Blog Posts

Make Canada Great Again

Robert Stephens

Are we ready to drain the swamps here? Is FOMO a full-blown epidemic? Where goest thou, Macdonald, Laurier, King and Borden? Read on …

Not in a happy space

Things are going to hell in a handbasket and are likely to get worse.

That’s the prevailing view of Canadians, revealed in an interesting new survey. Take a look at the Ipsos report Understanding Canadians, it’s timely and insightful. You’ll come away feeling that, OMG, we are not in a happy space.

A majority of Canadians believe that they are worse off than their parents when it comes to owning a home, having a secure job, earning a sufficient income, and retiring comfortably. And they think their kids will be even more financially distressed.

Those of the true north, strong and free, fret that the system is stacked against them, that governments are not listening to their concerns, and that the economy is rigged in favour of the rich and powerful.

They are overwhelmed by the pace of change. They worry about their jobs being lost to automation, shifting immigration patterns, and the anemic economy. They wish they could return to a simpler, slower life and want Canada to be “the way it used to be.”

This is the same vein of deep discontent that Donald Trump mined in the U.S. It is a growing distrust in our institutions and the ‘elites’ who run the country. Make Canada Great Again?



A new malady is sweeping through society, causing extreme anxiety and even panic among our young.

It is called FOMO, a word that has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It stands for Fear Of Missing Out. And it now afflicts millions of sufferers who have been laid low by this phenomenon.

FOMO is thought to originate through social media and smartphone technology. It occurs when you are constantly comparing aspects of your life to the fabulous lifestyles of others. They seem happier, more stylish, better connected than you. They are at exciting events, having authentic experiences, enjoying the adulation of their peers. You are at home with your cats.

And so you start to feel that you are missing out, and that drives you to spend even more time on social media. According to Forbes, FOMO is the 21st century equivalent of keeping up with the Joneses.

It is the negative feedback loop of social media – the fear of being inferior – that keeps young adults glued to their screens. According to eMarketer, half of U.S. teen smartphone users spend three or more hours a day on social networks.

It should come as no surprise, then, that research is now finding a high correlation between social media use and increased depression among teens and millennials.


Trading Places

Do you recognize these folks? Well, if you still carry cash, you’ll be getting to know them soon. They’ll be gracing some of our banknotes – the first time anyone other than a prime minister or royalty has been highlighted on our bills.

Clockwise from top left: Agnes MacPhail, first female member of Parliament (elected 1921); James Gladstone, earliest First Nations person appointed to the Senate (appointed 1958); Viola Desmond, Black rights activist; and Sir George-Étienne Cartier, one of the fathers of Confederation.

MacPhail, Gladstone and Cartier will join Sir John A. Macdonald on the front of a new $10 bill commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday, in circulation beginning June 1.

Then in 2018, Desmond will take solo spot on the purple $10, with Sir John A. being sent to a higher denomination. Same thing for Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who will be replaced on the blue $5 by a yet unannounced figure and moved to a higher-value note.

Poor old William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden, they’ll no longer have a place in our wallets. And just when we were becoming better acquainted with them, thanks to inflation, taxes and Ontario Hydro.

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