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Poor old New Glasgow…

June 5, 2015

Poor old New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, took a hard one-two Muhammad Ali combo off the chin yesterday.

I’d like to say that the punches staggered New Glasgow to its knees, but with one of the highest alcoholic rates in the entire country, it would be hard to tell if it did or not.

I know that sounds catty, and entirely politically incorrect, but some times dark humor is all we got down here in Nova Scotia.

Here’s what happened: On CBC Radio (as I was getting ready for work) – I discovered that the new chief engineer brought in to oversee the 600 men hired to do the environmental upgrade of the pulp and paper mill (a highly educated black man of Tunisian descent) – I listened while he explained how he could not get a place to rent in the entire town – and was told that he needed “proof of welfare” before some landlords would rent him a space.

When, at a townhall meeting, he accused New Glasgow of being the “Mississippi of the North”, and that the major was racist, he was fired from his job the very next day.

~~~~~

Imagine my lack of surprise when I get to work and read in an unrelated story in the Halifax Chronicle that New Glasgow just ranked last – or, to put it more bluntly – was surveyed to be the worst place in Canada to live. (First Nations Reservations not included)

Of 205 cities in Canada ranked, according to a host of social/political/economic indicators, New Glasgow was dead last.

Not surprisingly, that other racist, bigoted, homophobic, alcoholic city just down the road from New Glasgow called Truro came in second last.

In fact, almost a dozen Nova Scotia places ranked in the list of “The 20 Worst Places to Live in Canada”.

Another stellar accomplishment Nova Scotia!

I suppose this is no coincidence, but we already rank last (or first – however you want to look at it) in a multitude of other social indicators of health and well being: we smoke the most, drink the most, eat the worst, walk the least, have the highest crime rates, are the fattest, have the most poverty, domestic violence, and sexual assaults, highest STI rates per capita, highest gaps between the rich nd the poor… pick any social indicator of health and well-being and you will find that Nova Scotia is either dead last or second last – and always in the bottom three (with New Brunswick and PEI).

But such national recognition will do little to change the attitudes here – and especially so in New Glasgow.

Halifax progressives simply shrugged their shoulders yesterday when they heard the news and replied, “tell us something we don’t know”.

~~~~~

Those who are truly committed to this province, especially that group of young up-and-comers who have big economic dreams for this province – news like this frustrates them tremendously – for they know the huge economic implications of Nova Scotia clinging to its old, racist, nepotistic, backwards ways.

So they leave.

The talent is leaving this province at the moment – like the water off a duck’s back.

Why waste their time?

If you knew how many times the under-30 crowd of hard-working-I-want-to-make-my-mark-on-the-world types here have said “I can’t wait for that generation to just die off” you’d be amazed.

The first time I heard it said, I thought the person was joking. More dark Nova Scotia humor I thought to myself. But then I heard it more and more.

I finally realized that I was the only one pretending to laugh.

~~~~~

But, by the vitriolic comments I have been reading since, from “true Nova Scotians”, those who are fighting to save “traditional Maritime ways”, the rest of the country can stick the survey results right up your arse!

Liberal cock-sucking wanks!

Why don’t ya go fuck yourselves. And take your new immigrants with you.

 ~~~~~

For those of you interested in authentic social justice activism, these are the places where the real work begins. It doesn’t start in some faux discussion of moral outrage while sipping organic lattés at some hipster café off Spadina Street in downtown Toronto.

If you really want to move the conservative agenda in Canada, you have to go out into the world beyond downtown Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. (Or the Halifax North-end.)

Get out into the Maritimes – where there is now only one abortion clinic left for three provinces – where gay leaders are stabbed and killed – where women are beaten at the highest rates in the country – where the treatment of black people will make you think you are back living in the American South.

(I’ve been to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia – and all those places. There is still much worse there, in some places – but when a Black man calls New Glasgow “the Mississippi of the North” we all knew what the man meant. When it comes to racism here, everyday for the black man is the same everyday described by James Baldwin in 1958.)

Go out into rural Ontario, where people fear the overflow of immigrants coming out of Toronto; brown and black and yellow people in search of small town business opportunities.

Go out to the hunting shacks, where, in private company, men still use words like “coon” and “chink” and “Paki”.

Go to the prairies or the BC interior, where, as I have been told by many Maritimers who have gone there to work, “those sort of things are almost as bad there as here, but not quite”. 

~~~~~

I think these kinds of surveys are designed as much to make us liberals feel smug about ourselves, as they do to reveal the very real social problems some communities face in Canada.

And a smug liberal is almost as bad as a racist bastard.

As long as Liberals and NDP Progressives continue to be smug-bastards who split the political vote – splitting it over nothing more than egos and power – and the longer liberals continue to not go out and do the real hard community-roots work required, in communities that make you feel “uncomfortable”, the longer the Conservatives will continue to come up the middle of that split vote and win national majorities with only 37% of the vote.

Every single time.

The vast majority of us want a liberal-progressive national government – pro-environment, pro-infrastructure, pro-economic growth – yet all we get are quasi-liberal smug-bastard sap-heads who bicker over minute differences of opinion…

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