Couchiching Connects: September 2015

In this Issue:

Couch News

The President's Message

2015 Summer Conference Recap

2016 Summer Conference

Fundraising

Conversations


Couch Community News

Special Screening - In This Heaven

Alumni in the News

Calling All Readers!


The President's Message
Adam Redish

It’s a wrap!

With the closing of the 2015 Summer Conference we have put the finishing touch on another “Couch year”.

And what a year it was:

  • Our 12 Conversations drew over 750 people to discuss issues ranging from Carding to Aborignal Empowerment to Youth Engagement.
  • The 2015 Gala, our signature fundraising event, was an evening of sparkling and engaged conversation, hosted by Honorary Gala Chair and former Ontario Premier David Peterson. The event included the presentation of the Couchiching Public Policy Award, graciously sponsored by ScotiaBank, to former Ontario Premier William G. (Bill) Davis.
  • The Summer Conference was thought-provoking, fun, reflective, and engaging, as Heather Keachie’s summary below describes.

 

Thank you to all our volunteers, particularly the Executive Committee members, portfolio leads, and Board members who gave so generously of their time and made such a spectacular year happen. It takes thousands of hours of volunteer labour to make a “Couch year” happen and a great debt is owed for their hard work and contributions.

I also want to thank our many funders, corporate and individual, whose generosity is fundamental to our success and enables us to bring in dynamic speakers and to offer scholarships to the Summer Conference each year.

Finally, thanks to Zzeem Inc., and Cindy Gareau for their hard work in providing the operational backbone to making it all come together.

One of the most exciting things about the success of the past year is the “buzz” I feel throughout the Institute. It is very exciting to be starting the new “Couch year” with such a sense of momentum and engagement. And what an exciting year it is going to be. We have a brilliant conference topic for next year, The Canada Project (see below) and work is well underway on planning new Conversations and the 2016 Gala.

We also have a new Executive Committee and new Board members and are moving ahead with our strategic planning process. More on that in the October issue of Couchiching Connects.

In the meantime, please support our call for volunteers. We are always on the lookout for new volunteers to get engaged in all the great things the Institute does!

Call for Volunteers

Calling all volunteers. The Institute is only able to deliver such dynamic and engaging programming through the work of our volunteers. Being a Couch volunteer is incredibly rewarding – creating the great conversations that are such an important part of our Canadian democracy, serving on our Sumer Conference Program Committee and the Conversations committee, helping with marketing and fundraising. There are so many opportunities to participate and we welcome new volunteers with open arms. Visit our website (www.couchichinginstitute.ca) and click on the “contact us” button or send us an email at couch@couch.ca.


2015-2016 Board of Directors

We are pleased to welcome the following individuals to the Couchiching Board. Each was elected/re-elected at our Annual Member's meeting on August 8th. For a full list of Board members and their biographies, please visit http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/about/board-members/

Rima Berns-McGown: stepping back onto the Board for a one-year term

Kaushik Bhatia: renewal for second three-year term

Eranda Gjomene: new to the Board

Mohamed Huque: new to Board

Edil Ibrahim: new to Board

Amanuel Melles: renewal for a second three-year term

Tshweu Moleme: new to Board

Bahram Rahman: new to the Board

Sheila Robertson: renewal for a second three-year term.


2015-2016 Executive Committee

The Institute has appointed a new Executive Committee for 2015-2016. For complete bios, visit www.couchichinginstitute.ca

Adam Redish, President
Helen Tewolde, Vice President, Programs
Brian Livingston, Vice President, Finance, and Treasurer
Amanuel Melles, Chair, Partnerships, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee
Eranda Gjomema, Chair, Marketing and Communications Committee
Edward Moran, Secretary

 

The 2015 Summer Conference Recap by Heather Keachie
Are We Failing Our Future? Time for a New Deal between Generations
August 7th to 9th, 2015
Conference Co-Chairs Heather Keachie, and Helen Tewolde

Fittingly for the topic of the 84th Summer Conference, the attendees spanned almost 100 years of human experience, from the youngest delegate at four-and-half months old, to the inimitable Couch veteran Eric Koch, now in his 97th year. This wealth of human experience fed the conversation throughout the Conference.

