Unemployment on First Nations and in inner city neighbourhoods?  Climate change? Exponential diabetes rates?  Unaffordable government?  High incarceration rates?  There are no shortage of chronic and insatiable societal problems.

Shaun Loney’s An Army of Problem Solvers offers good news at a time when we need it most.  Loney draws on his experience as one of Canada’s leading social enterprise developers and his time as a senior civil servant to offer up a new and practical vision.

The problem isn’t the problems, he says.  The problem is that governments prevent problem solvers from doing their job.

Just who are the problem solvers?  Loney makes the case that social enterprises, social entrepreneurs and the small farm movement comprise the “solutions economy”.  Governments will soon understand that it is their job to “make it easy for problem solvers.”

The book comes at a time when Canada is discussing what reconciliation between Indigenous Canadians and the rest of the country means.  Loney argues that we can’t achieve it without allowing the re-emergence of local economies. An Army of Problems Solvers answers the question:  “what does nation-to-nation mean?”

As Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson says in her Preface:  “At the heart of this strategy is a big step towards creating a new Nation-to-Nation relationship.  Shaun’s book defines more clearly what this means.  Nation-to-Nation doesn’t just mean getting rid of diesel fuel in remote communities, it means having our own utilities that sell renewable energy to heat and power our homes.  Nation-to-Nation doesn’t mean simply making imported food more affordable, it means transforming our local food economies.  Nation-to-Nation doesn’t mean raising social assistance rates, it means implementing a basic income guarantee.  Nation-to-Nation even includes having our own currencies (alongside Canadian currency) that promotes local businesses.”

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