Alicia is a One Young World Ambassador who works to create meaningful change for youth. She speaks about the topic publicly and has more than 600 public talks under her belt, including 2 TEDx talks and a Keynote at World Youth Day 2014.
I am so excited to welcome you to my country this September for One Young World 2016. Canada is a diverse and changing place. We have three coasts (pacific, Atlantic, and the Artic), have the Queen of England on our money, our government operates in english and French, and we experience the four seasons in all their glory.
I want to introduce you to Canada with some interesting issues that are close to my heart and the heart of many Canadians.
One: We recently elected a new government.
In late October, we elected a new Prime Minister with an old name, Justin Trudeau. His Dad, Pierre Trudeau, had also served as Prime Minister for most of the 70s and half of the 80s and is arguably the most famous Prime Minister Canada has ever had. It’s the first time in Canadian history that we have elected two members of the same family.
As fun of a fact as that is, it’s not the coolest thing about this new government. For the first time, our Prime Minister’s Cabinet consists of an equal number of women and men. I am excited about the potential for the voices of women to be heard and hope to see equality rise in Canada as a result. Lastly, our new government played an important role at the COP21 and are looking forward to working collaboratively with other countries in the next few years.
This makes for a great time for Ottawa to welcome you to Canada, so we can exchange and learn from each other.
Two: We live on Native Land.
Canada has a large Aboriginal population, making up just over 4.3% of the Canadian population. The board three groups are First Nations (consisting over 50 different nations), Metis, and Inuit. Our Aboriginal youth are less likely to be engaged in work and school, and 6 times more likely to die from suicide. This comes, in part, from years of being forced into residential schools. This issue is, of course, more complicated then a short paragraph will allow, but I will this as an introduction for now.
To try and start the healing process, the government commissioned the Truth and Reconciliation report. This details 92 recommendations to help improve life for Aboriginals. The most covered recommendation is an investigation to the large number of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. To learn more about the report click here and to learn about the investigation click here.
Three: We have free healthcare.
Most important to my life, we have free healthcare for most physical health care needs. In the last few years, we have been focused on building ways for people to get mental health care free without waiting as well as how to engage more people in caring in their health states. Our mental health plans cover only psychiatry now, which costs the most and boost waiting lists from 6 to 18 months. We are moving to try and create a health system that more integrating (caring for your mental and physical health) that seems a person as a human, rather then a combination of bones, muscles and diseases.
So here is my short introduction to how I see Canada. There are many other topics to cover, but this is just a quick summary! I would love to hear from others (Canadian or not) on how you see Canada and what you want to talk about this September! You can get in touch with me on Twitter here.