The purpose of the Summer Conference is to think about matters we haven’t questioned before and challenge each other to explore novel ideas and bold initiatives. Once again, the conference delivered: the panelists engaged with the tough issues, the delegates asked challenging questions, and everyone participated in conversations throughout the conference, all in the natural beauty of the lake-side setting. Morning paddles, afternoon sessions under the trees, and evening campfires made for intimate discussions in informal settings on important public policy issues.

Conference Recap Continued

Students’ Presentation

Conference participants were treated to an enthusiastic performance by our 'melodic' millennials during the traditional youth skit at the Saturday night reception. It was a creative rendition of Billy Joel's hit song "Only the Good Die Young", capturing the essence of the conference theme and the conversations that took place over the weekend. For those who were not able to join us at the lake, please enjoy these inspired lyrics:

Come out, millennials, don’t sit and wait
Your TFSAs start much too late
But sooner or later it comes to debate
We might as well be the ones
They showed us a statute and told us to pay
The promise of Boomers is slipping away
But they never told us the price that we’ll pay
For the things they might not have done…
Oh, only the good retire young
Only the good retire young
Only the good retire young
Only the good retire young

We should just hang with a dangerous crowd
We ain’t too pretty, we ain’t too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
But that never hurt no one
Come on, Legislators, this is the time
We need more than a token; more than a line
The rose-coloured glasses you’re hiding behind
Never let in the sun
[spoken solo] Darling, I guess we have to die young
Have to die young
Have to die young
Have to die young

We got a nice big debt and
An ignored generation
We’ve got a fiscal hole
An environmental toll
Our predecessors didn’t give us quite enough information
[spoken interjection] Except Paul Kershaw!
You didn’t count on me
When accounting, actuarially
Oh, oh, oh!

They say there’s a pension for those who will wait
Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t
I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun…
They know that only the good die young
Only the good die young
Only the good die young
Only the good die young

You say your mother told you all you needed was an education
To support a family
But I need a child care policy!
[Spoken interjection] And a job!
Oh, oh, oh!

Come out, come out, come out
The country can’t afford to wait
The generational transfer starts much too late,
But this is the moment for civil debate
We might as well be the ones
You know that only the good die young
Tell you baby
You know only the good die young
Only the good die young
Only the good
Only the good die young

Couldn't make the conference? Want to relive or share the sessions? Check out the 2015 session videos

The 2016 Summer Conference
The Canada Project
August 2016

In 2016, the Institute will consider the future of Canadian citizenship. As Canada approaches its 150th anniversary, the Institute will challenge all Canadians to consider what Canadian citizenship should look like, both at home and abroad. From coast to coast to coast, communities and individuals may live within the geo-political boundaries called Canada, but our experiences of a Canadian identity vary greatly. Our strength as a country, however, will be found in recognizing the diversity of Canadian identities and using those experiences to shape our public policy for the next 150 years.

Volunteers! Summer Conference planning will soon by underway. To help shape the dialogue, volunteer now for the Planning Committee by going to our website www.couchichinginstitute.ca, click on the ‘contact us’ button or send a message to couch@couch.ca

 

Fundraising! Are We Failing Our Future? Time for a New Deal between Generations
Chair Karen Hamilton

Time for 'ELEVENSES'!

Speaking at the Summer Conference, Jim Leech told the following story. In having to make changes to the pension plan, changes that the teachers did not see as benefiting them, Leech faced a protest. He was accused of changing the contract. He responded that was true but that he had done so because the teachers had changed the contract. By quitting smoking and generally becoming more healthy, they were living longer and the pension plan numbers as drawn up no longer applied.

The terms, conditions, and templates by which Couchiching has done its fund-raising, by which all NGOs have done their fund-raising, have changed. Government funding has dried up, the economy is in a challenged state, and people are re-thinking their funding priorities.

Over the last years, fund-raising for the Institute and particularly the Sumer Conference, has been difficult.

Corporate response has been good, but disappointing from what one might call 'Friends of Couchiching'. No doubt there are reasons but 'tis time to go onward and upward with, to paraphrase Monty Python, something completely different. Well, perhaps not completely different.

