I live in New Waterford, on Cape Breton Island. Besides the weather, things don’t change here very often. When I first moved here four years ago, my neighbours couldn’t believe I wasn’t related to anyone in town. Why would someone from away, who had no connection to anyone in town, choose to live in New Waterford? I had a feeling I was the first non-Cape Bretoner to move here since the mines were in full operation.
The last mine in New Waterford (or, NDub, as some of us call it) closed in 2001. There’s been lots of little changes since then (businesses coming and going, families moving out west to work, abandoned houses getting burned or torn down), but what about the big changes?
Let’s take this past year (2015) as an example. So far, New Waterford’s gotten:
- two new pharmacies (well, we already had ‘em, but now they’re in two brand new buildings)
- a library reno and facelift
- a town clock (though I think that went in in 2014)
- a new fish and chip restaurant (Batter the Devil You Know)
And, that’s about it! For changes, these are pretty much on the light side of change. We already had the pharmacies and library, I’m not even sure if the clock works, and, though the fish is fresh and local and the fries are hand-cut, it’s still a restaurant that features deep-fried food—which we already have plenty of in the area (not to knock Batter—it’s really tasty and it’s so damned nice to walk to a local restaurant and not have to drive into Sydney).
Then, a couple of weeks ago, we got a new prime minister. Not just New Waterford—all of Canada.
Who knows what Trudeau will be like as PM. There’s lots of speculating happening online, but I’m happy to withhold judgement and wait and see. We had almost 10 years of tyrannical Harper; I’m super pumped to keep optimistic. As of today (Nov. 4) we have our first Gen X PM. Hmm, maybe I should start a hastag (#genxpm). How wonderful that someone young is leading our country. If youth = change, then have at ‘er, Justin.
What’s this have to do with New Waterford? Where things seldom change and the population is rather...senior? There’s an expression: shit trickles downhill. Well, I think it’s an expression. And with Harper, boy, did the shit trickle downhill. His unemotional, corporation-first agenda did a hell of a number on Canada. I really feel his way of “leading” set a precedence for how a lot of people in positions of power decided to wield that power—unbending, unemotional, harassing, abusive. From politicians to administrators to small-business managers: for the last few years, Canadians have been living in a constant state of fear. Fear of speaking up. Fear of questioning authority. Fear of change. Which is bullshit. Ruling through fear-mongering is not leadership. It’s bullying and harassing.
Now we have a new PM. He’s young. He wants to change things. We wants people to co-operate. Maybe his attitude will trickle down and cover all the shit Harper left us with. And maybe that idea of change will trickle all the way down and over Cape Breton. Here’s hoping this is a new era of change and co-operation, of working together to change things.