Time is long overdue for action to improve rural surgical services in Canada. In this issue of CJS, a proposed curriculum for the provision of enhanced surgical skills (ESS) to rural family physicians offers an opportunity to fortify a seamless network of high-quality surgical care for rural Canada. It is supported and enhanced by the best available evidence and measured advice from specialists and generalists alike. Publication of this curriculum proposal provides for essential dialogue with general surgeons. We discuss why we must play an active role in the development, teaching and evaluation of ESS, or we will have minimal influence and limited grounds on which to criticize its outcome or celebrate the opportunity of success it promises.