that make me proud. Thanks to the Canadian Press for obtaining the results of the consultation and making them public. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

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