Letter from Nick Kootnikoff, Program Development Senior Manager at CARE Canada

Canada 150

Tell us about your role and how you are contributing to the society:

CARE Canada is an international non-government organization with a focus on humanitarian response and international development. My role in program development is to coordinate the preparation of proposals to donors that both meets their objectives and ensures that CARE’s approach of gender equality and women’s voice, inclusive governance, and resilience is built into our proposals to ensure that the injustice of poverty is addressed.

Presently, what do you like about Canada?:

Canada is a nation of nations that has been woven together originally by our indigenous First Nations and Inuit, then the French and English, and which now hosts people from areas of the world.
We see the value of our diversity and can offer a shining example of it to the world. We’re not perfect and we’ve gotten major things wrong over the last 150 years but we realize it’s never too late to start again, to rebuild a relationship, and to say we’re sorry (which we do so well).

Your Letter to the Future:

As I stand among the almost two hundred flags at the entrance of the COP22 in Marrakech, I reflect on the events of the recent days, months and years.

Just over a year ago, Canada voted to rejoin the global community. We opened our borders to over 30,000 Syrian refugees, took steps to re-engage in and contribute to multilateral institutions, and proved that a country can serve all its people regardless of differences in belief, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Canada took its place by showing the world that respect and acceptance could conquer all.

Since then, our two closest partners, and those countries who we’ve shared so much history with, have chosen different paths. Tolerance has been questioned and decency suspended in favour of political gain. Fear and hatred have proven to be effective tools to mobilize the masses against a shared global purpose.

The world is at a crossroads. In 2015 we did the impossible in signing the Paris Agreement to address humanity’s ever-accelerating speed towards climate catastrophe, and in signing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to better the conditions of all of people by 2030, especially women, girls and the most marginalized. Yet in 2016 these wins are already at risk with these renewed nationalistic policies of divisiveness. To resist these forces, Canada must continue to show its leadership by being a symbol of openness and trust. Canada can, and will, accomplish this and do its part in guiding the world back from the brink.

My Canada in 2031 is inclusive and is a model for a world that is adapting to the realities of climate change. It opens its borders to those in need and to those forced to migrate due to climate, war, or oppression. It has led the world in achieving its 2030 goals and is assisting countries who yet haven’t; it met it’s 0.7% of GDP for overseas development aid, and is a leader in providing climate finance and transferring green technology to developing countries. It has taken large steps towards repairing relationships with our first Nations, our indigenous partners, and has met its even more stringent greenhouse gas reduction targets than what was signed in Paris. Canada has realized that the fifteen year SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the investments in our indigenous and climate were only first steps and that more work remains.

By 2166, I envision my Canada to have completed its journey of reconciliation with all its peoples and to have assisted the world in completing its own reconciliation. The aftershocks of colonialism are resolved, the planet is rebuilding, and injustice through poverty is long eliminated. Canada, and the world, have healed humanity’s scars on the earth, its pollution in the water, its stains in the air, and its attacks on biodiversity. My Canada is but one country in a world of equals co-existing in peace and collaborating to achieve what’s still remaining – journeys to other planets or stars, limitless pollution-free energy, and the reestablishment of species of the animal kingdom that were put to the brink of death in recent centuries.

As I stand under the flags at the COP22 in Marrakech, I’m optimistic for humanity and the planet we live on. I am a Canadian and a global citizen, surrounded by thousands of other global citizens here in Morocco, with the support of millions more across the globe. Like Canada, I will do my best to convince my peers of a better path forward one conversation and one peaceful action at a time.