There is a well-beloved tradition in the part of the world that produced Monty Python's Flying Circus to partake of a sustaining snack at approximately 11:00 a.m. It may or may not be anything close to 11:00 a.m. when you read this issue of Couchiching Connects, but it is just under 11 months until the next Summer Conference AND there are 11 letters in the word 'Couchiching'. Please donate to the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, the equivalent of 11 times 11. (That's $121 for those who dropped their calculators in the lake this summer!)

Fund-raising has changed. Please multiply!


Couchiching Conversations
Chair Ahmer Khan

Recent Conversations

August 20th: “Supporting Youth in Ontario: Insights from Research, Funding, and Grassroots Youth-serving Organizations”

A deep discussion on youth engagement covered three different perspectives: Research, Funding, and Grass Roots Initiatives. Hosted at the Toronto Baha'i Centre, the Conversation was led by Laidlaw Foundation Executive Director Jehad Aliweiwi, Academic Director of YouthRex Dr. Carl James, and Chris Lee of the YSI Collab. As the three perspectives were shared, we came to understand which policies and project initiatives are having a strong impact on youth engagement and which need minor adjustments on either theoretical framework or practical implementation. With an audience of over 50 people, the Conversation discussed partnerships, institutional change, partisanship, and intergenerational transfer, our Summer Conference theme. We've had a very successful year with Conversations held monthly and look forward to seeing you at our next Couchiching Conversation.

Please tweet topic suggestions @couchiching or on Facebook."

Couchiching Conversations are free public events that aim to provide a safe space for challenging discussions.

Stay in touch with twitter: @couchiching, by email: couch@couchichinginstitute.ca and by website: www.couchichinginstitute.ca or www.couchichingconversations.ca.

 

Couchiching Community News


Special Screening - In This Heaven

You are cordially invited to attend a special screening of In This Heaven. This event is hosted by Aboriginal Engagement and Outreach and the Opioid Resource Hub of the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), along with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). The film focuses on the challenges of opioid addiction and treatment in Ontario’s remote and rural First Nations communities. The event will be held on Tuesday, October 6th at CAMH’s Workman Arts, 651 Dufferin Street, in Toronto.

Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. with a reception and Aboriginal Art Show of local and regional artists. The screening will commence at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion including: Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day; Mae Katt, Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner; Hon. Bob Rae, Advisor, Matawa Chiefs Council; Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario; Dr. Pamela Palmater, Chair of Indigenous Governance, Ryerson University; and Dr. Andriy Samokhvalov, CAMH Psychiatrist. It will be moderated by Dr. Renee Linklater, Director of Aboriginal Engagement and Outreach, CAMH. The filmmaker, Candida Paltiel, will be in attendance. She is a former member of the Institute’s Executive Committee.

The discussion will focus on the history and root causes of addiction in these communities; the urgency for community based treatment and aftercare, including land based and culture based treatment; and the existing complexities and barriers across the health care delivery system. Registration is free and open to the public


Alumni in the News

The Agenda, September 14th: Mike Moffat, Assistant Professor, Business, Economics and Public Policy Group, Ivey School of Business, Western University, was a panelist for a discussion on “Gauging Canada’s Economic Health”. He was a speaker at the 2015 Summer Conference, “Are We Failing Our Future?” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/conference/2015-conference/ ).

See more: All episodes of The Agenda with Steve Paikin are available on-demand in streaming video.

The Globe and Mail, September 12th: Acclaimed author, historian, and 2015 Munk lecturer Margaret MacMillan told Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, that “true leaders are willing to take a stand but never stop listening.” She was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2010/2010-conference). She was featured in a Maclean’s article on September 14th, which discussed her latest book, “History’s People: Personalities and the Past” (http://houseofanansi.com/products/historys-people).

Read more

The Ottawa Citizen, August 22nd: Parliamentary bureau chief Mark Kennedy wrote: “Stephen Harper has not inspired ‘deep affection’ from Canadians but could win re-election because of the ‘respect’ he draws from some voters, says former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae in a new book.” The former premier of Ontario and former MP was a table host at the 2014 Couchiching Gala.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, August 22nd: Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, discussed “prime ministerial discipline, the corruption of governance, and the tall task of public persuasion” with Bob Rae, the former premier of Ontario and former MP who was a table host at the 2014 Couchiching Gala.

