canada+flag+over+canada+country+shapeI hummed. I hawed. Should I? Should I opine about Monday's general election in Canada? I am apolitical ... usually. But not this year. Not this time. Since 2006, the Conservative Party of Canada, led by Stephen Harper, has formed the government of my country. The first two terms were a minority government whereas since 2011, the Conservatives have held the majority. Mr. Harper is gunning for a fourth term as prime minister. I can no longer remain silent. I am concerned, for I believe Mr. Harper and the Conservatives have created an ethos of "cannot" as opposed to an atttude of "can". The former is something I do not support, and can no longer sit quiet with. The former is the status quo. It is time to suggest we can become Canadian again. This "cannot" aura that Mr. Harper has introduced is affecting my country's prosperity, external brand, and cultural identity. This "cannot" demeanor must be eviscerated for it is as untenable as unlimited oil from the Earth's underground. Canada is a country of people—and always has been a country of people—with a "can do" sense of being, of action. We are not a nation of disenfranchised, disenchanted or divisive people. It is not a "cannot" country. The good news is that it can be changed. We can open our doors to strangers, newcomers and refugees. We cannot (and do not) turn our backs to those that have always made our country the melting pot envy of millions. We can open our minds, and we do because that is how Canada prospers. We are a nation of immigrants, and can understand why it's so. We can and do welcome people into our country—like Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi—not because of quotas but because it is what Canada does. Canada can become inclusive, again. We can enter into international conflicts—such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus or Haiti—not to flex our muscles but to keep the peace. We can reclaim the badge of peacekeeper, the noblest of Canadian traits. This is what Canada does. This is what we can do. We cannot mock a nation or a culture. We cannot ban niqabs at citizenship ceremonies for that is not Canadian. We can be—as has been the fabric of Canadian identity since 1867—a nation full of compassion, consideration and empathy. Canada cannot continue to remain divisive. It cannot believe the sword (and arrogance) is mightier than the heart. We are Canada. We cannot be bullies. We can become leaders, again. We can love, and be loved, again. We cannot lead by Stalinesque virtues. We cannot govern by undemocratic ideals. We cannot introduce unethical spying and turn a blind eye. We cannot prorogue out of convenience. We cannot pretend things are better economically since 2006. We cannot forget we can. We can regain the world's trust. We can regain each other's trust. We can remember what it was like to be proud to be from Canada. We can go back to being Canadian. We can go back to being proud Canadians. We can reinsert the word "can" into Canada. How can we? Vote. Monday, October 19, 2015.  


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  • Dan is a conference organizer’s ideal speaker. Not only did he inspire and energize our group, but he also masterfully adapted his content so it resonated with the audience and our conference theme. As a bonus, Dan is able to nimbly navigate to adjust to a reduced time slot when other speakers went over time without sacrificing the impact of his session.

    Director and General Counsel
  • Dan accomplished what we set out to do, which was not only to be inspirational, but also to leave everyone with tools and food for thought / self-reflection to improve their personal and professional lives.

    Hermann Handa, FCT
  • Dan challenged us to have clarity of purpose, both as individuals and as an organization. He related inspiring stories drawing on his experience in business, technology and academia. As he said, ‘There is no ownership without belonging.’

    Christian Pantel, D2L
  • Dan Pontefract suggests leaders must be transformational and transactional, collaborative and considerate, daring and decisive, inclusive and insistent, playful and formal, harmonious, and humble, encouraging and results-driven. In a word, Flat.

    Robert Morris
    “How to strengthen engagement, empowerment, and execution, then leverage them for a decisive competitive advantage”

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