Henry Mintzberg: To the young people of Canada. This is your country.

by Henry Mintzberg

To the young people of Canada. This is your country. Will you help us leave to you intact, as one of the most humane places in the world? Or will you not bother to vote, and so cede it to the politics of greed? How about instead creating a little Tahrir Square, just like Cario's, right here in Canada?

This election is theatre: ignore the campaigns and the promises (which are just attempts to bribe us with our own money). What matters is what the people who are elected can and will do. And that is best judged by what they have done.

What the Conservatives have done suggests that, with a majority, our most cherished institutions, Medicare, the CBC, and others will be threatened. As a prominent minister was overheard just after the 2006 election, "If we get a majority, they won't recognize this country."

Do not necessarily vote Liberal. Or NDP. Or Bloc. Or Green. If the majority of voters split their votes again, the Conservatives will again be elected. So please, drop your party preference: this election is about the future of Canada. If you cherish what this country is, vote for whichever candidate in your riding has the greatest chance of beating the Conservative. Project Democracy provides excellent and easily accessible information on how to do this.

If enough people do this, we could end up with a coalition government, which could well be the best solution. (Recall that cooperation of the NDP with the Liberals gave us Medicare fifty years ago.) This election has to be about the country, not about its personalities.

Use social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter to reach your friends and the older people you know, warn them of the dangers we are facing, and urge them to vote strategically to defeat the Harper Conservatives.

- Henry Mintzberg O.C.

Henry Mintzberg is Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal, where he has been since he graduated with a doctorate from MIT in 1968. He has spent time at other universities in Canada, the United States, France, and England. For much of the past fifteen years he has worked in collaboration with colleagues from Canada, England, France, India, Japan, China, and Brazil to develop new approaches to management education and development. He has published over 150 articles and 15 books. He is Officer of the Order of Canada and of l'Ordre national du Quebec, was selected as Distinguished Scholar for the year 2000 by the Academy of Management, and has won two McKinsey prizes for articles in the Harvard Business Review.

The Canada that can be