John Ralston Saul, in his book, A Fair Country, talks about Canada as an aboriginal country, with one of its principle values, fairness. When I read it I remembered my father-in-law, who arrived here as a refugee from Slovakia in 1950, telling me about hearing children say to one another that something wasn’t fair. That was what was different about Canada, he said, even children knew things had to be fair.
In today’s Globe and Mail, Michael Ignatieff discusses the current economic disaster, and notes that things now are not fair. There are too many people who are excluded from Ralston Saul’s “big tent”. What follows is one of the final paragraphs:
A politics of fairness is also a politics of growth. Fair societies are more dynamic and more innovative. In fair societies, people don’t think the game is rigged before it begins. Success goes by what you know, not who you know. And people don’t waste emotions and energy on resentment and anger. They are too busy thinking up the next big thing.
He thinks that only by ensuring that everyone gets a fair chance can we overcome the current situation.