This time a week ago I was in Ottawa waiting to go on stage and speak at the Broadbent Institute’s second annual Progress Summit. The whole experience of being in Ottawa for the event along with about 900 progressive thinkers and activists from across Canada was a stimulating and invigorating experience.
It was also at times very intense, like at the panel discussing Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples: Can the Damage be Repaired? At times enlightening, like at the panel on Canada’s Inequality Problem: What’s the Fix? And, at times infuriating like when we heard of the feminists still struggling against violent misogyny in politics and the gaming industry. I’m glad to say there was also raucous humour like at The Great Budget Debate between right and left leaning economists (the left won hands down!).
My take-away from participating at the Progress Summit is that there is clearly a better way for Canada than the austerity path we’re on now and that Canada’s First Peoples must finally have the respect and resources that should be theirs.
The energy, optimism, and intelligence of the people gathered for the event represented strength in knowing; that we don’t have to settle for a country where youth have few options due to high unemployment and huge student debt, or where families with young children despair over the continuing child care crisis, where Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women and Girls have no voice, or where most Canadians have insufficient pension benefits to sustain them in old age.
I was very pleased to note the issue of quality child care that all families can afford resonated loudly throughout the Progress Summit drawing cheers for those who championed federal investment into a national system. I was honoured to share a few remarks at the closing of the Progress Summit and commit to continuing my work, with colleagues in BC and across Canada, highlighting the current child care crisis, the inadequacy of the federal and provincial governments’ response, and the solution in BC – the $10aDay Child Care Plan.
The Broadbent Institute can be commended for hosting such a worthwhile and important event in this federal election year #VoteChildcare2015.