Big Questions of Canada

We explore the past to find answers for the future.

May 31, 2017

The Canada of 2017 would be scarcely recognizable to Canadians of 1967 and completely unrecognizable to the citizens of the newly minted Confederation of 1867.

Its population has multiplied tenfold since the United Province of Canada merged with the colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and its territory is many times larger. Society has been transformed to include what our forebears could not have imagined, such as multiculturalism, women’s rights, same-sex marriage, and Indigenous reconciliation.

We have come a long way. But the Confederation project remains a work in progress. As we prepare to mark the sesquicentennial of Confederation, our celebrations are tempered by the uncertainty we feel about the future. What kind of country will our children and our grandchildren inherit?

In the Big Questions of Canada, our guest essayists explore issues that loom large as we move into the future. We invite you to join the conversation. Because the answers to these questions will only be found by talking — and really listening — to each other.

Marching Orders

Canada can use its sesquicentennial to launch a new, more peaceful world order.

Rights and Reconciliation

The future of Canada rests on adopting the balanced world view of Indigenous people.

Room to Grow

No matter where we have come from, we are all Canadians.

State of Mind

A thriving Canadian culture is one of the most significant achievements of the past century and a half. But will it last?

Women of Worth

Here’s an idea for a sesquicentennial project: Let’s close the gender gap.

Confederation Derailed

You can’t call Canada a nation anymore. How did this happen?

These articles originally appeared in the June-July 2017 issue of Canada’s History.

The “Big Questions of Canada” was made possible thanks to the Great Writers initiative. Supported by H. Sanford Riley, the Great Writers initiative encourages prominent writers to explore issues of historical significance to all Canadians.

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