Read more

The Globe and Mail, August 15th: In a review of John Ibbotson's biography of Stephen Harper, Bob Rae wrote: “When I read the opening words of this new biography of Stephen Harper, “He is a lion in autumn, weaker than in his prime, but still a force of nature” – I figured this might be a difficult slog through a fawning exercise in neo-conservative iconography.”

Read more

The Globe and Mail, August 10th: In a special to the newspaper, Bob Rae wrote: “If Canadians turn our attention at all from the bliss that is a short but intense summer, we look to the nasty, brutish and long election campaign that yawns before us. Meanwhile, the world reckons with the possibility that the alliance between the U.S. Republicans and the government of Israel might well undo the multi-government deal limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” The former premier of Ontario and former MP was a table host at the 2014 Couchiching Gala.

Read more

The Agenda, August 10th: Author and journalist Mona Eltahawy's essay, "Why Do They Hate Us?", was a searing indictment of a culture of misogyny and outright hatred of women in the Middle East that sparked major controversy when it was published in Foreign Policy magazine in 2012. She expands on that thesis in her book "Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution," arguing that the Arab world desperately needs to end its oppression of women. Mona spoke at the April 27th Couchiching Conversation.

All episodes of The Agenda in the Summer are available on-demand in streaming video and audio and video podcasts at http://theagenda.tvo.org/podcasts.

The Globe and Mail, August 7th: Reporter Lori Ewing wrote: “Elisabeth Walker-Young watched from her Vancouver home as Canadian athletes shone in front of jam-packed crowds at the Pan American Games earlier this month. Now it’s time for her team to do its part.” Elisabeth was a keynote speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).

Read more

The Globe and Mail, July 29th: Former diplomat Paul Heinbecker wrote: “The situation in the Middle East is never so bad that it can’t get worse. Turkey, an island of comparative stability in a sea of unrest, is at risk from a rising tide of insecurity on its borders and instability inside them.” The director of the Laurier Centre for Global Relations and a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities for Canada” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2012/home ).

Read more

Health researcher and innovator Dr. Anne Snowdon has joined the University of Windsor’s Odette World Health Innovation Network and the faculty of the Odette School of Business. She was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference /).

Daveberta.ca-Alberta Politics, July 26th: Aaron Paquette has been nominated as the NDP candidate in Edmonton Manning. The artist and activist was a speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together As One: Navigating the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2013-conference ).

Read more

The Globe and Mail, July 20th: Tom Flanagan wrote: “Leaders of the Assembly of First Nations are urging their people to defeat the Conservatives on Oct. 19. Vote Liberal or NDP, is the message, but not Conservative.” He is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and chair of the aboriginal futures research program with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He was a speaker at the 2011 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2010/2010-conference ).

Read more

July 20th: Roberta L. Jamieson has been elected to the new Hydro One Inc. Board of Directors. The President and CEO of Indspire, she was the opening keynote speaker at the 2013 Summer Conference, “Coming Together As One: Navigating the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2013-conference ).

Read more

The Hill Times, July 13th: A front page article entitled “Political risks uncertain in expected TPP supply management concessions” by reporter Laura Ryckwaert said: Negotiations to reach a final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement are entering the end stages and sources say the Canadian government will likely agree to supply management concessions in order to reach a deal, a potentially politically risky move right ahead of an election. Pictured and quoted in the article was Martha Hall Findlay, who said during her time as a Liberal MP she became frustrated by the fact that while there’s widespread agreement among experts that supply management needs to go, politicians are too afraid to tackle the ‘tiny but very powerful’ lobbies defending it.” The former member of the Couchiching board of directors is now with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

Read more

The Hill Times, July 13th: Also on the front page was an article entitled “New voices, new approach expected in 2015 campaign coverage”. Reporters Laura Ryckewaert and Mark Burgess wrote: “New media outlets on the Canadian political beat and resource-deprived traditional ones taking new approaches could make for election coverage this fall that’s less centered on the main trail and offers more variety for an increasingly splintered audience.” Quoted in the article was Carleton University journalism professor Chris Waddell who said: “On some levels you could say we’ve basically been covering elections like it was 1970, and it’s not 1970 anymore.” He was a moderator at the speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).

