I’ve had a great day at the Institute of Public Administration conference in Canada, sharing work around Social Leadership and the evolution of democracy. Great, not because of what i’ve shared, but because of what i’ve learnt: curiosity, enquiry, reflection, strong conversations about change.
I work with many groups, but it’s refreshing to be enveloped in a conversation about public service, about citizenship, with such a clarity about how things like ‘nation’ are ever evolving concepts, and how we have a duty to safeguard and evolve them. A conversation about individual agency and public service, in it’s truest sense.
Don’t get me wrong: like any society, Canada has challenges of it’s history, it’s legacy, it’s ability to hold safe the trust invested in it by it’s citizens. But I do always feel a compelling breath of fresh air when i get a sense of possibility that is held by many people here.
I have a friend who works with as a nurse, in an excluded and impoverished community here: a community substantially marginalised and ignored, a community bereft of hope. As i say, i do not think that Canada has all the answers. Indeed, it may not yet be willing to face all the questions. But i do know that if i wanted to to tackle these problems, i would want some of these people by my side: the young group who sat around me at the end of the day, talking over themselves with a passion to share ideas, to make a difference, to be citizens: people of the state. The people who are reinventing Canada, here in Charlottetown, where the first invention took place.