By Trish Keeping
Only days ago, I had a conversation with a young business man, who told me he is afraid for the life he sees ahead for his child. When I asked him what he meant by that, he went on to tell me what he fears and what he plans to do about it. He has done alright for himself financially, and works hard to provide for his family. He stays as far away from politics as he can, because what goes on in politics, is the root of the fear he feels for his child. He believes that our government is purposely dumbing down our children, which I found quite interesting, since I had a woman of 82 years tell me that exact thing a week ago. The fact that our politicians have gathered some of the wealthiest people to help make decisions that affect us all, is most frightening. He said “let’s be real, these wealthy people along with the politicians here, are only in it for themselves. I thought I was a Liberal, but we are not living with Liberal policies any more. It is every man for himself attitudes, that have us going in a terrible direction”. He was of the understanding that being a Liberal meant you don’t hoard the wealth, you make sure others have opportunity to get ahead. (Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality). He didn’t see that happening here. His fear is not only for his child, but for all children. If you are a parent, no doubt you understand his fear.
We had an hour-long chat, about many things, including my run for the NDP in the past election. He wondered why I would put myself in that arena, knowing what is happening in government these days. He doesn’t see any government changing or doing what is right for the people, because they are no longer in touch with regular hardworking people. All they care about, is themselves and their friends. Most people he knows feel this way also. I had to admit, that seems to be the consensus among most people. How did we end up here, with governments making bad decisions, not looking after the very things we need to look after our people? When I told him, I believe it is possible to achieve better with the right people in government, he told me, “every elected official thinks they can make a difference until they get caught up in the horde that is government”. So, I asked him, what are you going to do to protect your child and makes sure he has the future you want for him? “I am going to continue to work hard, and make sure my child will never have to rely on anyone to live the life he deserves to live”. And, he is on target with his goals.
We are living in tumultuous times here in Nova Scotia. The same is happening elsewhere in the world. Don’t kid yourself, we are not immune from hatred and bigotry, racism and bullying. We see it daily. From those in a position of power, trickling down to citizens on our streets. Social media is full of it. You can’t log on, without seeing the spewing, of all of it combined. Frustration is turning into rage, and rage into hatred, even among our own people, in this small province. Our government has an opportunity to change all of this, but they do not have the will, because they are too busy isolating themselves from it all. They continue to beat down and hold back our people, through their lack of will and ability, to fix what is broken here, and listen to the right people that can help them.
Our Health Care System is in crises in Nova Scotia. Doctors are speaking out, but is our government listening? People who have family members who are sick or dying, are at a loss as to what can be done to help them. We see it. I see it. If you have a family member who is unable to get the right care, it matters. I know, I am walking in these shoes. If you don’t have a doctor, it matters. I know, I don’t have a doctor. If you are a senior and can’t afford your medicines, it matters. I know, I see it. If you have mental illness and need care, it matters. I know, I am doing all I can to help a family member, and friends who are suffering from inadequate services. If you are part of the system that is failing you, you know. We all need to speak out and speak up, because it must change.
Our Education System is broken. Our children and grandchildren are suffering because of it. If you are a parent or grandparent that wants the best for your child or grandchild, speak out and speak up, because it must change. Not just for their future, but for your future. If we continue on the path we are on, the children in this province will not get the education they need to support themselves. Are you ready and able to support them for the rest of their lives? If they can’t pay taxes to help keep pensions from drying up, can you survive? Will they?
Our environment is being attacked daily by things our government is allowing to happen in this province. Polluting our water ways, our air and the killing of trees, and most likely our wildlife, by the spraying of glyphosate. (Glyphosate has been linked to tumors in mice and rats — World Health Organization announced that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans, and there is also what the IARC classifies as ‘mechanistic evidence’, such as DNA damage to human cells from exposure to glyphosate). Clear cutting our forests and driving our wildlife into neighborhoods everywhere. There is plenty of evidence being circulated to inform us. We should be very concerned for the future of our environment, our wildlife, and our people, who are getting ill from pollution in their communities.
Are you concerned about food security? People who provide our food sure are. Doesn’t that give us a hint that we could be in trouble down the road? We already have plenty of people in this province who cannot afford to buy healthy food and way too many children are going to school hungry every day, they are at school. What is happening to these children during summer vacations? Do we care? We need to speak up and speak out about poverty in this province, because it is not getting better, it is getting worse.
When you have some of the wealthiest people in this province speaking out against the very people that have made them so, that keep them wealthy and living in their ivory towers. That cozy up to the government of the day and have a say in the way our government runs this province. That begrudge our workers a fair paycheck, while they drink their cognac and enjoy luxuries we can only dream of. That because of us supporting their businesses, have reached the point in their wealth, where they will never worry about their children’s future or their own retirement. That can afford to go elsewhere for health care if need be. When we decide that inequality of any kind, is not what we want to see in this province, but hard work will be rewarded and take us where we want to be, we need to start standing up and speaking out against a government who is holding its people back and beating them down. And as I have heard from many now, dumbing them down.
How much more do we need to endure before we stand together and face these problems? Why are we not in this together? What is the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Keep asking yourself these questions, because whether you believe they need to be answered or not, the silent majority in Nova Scotia, is the same as it is anywhere else in the world. It is a matter of time before they feel empowered, and take a stand.
Hardworking people and the poor among us, have real life problems. These can’t be solved by pie-in-the-sky, fluffy stories that we see coming out of our government propaganda machine. Boom or bust, is not just up to a few, it is up to us all. We all have the right to live our best lives, no matter what our station in life. We all have a right to a good education. We all have a right to health care. We all have a right to work hard and get ahead. We all have a right to clean air and water. We all have a right to live in communities without hate, bigotry and racism. We all have a right to stand up for what we believe.
I believe, we have a wonderful province in spite of the issues we face, but we need to work together to fix what is broken and support those who are willing to try, by speaking up, and standing with them.
I choose speaking up and standing with them. What choice will you make?
(Photo credits – Stephen Kimber, CBC.ca, NSAdvocate.ca, signalhfx.ca)