A Hometown Resolution

  • February 06, 2021
  • Zackery Shaver

As the United States winds down from what was one of the most expensive and divisive elections in history, and Canada gears up for the threat of a snap election in the middle of a pandemic, I have decided that a civics-minded new years’ resolution is in order.

While Canadians may display a different kind of patriotism to their country than Americans, a large majority of us know relatively little about the country we call home, with many surveys showing that a strong majority of Canadians would fail the Canadian citizenship test (possibly the most important civics quiz) if they had to take it tomorrow.

While living in Ottawa has meant that my knowledge of national politics is quite good, I must profess that my grasp of local and provincial politics is pretty weak. What is it that the mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, really does, apart from tell dad jokes on the radio? Does it matter whether the city is talking about a green or gold belt, it’s all karate right?

The short answer is probably a pretty big yes. How a city decides to develop, the choices in public transit it makes and even the rules it makes for garbage collection have a measurable impact on our lives. The millions and billions of dollars spent on these things also represents a big portion of the average Canadians’ budget.