Dear prime minister and the premiers of Canada:
I believe delivering the right education from early childhood years up to high school and beyond is a key factor to prevent the moral degradation we are witnessing across the world in both the advanced and developing countries.
We are observing parades of corruption and ugly politics with elements of bigotry, racism and misogyny. This is prevalent not only in our southern neighbours but also in many parts of the world as well.
My proposal would be that under the leadership of our prime minister, the federal government takes the initiative to enable the introduction of a new program of mandatory "responsible citizenship" courses (supported with text books, documentaries, visual material and trained instructors), taught through case study. The federal government would mainly be responsible for the funding and encouragement of the process, working together with our provincial premiers, who would adapt and apply this program the way they see fit for their constituents.
Ignorance and moral corruption are the arch enemies which could be overcome.
We Canadians should understand that we, too, are not fully innocent and immune to decadence. We still have a lot of work to do; however, thanks to our history of good governance in comparison to the rest of the world, we have not reached the stage of nationwide bitterness and divide.
Having said that, I have no doubt that these negative effects will inevitably seep into our great nation as more politicians and interest groups realize that millions could be swayed and misguided by simply preying on their fears and their lack of understanding of how good governance and democracies are meant to work.
Ignorance and moral corruption are the arch enemies which could be overcome by "robust democratic education and courageous exemplars grounded in the spread of critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility," as the philosopher Dewey pointed out.
We need to cultivate generations of young adults who have been educated through an unbiased curriculum that has helped them understand how the world works today, and how it actually should when they take on their roles as global citizens.
The first condition of being a responsible global citizen is to be guided by an inner moral compass.
To understand the world's present state, a wide range of topics should be offered such as: the realities behind child labour practices; health and housing issues of the First Nations of Canada; examples of political corruption; how Wall Street and financial institutions operate; the consequences (pros and cons) of globalization; organic farming and GMO; implications of climate change; lobbysts and governments; reasons for wars and mass immigrations; famine; health aid organizations' missions; technology versus the work force; elections; consequences of government spending and budgeting; and an endless wide array of other subjects.
The educational program proposed here needs to have the concept of universal ethics and values strongly embedded in it. All participants should understand that the first condition of being a responsible global citizen is to be guided by an inner moral compass when undertaking future responsibilities.
Plato, some 25 centuries ago, argued that democracies produce citizens of unruly passion and pervasive ignorance, manipulated by greedy elites and mendacious politicians. The result is tyranny, the rule of a strong man (or privileged group) driven by appetites, corruption and secrecy.
If that statement holds true in our world today, then now more than ever there is a need to raise the future generations with a better understanding of the complex world we live in and the ethical standards they need to adhere to.
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