Glyn Lewis

On Sunday, February 28th Sidney Crosby scored an overtime goal that lifted a nation. From coast to coast to coast, Canadians spilled into the streets to wave our flag, to sing our anthem, and to revel in our national spirit. We were unapologetically proud of what we had just accomplished.

In the wake of the Vancouver Winter Olympics many social and political commentators have asked a poignant question: how have these 17 days changed Canada?

Those more cynical believe that this single moment was akin to a teenage New Years Eve party, in which things seem magical until the next morning when the unsuspecting neophyte wakes up in a stupor, no more enlightened than the day before.

Others, meanwhile, seek to draw deeper significance. Perhaps the shared national experiences of failure and triumph will lead to a heightened sense of pride and ownership of the Canadian enterprise? Is it possible that during the Olympics, Canadians from all walks of life developed a more profound relationship with one and other, and with our common ideals?

In order for this to be the legacy, such sentiments need to be appropriately harnessed.

There is an initiative underway which is offering Canadians a means to discuss the state of our Canadian democracy in a non-partisan forum. The “National Day of Dialogue,” as it’s currently being billed, is being organized by chapters of Canadians Advocating Political Participation (CAPP) – the offshoot of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament which came together through Facebook after Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down Parliament to evade public scrutiny.

The objective of the National Day of Dialogue, taking place May 15, is simple. We hope to organize forums where citizens will be able to come together to exchange thoughts on how to address the precipitous downturn in voter participation.

The ancient Romans organized Games as an opiate to control and distract the masses. In the 21st century can organized sport be leveraged to connect and galvanize citizens to become more so engaged in the affairs of their community? Only time will tell if in the afterglow of Crosby’s golden goal we emerge with a simple hangover or if a more profound change has occurred.

Glyn Lewis is a member of Canadians Advocating Political Participation – Vancouver.