New Brunswick’s issues are united

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Word comes down that the residents of Fredericton consider jobs, infrastructure and education as the top three priorities in this slow-motion federal election. All of which raises the inevitable question: Well, duh?

If Monctonians were asked, what would they say? Would their priorities be eating, breathing and sleeping? Would citizens of Miramichi wonder about moose fences, camp bylaws and the funny, little things in the middle of the provincial highway that keep you on the straight and narrow at midnight?

Nope. Likely, they would all say what matters most to them are jobs, infrastructure and education for the obvious reason that without an education you can’t obtain a job and without infrastructure you surely can’t get to one.

Pretty simple, no?

So, why do we make these matters so complicated?

Our provincial governments are determined to divide our province – all 750,000 of us – into “regions” of interests.

There is the north, where life begins and ends on the riparian reaches and harbours of hope nestled against the Gulf.

There is the south, where a great river runs to ensure that tourists enjoy their reversing falls.

There is the east, where a harvest moon beckons to California surfers, looking for a long-board experience on the mighty Petticodiac.

There is the west, where the zip-line of the Grand Falls meets the Maine forests of Paul Bunyan and his Great Blue Ox.

Altogether, and through it all, we crave one thing: clarity from our political leaders, and, more importantly, a sense of unity. That’s what we’ve been missing. That’s what we desperately need. And we’re not getting it.

For years, and more, New Brunswick’s Grits and Tories have been playing a game of musical chairs. Neither party has actually addressed the fundamental issues that commonly affect the people who do all the heavy lifting in this province. Rather, the main political gangs have preferred to castigate each other, ruin each other in the eyes of those who hold the keys to their respective castles: members of the public.

The results have been predictable.

In this province, we now endure an utterly unworkable government – one in which the bureaucracy holds no trust in anyone, and, for that reason alone, cannot be trusted; one the people who elected it are broadly certain they made a terrible mistake one year ago, four years ago, a generation ago.

We have come to the devil’s crossroads, people. The status quo simply won’t do anymore, if it ever did. We either sell our souls to the bond-masters of Wall Street, or we dig our way out by getting involved in the dirty, filthy political process of real change.

Either we remain sheep or we become wolves. Either we remain dopes or we become thinkers. Either we remain dreamers or we become doers.

So, then, if word comes down that the residents of Fredericton consider jobs, infrastructure and education as the top three priorities in this slow-motion federal election, consider the obvious:

It’s the same for all of us in this pretty province; it’s the same for everyone in this frightened region; it’s the same across a nation now terrified of its own shadow, now convinced of its own pernicious character.

We don’t need a political propaganda campaign to tell us what we’ve known in our bones for decades: We have seen the enemy, and we are it.

We have elected these fools. The time, now, is for taking back what we gave away, and to redeem the purchase of our democracy – one job, one student, one good road at a time.

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