Reality change starts with small steps
I recently read an article in your paper (“Provincial dreams,” Nov. 7) reporting on the presentation by Senator Dan Christmas at the Greg MacLeod Memorial Lecture.
Senator Christmas brings very positive experience from his time working with Membertou, and its economic successes of recent years. His suggestion of Cape Breton self-governance, as a means to improving the quality and quantity of life in Cape Breton, is not a new idea.
Also, the underlying concept of a community digging in and taking charge of their situation is not a novel suggestion, but it is somewhat of a drastic departure from recent Cape Breton history. Cape Breton has been tarnished with the image of a beggar with its hand out, waiting for others to look after it. This image appears to be very real in the minds of a large portion of this country, whether it is warranted or not.
I would think that the road to Cape Breton political self-determination is an almost impossible journey, given the nature of our constitution. However, the other road of taking charge of our community, identifying our challenges and finding our home-grown solutions is a less travelled path, but most likely more realistic.
Cape Bretoners have been known for many years to be hardworking, conscientious people, who care for and look after their neighbors. They have labored on the water, on the land and underground, often in very trying conditions.
Now we have to do the hardest work of all – we need to look at ourselves and our communities, identify our shortfalls, learn from our past efforts and be creative in finding realistic opportunities for the future.
Also, we need to be better at communicating where we want to be, and how we plan to get there. We need to build this plan from the ground up, not rely on someone else doing it for us. We need to stop relying on the infamous “they” to fix things. Every person is important to this initiative if we are to make real and lasting progress. We need to be sure that our elected representatives are aware of these plans and what their role should be in bringing these plans to fruition – regardless of their political affiliation or background.
If we are to change our reality, we need to do it in small manageable pieces. If we start this process whenever we gather or meet ¬whether at a friend’s house, at the local coffee shop or just walking down the street at the same time - we can make progress. This will not be a quick effort, but it will be far more productive than just complaining about the status quo.