by Shelbey Hernandez
The Lance – News Editor
The lieutenant governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, is seeking submissions for the newly created Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize.
Partnering with the Walrus Foundation, this prize gives Ontarians aged 18 and over the chance to explain the challenges Ontarians and Canadians will face over the next 50 years. Those who put in submissions will also provide solutions to these challenges.
Dowdeswell in her role has often put on events aimed at learning more about the issues Ontarians and Canadians face. With Canada’s 150th coming up, she figured putting forth this prize would be another way of honouring Canada.
“We are asking Ontarians to think, ‘Who are we as Ontarians? Who do we want to be?’ That has led us to think about 2017 in a way that both honours the past 150 years and allows us to think about where we have come from, how we have grown as a nation and what we can learn from that,” said Dowdeswell. “As we celebrate, as all of us will do next year, we wanted to actually have an opportunity to start a discussion about the next 50 years … That is why one of the things we have initiated is this Lieutenant Governor’s Visionary Prize.”
To put the word out about this prize, Dowdeswell visited Windsor and sat with those from the university and from the city. Just some names of those who were in attendance included mayor Drew Dilkens, UWindsor president Alan Wildeman, members of the Graduate society and members of the UWSA. In explaining the award, Dowdeswell asked to hear from those present. She wanted to know what is happening in Windsor, what are some concerns and what are the benefits. Some mentioned the tight-knit aura as a positive often found at the UWindsor campus. Others discussed a partnership that has been increased between UWindsor and the City of Windsor.
One student in particular, who praised UWindsor for its many opportunities, brought up the issue of tuition.
“When my mother found out she was pregnant with me, she thought post-secondary was so important. So she bought a house a couple of blocks away and moved from LaSalle to come here to make sure her son which then became three sons would be able to attend university or college,” said Matthew Dunlop with the UWSA. “… But even though my mother moved to a house near the university so her three children could attend, when I speak to my two younger brothers about their futures, they’re no longer looking at post-secondary as a potential and a lot of that is because of the stories they heard about what debt does …they don’t want to be $30,000 in debt.”
Submissions are asked to be submitted in a short essay and/or brief video format. They must also fall under at least one of the following categories: reconciliation, governance, inclusive prosperity, environmental stewardship, social cohesion and scientific and technological innovation.
Each of the six categories will have maximum six finalists. Those who are chosen as one of the 36 finalists will then have the chance to publically explain their idea at one of six locations in the fall of 2017. Each of the locations will house the finalists for each category. The finalists for the reconciliation category will present in Thunder Bay, those in the governance category will present in Kingston, those in the inclusive prosperity category will present in Windsor and so on.
The deadline for submissions is March 2017. Anyone looking to enter a submission or to gain more information can do so by going to www.thewalrus.ca/LGvisionariesprize