Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?

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Dear Nigel:

It’s been some time since last we chatted, and it occurs to me that I never did thank you for your gift of last Christmas, which was both timely and deeply appreciated. As we are both men of a certain social standing and responsibility, we understand how the pressures of high office can occasionally undermine our material means. It is grand to know that one can count on one’s friends when circumstances prevail overly on one’s pocket book. Great Aunt Mabel’s sudden demise (the unfortunate result of one too many rum toddies during Hogmanay) was a devastating blow to all of us. Your generous offer to cover the costs of her interment was a great relief. Again, we thank you!

On another matter entirely, you’ll be pleased to know that the renovations to our summer residence in Castle, New Brunswick, are proceeding nicely. The wife, Minnie, and I are enormously proud of the 1,500 square feet of new, outdoor living space, which replaces the old baby barn and outhouse. We can’t decide what we like most about it: the uniflame, gas firebowl with teak surrounds or the Buddha-themed, granite water feature. Minnie simply can’t tear herself away from the Rattan sofa chair.(It’s mildew-resistant, don’t you know). In any case, thanks to your thoughtful munificence, we’ve managed to steer clear of the bank. What a relief! Arguing loan terms can be such a bore.

Oh, before I forget, I should mention that our girl Tabitha is having a marvelous time on her European grand tour, visiting all of the Old World capitals. Meanwhile, young Chad is learning how to parasail (his fondest dream) during his sojourn at the reef islands of Vanuatu. Needless to say, they are most grateful for their “Uncle” Nigel’s support and they send their love.

Now, down to business. . .I may have mentioned to you my desire to write a book. For years, I have been deeply concerned about the state of the Maritime economy and the increasing gulf between the haves and the have-nots. When I travel around this region – the times I manage to extricate myself from my heavy workload in Ottawa – I am shocked by the lack of opportunity here. Recently, somebody (I can’t remember who) told me that the population is aging and that more and more people are actually leaving to get work elsewhere. Did you know that?

Well, that’s certainly a wake-up call and I think something should be done about it. Specifically, I think I should do something about it. After all, I am a member of this great country’s upper chamber. What’s more, I am a journalist by training and a story teller by temperament. (I once gave a speech, scheduled for half-an-hour, that ran on for 75 minutes; by the end, the audience could not recommend me too highly).

Nigel, here’s what I’m proposing. . .I will roll up my sleeves and get down to the nitty gritty of what makes this region tick. Why do some people seem to have it all and why do some. . .well, don’t? Why is there so much unfairness out there? Who’s to blame? What’s the solution?

I’ve considered throwing my support behind Maritime Union, but for the life of me I can’t figure out where the capital city should go. So, maybe that’s a non-starter. At the very least, however, I can leverage the not unappreciable respect my station in life affords me to get the urgent conversation going. I even have a working title: “A Tough Love Letter from Fat City.” Catchy – don’t you think?

At any rate, such a project will take time and, of course, money – about $90,000, in fact. And that, dear friend, brings me to you. I know you won’t let me down. After all, men like us. . .well, we’ve got to stick together.

Your enduring chum,

Senator Alejandro Brucellosis, Esq.

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