FROM THE EDITOR
At the same time that this issue of the newspaper hits newsstands, thousands of youth and supportive adults are scheduled to walk out of schools across the United States to protest what has been an all too frequent spilling of blood in the halls and classrooms of America at the hands of individuals armed with guns. They are demanding better of their representatives, their education system and their fellow citizens.
Unfortunately, mainstream media in that country has largely missed the opportunity to embrace this moment of civil disobedience – instead, choosing to focus on various grades of punishment that students may encounter if they choose to join their sisters and brothers outside. The question that they should be asking is, what will the real penalty be if they continue to stay inside?
This issue may seem far away from our existence here in Cape Breton. Although we are not free of violence, we are fortunate to live somewhere where violence is not the norm. One would naturally hope it will stay that way. However, peace is not something we hope for, it is something we carry out through constant effort. It is a social contract of sorts, maintained by the actions of us all that mirror the collective results we desire.
As Canadians, we have grown accustomed to a relative degree of peace. And let me be abundantly clear, we have not arrived here as a nation without a history of bloodshed and injustice towards indigenous and minority peoples. That is a dark cloud in our history that we struggle with even as we seek truth and reconciliation. And it is a reality that continues to be cast upon members of our society across this country every day.
In this issue, Morgan Duchesney explores two paths to independence – one of Quebec that has, at times, been riddled with violence and terrorism. The other, here in Cape Breton, would see us join Canada as our own empowered province. Regardless of your position on Cape Breton provincehood, the message here is that the path forward for this island and its people must be accomplished cooperatively, through non-violent means. Non-violence in this sense embraces not only a lack of gunfire, but a broader sense of justice where we listen to one another and work to be as inclusive of each other’s needs and wants, as possible.
Peace not only requires we uphold our end of the social contract, it must also examine the consequences of failing to do so. That is why in a small, community newspaper, we choose to look beyond the shores of our great island from time to time, to understand difficult issues happening elsewhere in the world. It is also why we keep a watchful eye on our governments and our education systems. It is why we report on the need for change even as we highlight the many great things happening in our county and the many great people that are making them happen.
The struggle for justice and a better life for all does not come neatly wrapped in a to-go container. It involves us demanding better education, better jobs, better pay, a cleaner environment, better health care and reliable child care. For they are the building blocks of our future. But a passive seat we must not take. This future involves us all. We should constantly demand better of ourselves and be willing to step outside, when necessary.