so it's been a lot of serious stuff talked about this afternoon and i'll probably some risk to my reputation i'll i'll show you this incredibly goofy idea i had to start this off which was I was going to arrive with a with a package and hold it here for a couple of seconds and say TEDx I thought you said fedex but but I won't do that because we're talking about serious stuff so uh I'll get back to that to the to the subject at hand which of course is creating a full citizenry and and I guess that's a very appropriate that we would be doing that in the in a college in a place of higher learning a place of post-secondary education because that's in a sense a huge part of our mission I think so start off in this section with the Alex knee was really important because it reminds us of how much work we have to do around the world but I think to be I think to be fair and and and relatively speaking is I think always a dangerous phrase to use when you're speaking of human rights but but relatively speaking we're of course in a different place in Canada and whereas our you know our our sense of citizenship is not under siege or or in some ways not as yet realized as it is and of course so many other places are on the world so we so we start with some very important caveats at a different place but we also recognize there are cracks and that's really why this is an important subject it's engaging us this afternoon and today because because we're not yet there and there are lots of ways of measuring citizenship and and I don't think any of them are completely beyond debate certainly not not not that I've seen I was struck when I was doing some work and in researching how technology would affect government and and the delivery of public service and democracy in the practice of politics there was an American political scientist named Robert Putnam who wrote a very powerful article at the time in the mid 90s called Bowling Alone and it was very powerful partly because it's a great title and it was what his study which was essentially positing that that a lot of the community kind of ties that that that bound people united states because that's where a study was refrain and and the title comes from the fact that he found that as many people as ever in the United States were bowling but the number of bowling leagues had diminished and it was really expressing as to some extent other studies had done if you go back to elements of Neil postman's work or even go back all the way back to the Middletown studies back in the 20s and looking at the way societies work we're held together and bound what the glue was you'd seen elements of this but he was really saying we've got some trouble in the United States he became a bit of a rock star for a while and saw President Clinton and got into People magazine and so on but I thought it was very had a very powerful concept i think is relevant here which he he said there are because he's talked about the notion of social capital which really in a sense kind of holds a society together and and if you can measure that you agreed he could measure the strength of the society and he had two notions of it one was of a bonding capital which really talked to the strength of kind of if you can think of it as siloed communities and then bridging capital which was the kind of capital that could actually work across communities and of course he said if you had one but not the other your society really wasn't as strong as it as it should be well there's a simple measure I look at for the strength of citizenship and and the attachment the engagement of people and it perhaps reflects them at the time I spent in public service and politics I look at turnout at elections you can argue that that you know is that is that a relevant one maybe politics is becoming irrelevant than it ever has been in the past but I think when organizations like anisty international are doing the important work and human rights organizations around the work world are doing the important work that they do when we see the struggle for democracy everywhere to take this flippantly and to it to dismiss it as a waste of time really kind of misses the point and I think the folks who the more you hear that the more I think you can understand that are we're not that quite there as with a full citizenry what's disturbing to me is that you have to go back 20 years to decades to find a federal election where the voter turnout was over seventy percent it's steadily diminished to to somewhere below below 65 now on a steady basis flirting in fact with going below 60 even worse in our own provincial election here in Ontario in the last provincial election was less than fifty percent one in one and two people didn't didn't find it worthwhile to go out and vote and if you think that's not important I would I would just say to you do you think doesn't matter and I'm not being part of that but do you think it doesn't matter whether we have a minority or majority government ontario or or in fact in Ottawa or do you think the choices for mayor in Toronto in the recent election were irrelevant I don't think they wear and I don't think the results are ours are anything that we should take lightly as citizens let alone if you're partisans now you take that kind of statistics and I looked at another one which is extremely disturbing which is the the trend of income inequality in in Canada but particularly in Toronto and this region in fact if you look at the big cities in Canada Toronto is by far the has the firt of the worst level of income inequality so yes the rich are getting richer you may have thought that but it's absolutely true and in a place like Toronto and increasingly just talking yesterday to a mayor