Farewell to 2018

Truro Daily News - - OPINION -

With 2018 hav­ing drawn to a con­clu­sion, At­lantic Cana­di­ans try to find a lit­tle time dur­ing the hec­tic hol­i­days for some quiet re­flec­tion. It’s a chance to look back on the past year and de­cide whether we are bet­ter or worse off to­day than when the year be­gan.

Our thoughts cover a wide range of top­ics. We of­ten think in eco­nomic terms, such as chang­ing jobs or get­ting a pro­mo­tion, food costs, pur­chas­ing the lat­est elec­tronic gad­gets, the cost of gaso­line or mov­ing into a new house. Per­haps even the weather.

Oth­ers will rate 2018 on a more per­sonal level, such as the loss of a loved one, the ar­rival of a new baby, mak­ing new friends or even a great fam­ily va­ca­tion. It’s re­ally about what we feel is im­por­tant in our lives.

There is a gen­eral sense that At­lantic Cana­di­ans feel 2018 wasn’t a bad year, nor was it a good year. Per­haps just hold­ing our own made it a suc­cess­ful year.

The topic that dom­i­nated news­casts in At­lantic Canada con­cerned trade and tar­iff un­cer­tainty with NAFTA. It was a re­lief when a new deal was fi­nally signed al­though dairy, egg and poul­try farm­ers were hurt. They must be fairly com­pen­sated.

New Bruns­wick had an in­ter­est­ing year, high­lighted by a pro­vin­cial elec­tion. For­mer Pre­mier Brian Gal­lant won the pop­u­lar vote by six full per­cent­age points but trailed the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives by a seat and was even­tu­ally forced to re­sign. He was hurt by eco­nomic is­sues – lum­ber tar­iffs, the col­lapse of the En­ergy East pipe­line, the potash mine clo­sure in Sus­sex and car­bon pric­ing. New Brunswick­ers voted on pock­et­book is­sues.

New­found­land and Labrador was caught up with a pub­lic in­quiry into Muskrat Falls. Many res­i­dents won­dered how the project could run bil­lions of dol­lars over bud­get, while oth­ers just want to move on and stop wast­ing money on an in­quiry into how money was wasted. The prov­ince feels the worst is over, the se­vere belt-tight­en­ing and aus­ter­ity pro­grams are eas­ing and the eco­nomic out­look for 2019 is much brighter.

Prince Ed­ward Is­land con­tin­ued to en­joy a strong econ­omy but it’s fi­nally start­ing to cool, al­though the hous­ing sec­tor re­mains hot. For the first time, Pre­mier Wade Maclauch­lan had to deal with eco­nomic set­backs, such as sev­eral plant clo­sures. The potato in­dus­try is reel­ing from the loss of an es­ti­mated 7,000 acres of spuds left in the ground.

Nova Sco­tia Pre­mier Stephen Mc­neil’s big­gest con­cern cen­tres on the fu­ture of the pulp mill in Aber­crom­bie, which is pit­ting fish­er­men and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists against forestry work­ers. There is in­tense pres­sure against a com­pany plan to dump waste wa­ter into the Northum­ber­land Strait, putting the mill’s fu­ture at risk. But ex­ports are up and Miche­lin is ex­pand­ing. A ma­jor call cen­tre in Sydney is set to re-open – a most wel­come Christ­mas gift for Cape Bre­ton.

Over­all, At­lantic Cana­di­ans can con­fi­dently raise a glass and bid a gen­er­ally fond farewell to 2018.

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