NEW BRUNSWICK LETTER

C

From Dennis Atchison

Dear Canada,

Yes, we did it … we had an election in the middle (is it the middle?) of a pandemic! For a province known nationally as “nothing happens there” it was a pretty bold move.

The focus in the media was the election results—return to a majority government. What kept me scratching my head was why media never reported how there were no spikes in positive tests for COVID-19 in the two weeks that followed.  While other parts of the country open up and experience significant increases in cases, we hold an election and there was no COVID consequence.

Now there’s a story.

The election. How to sum it up. One post on Facebook declared Blaine Higgs the best Premier since the 1980’s. That of course was the reign of Liberal Premier Frank McKenna.  The result of that era … New Brunswick at the bottom of the pile for economy, literacy, employment levels, access to family doctor and much more.

Premier Higgs wants to allow fracking, Energy East Pipeline, significant exploitation of natural resources through pulp industry and mining. He has a majority government and the attitude of pushing though his agenda.  

It doesn’t look good for unions, by the way. Higgs and his gang struggled mightily in the last round of negotiations. Cooperation through a minority government, especially the nursing home workers contract, was not his forte. With a majority, any thought of cooperation has evaporated.  I suspect it will be “Game On”.

The Conservatives earned 147,500 votes of a possible 569,900 … that’s about 26 per cent, meaning 74 per cent are not in support of that agenda. It is not going to be a pretty four years.

As for managing the story of the year—COVID-19—we continue to do just fine. We call it the Atlantic Bubble, and so far it is holding up. As the second wave smacks Quebec and Ontario and other provinces out west, we sit in our bubble and hope for the best for the rest of the country.

What is clear in watching from the east, is much of Canada struggles with taking direction, and trusting decisions are made in the greater public’s best interest. It is as if these places have no sense of community and responsibility to protect that community.  This is an observation, not a judgment … as it runs through much of what we see. Government says no large gatherings … and news shows us large gatherings and the related spikes in cases within two weeks. Honestly, it is scary to watch, as underlying these actions is a chaos that shows just how much our collective responsibility has eroded.

Canada was once a country with shared values which ran deep in our collective conscience.   

But it is now Fall, crops are coming in, apples being picked, nice crisp feel to the air (goodness we have great air here) and our colours are on full view. Maybe our Atlantic Bubble is really a snow globe, only with multi-coloured leaves instead of snow.

Bye for now from New Brunswick … be good.

     Dennis                                                     

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