in the 905 area talking about the difficulty of attracting working people to his community because of the price of housing so we're seeing stresses in our society that I don't think we can possibly ignore now coming to a place of higher education one of the things I think that we do brilliantly and it's just because of who we are not necessarily even how we execute but we're still places where I think actually I don't think there's an there's another one in our society today where where the diversity gathers for meaningful activity in such a way they think about it I mean you know riding the subway going up a you know elevator in office tower isn't quite the same as coming to school and studying with people and and and working with them in collaborative groups as our students do and and anyone who comes to Seneca call it knows the diversity of our students and that's partly why why for me it's it's it's so important that this remain a place and not an Internet address no no no not a place you sign on to through the internet exclusively but a place where you can come and engage and collaborate and and and learn about other people and not just about other things because that too is of an important part for citizenship but I think we need to do more and here i think in the tradition of Ted and TEDx I'll offer a not so modest in fact probably an audacious idea what if we what if we thought about taking the great experiences and and Laura was one of those who had the experience of Quetta Novick there's world canada world youth there's world university service canada there's all sorts of experiences what if we return to the day when there was some sort of national service and i'm not talking military service i'm talking about what if every young person after high school maybe in the first year to a post-secondary age what if they had to do a semester a few months working in an at-risk neighborhood if they had to work in an aboriginal community if they if they could go overseas experience some element of international development some kind of thing that took them out of as they say their comfort zone put them with a group of young canadians and truly from across the country I'd have three rules one is that everybody would have to do it this isn't voluntary this isn't a voluntary thing that's the whole point the whole point is to expose expose people to a different reality than they then they've grown up with to not just bond but to bridge to build those kinds of relationships so that would be one rule second rule is ideally and I'm not govern anymore so don't have to pay for this ideally you take the not just out of their community but even right side right out of the province take them to a different place some even out of the country that would be that would be a truly different experience and finally there would be an explicit citizenship component to it that's what it's all about it would be very big that's that's what it would that's the foundation of it and that's what we would that's what we would tell people it's about and that's what they experience I you know one of the things that has has struck me coming here is and I guess I just it's a huge juxtaposition with what's happening today as we're being encouraged whether it's turning four-year degrees and into three year degrees or whether it's it's governments that looking ask an SAT at what's called the victory lap in high school there's this notion that we have to speed up the process for young people to get them through as quickly as possible and I think it's time maybe we step back a little bit and stop thinking about education as something you measure with a stopwatch button factors look back to the kind of first principles of what are we trying to expose young people to and and what is it that they're looking for and of course anyone in post-secondary education today knows that relatively speaking so few students now take a straight line so few students decide and you know grade 10 or 11 what they're going to be come to college or university get there two three four year credential and then go out and do it for the rest of their lives that's just isn't how it happens it in so few cases is that the path of reality now we're seeing we're seeing this journey and it's a wonderful journey for students to take of exploration it can be an expensive one unfortunately it can be it can be too long because of some of the rules that we unfortunately put some of the obstacles we put in their place to go from one place to another but it really reflects that as young people look for their passion as anyone looks for their passion it some takes sometimes takes time and perhaps we're in this in this rush to get them through as quickly as possible into the workforce we're cutting corners and so if they were able to take some time in a at risk neighborhood in Montreal or a Aboriginal community in northern Manitoba or a small village in Burkina Faso for a few months I don't think that would be such a bad thing and I don't think it would be such a bad thing for them to pause not only in the sense of really appreciating that that that broader sense of the world as as Alex put that global citizenship but but also perhaps in time to reflect on where they were going and if along the way they were to really fully appreciate the understanding and understand you know what it was to be engaged in in a community or if they're to understand what would like to bridge the divide and and in a diverse world build relationships across those diversities or if there are two fully appreciate how precious and how important false isn't is well I just don't think that would be such a bad thing I think in fact that would be time well-spent thanks very much