Read more

May 19th: Akaash Maharaj, CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), addressed the United Nations on GOPAC's work to bring kleptocrats to justice and prosecute crimes against humanity through international law.

Read more

 

Conference Recap Continued

by Heather Keachie

Friday, August 7th

The Conference opened with a session led by representatives from Lakehead University on the comparative costs of student debt in Canada, starting from the 1960s when the first government loans were issued to students. Increasing tuition fees across the country now mean that government-issued loans cover only a portion of the total costs of post-secondary education. While elementary and secondary school attendance is both mandatory and free, post-secondary is becoming increasingly siloed as costs rise, limiting access to those with the means to pay. Is a university education a right for all, or a privilege limited to the few who can afford it? Is the purpose of post-secondary education the pursuit of knowledge or the assurance of a lucrative career? And if so, should it be priced accordingly? Asked, and answered, these questions were debated by delegates on both sides of having repaid their student debts.

For the official opening, City of Orillia Councillor Pat Hehn declared August 7, 2015, to be Intergeneration Day. Elder Myrna Watson of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation prayed for a productive conference, asking the delegates to open their minds and hearts to the seven generations to come.

The two opening keynote addresses complemented and challenged each other. Helen Angus, Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade and Deputy Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and Seniors Affairs, challenged the assumptions about seniors in the province. Boomers, she said, are living longer, but as productive and contributing members of Canadian society, working and paying taxes well into their 60s. Ontario should certainly adapt to the changing demographics, but part of the adaption is thinking differently about seniors, recognizing their changing needs and their continued active participation in society.

Paul Kershaw, founder of the Generation Squeeze campaign, called for younger generations, those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, to organize and advocate for public dollars to be more proportionately spent on their age cohort. The younger generations, he argued, are pressed by externalities, including high housing prices, high student loans, limited pensions, and are being squeezed between raising children and caring for aging parents. A lobby for younger generations would give them the necessary political clout to advocate for policies benefitting younger generations. As Kershaw said, politics isn’t broken; it still works for those who show up.

Saturday, August 8th

Saturday morning was all about cold, hard cash: who gets it, and when? Mitzie Hunter, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Finance, stressed the need to adapt our policies on public pensions to the reality that today’s workforce is more mobile than ever. Former head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Jim Leech, illustrated the changing dynamics facing pension plans by recalling a renegotiation of an agreement where the union accused management of reneging on its previous benefits deal, to which he replied: “Yes, they may have gone back on their promise, but you have reneged on the deal too; you’re not dying as quickly as planned.”

Changing economic and demographic realities affect more than just pensions, however. Mike Moffatt, from Western University, highlighted the fact that new economic forces not only produce intergenerational challenges, they also create tensions between communities, regions, and provinces, all competing to attract good jobs. Mike urged resistance against “racing to the bottom” in tackling those challenges and tensions. Armine Yalnizyan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives challenged the delegates to question the current assumptions underlying our economic policies and argued that significant policy changes will be required for Canada to face the new, emerging domestic and international economic landscape.

After lunch, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell spoke about her experiences during her first year in office. From aboriginal communities in Northern Ontario to the Pan American and Parapan American Games in Toronto, she recounted her constant amazement at the rich diversity of the people of Ontario. Her role, as she sees it, is to hear the stories of Ontarians; her privilege is that she can call people to together to share them. Fora like the Institute are valuable in their ability to bring people together to discuss.

