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Event Recap: Canada 2020

Canada 2020 is Canada’s leading, independent, progressive think-tank working to redefine the role of the federal government for a modern Canada. This event is one of many held in addition to their enormous annual conference held over the summer in Ottawa. On September 29th Canada 2020 held a lunch-event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) for a special guest speaker to talk about Canada’s future.

Luckily for me Ryerson University is a sponsor for the event, which is how a few other students and I were able to snag an invite to work at the event. Now why would 20 students want to wake up at 5am to volunteer for the day? Barack Obama that’s why! The former President of The United States would be the star of the day, delivering a small speech as well as a curated question and answer period.

Obama spoke on a variety of different topics including environmental issues, civic engagement, community leadership and tolerance. He spoke specifically about the Paris Accord, democracy in governments, equality in economics and Canada’s relationship with the current US government.

He also talked about young people, and reasons why we should be invested in them. He spoke specifically on the difference they can make not only in our community, but in our world. One thing he said that really stuck with me was, “if you had to choose a moment in time to be born without knowing who you’d be, you’d choose right now”. Despite everything happening in our world today it is still the best time in history for opportunities and growth. I think that’s something important to remember nowadays.

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Canada 2020 was an absolutely incredible experience and I’m so thankful to Ryerson for offering us this once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean, who else gets to add “stood next to Obama” to their roster for their next two truths and a lie game?