Moderated by Sandra Odendahl, Director of Corporate Sustainability and Social Finance, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Saturday evening panel was a spirited discussion regarding the environmental aspects of intergenerational transfer. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, brought a global perspective, and impressed upon the delegates that we too often take the natural world for granted and think that we will always benefit from it, but that will not always be so if we fail to protect the natural environment. He spoke about the prospects for the upcoming December conference in Paris that will deal with global warming. Columnist Deborah Yedlin of the Calgary Herald stressed the critical role that energy plays in every aspect of the Canadian and world economy, and argued that it is naïve to think we can easily change that reality. Professor Christopher Ragan of McGill University advocated for the concept of carbon pricing in a carbon-constrained world. Chris suggested that the challenge in tackling environmental dangers lies not in the absence of potential solutions, but in a lack of leadership and governance in making the tough, but necessary decisions.

Our warmest thanks to the Royal Bank of Canada for its ongoing support of the Institute and for its sponsorship of this panel.

Sunday, August 9th

The Conference tackled the issue of institutional and democratic transfer. Jane Hilderman, Executive Director of Samara Canada, began by saying that she treated the Conference as a BYOB event: Bring Your Own Boomer – Jane brought her mother along! Her presentation was based on data derived from Samara’s “Democracy 360” survey in 2014. Contrary to widely held beliefs, Millennials (those born between 1987 and 1993) were more actively engaged in political life than other age cohorts, even though only 38.8% of them turned out to vote in 2011. This higher level of participation spanned all 18 measures of political engagement examined in the survey, from general political involvement like conversations using online technologies, through activism and other civic engagement, to formal political action like party-political activity. Perhaps, Jane posited, the problem is the traditional way in which we frame formal political engagement.

Leo Bureau-Blouin picked up on that discrepancy. Léo, a Laval University law student, described lessons learnt from his experiences as a student activist in 2012, fighting proposed increases in tuition charges in Québec, by building intense media interest in March, April, and May, then negotiating with the Québec Government on these issues, followed by his election to Québec’s National Assembly in September 2012, and losing his seat in the April 2014 election. He saw the tuition hike become the number one issue in the media from March to May 2012, attracting more coverage than even the Montreal Canadiens! The percentage of young people under 25 voting in provincial elections rose from 35% in 2008 to 63% in 2012. His experience in government from 2012 to 2014 revealed the resistance of young people to committing to conventional political parties, and, by contrast, their passion about certain specific political issues.

Adwoa Buahene of n-gen People Performance Inc., answered the question “Are we failing the future?” with a bold “Yes, because we have been failing our past”. She pointed out the communications challenges posed by Generation X (born 1965 to 1980) and Generation Y (born 1981 to 2000) to the Baby Boom generation (born 1946 to 1964) and their Traditional predecessors. Born in the shadow of the Baby Boom, outnumbered by the Boomers and facing the prospect of never matching their parents’ career opportunities or wealth, Gen-Xers grew up skeptical of government and political organizations, and felt obliged to become self-reliant in reaction to diminished collective heft. Gen-Y, on the other hand, as children of the Boomers, formed a large cohort like their parents, which came to dwarf Gen-X. So Gen-Y grew up with strong optimism about their abilities. Using online expertise to develop pundits within their own generation, they rely on peer-to-peer relationships rather than their elders. Accordingly, political parties need to speak with Gen-Yers not to them.

The Conference closed with thought-provoking remarks from Karen Carter, the Executive Director of Myseum of Toronto, and Sanjay Khanna, the Futurist-in-Residence at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Pulling together different ideas, lessons, and thoughts expressed over the course of the conference, Karen used the construction of the Bloor Viaduct as a good example of how society should think and act in a forward-looking way. When the Bloor Viaduct was built, planners ensured that it could accommodate subway tracks before they even knew if a subway would ever be built. This sort of creative, visionary thinking is, for Karen, necessary to ensure the well-being of future generations. Looking ahead, Sanjay spoke of the many challenges that modern societies will face over the next several decades. Although the future may look grim at times, he argued that this not cause for despair: humans have confronted challenges before and adapted to new realities, and it can be done again.

 

Calling all readers of Couchiching Connects!

Please send information on Newsmakers, Members on the Move, Alumni in the News, and Opinions: Our Members Write ... to Sheila Robertson, Editor, Couchiching Connects.

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

Read More

Newsletter

Couchiching Connects
April 2017
View Now

Sign Up for our Newsletter!