Happy New Brunswick Day 2012!

I feel very fortunate to live in a beautiful province. From our mighty rivers teeming with salmon to our ocean vistas, from our old growth forests to our smart, sustainable cities, New Brunswick is a special place with kind and creative people, and loads of potential.

But as much as I love New Brunswick, as much as I am a proud New Brunswicker, there is one sour note about this day, and it lurks in the background of any discussion about New Brunswick: our political climate, which stifles our potential. Our economy, as every one knows, is in shambles. And it doesn’t seem to be getting better. The Margaret Ann Blaney appointment has all but disappeared from public scrutiny, the anti-shale gas resistance has seemingly petered out. And the government keeps doing things the same old way, without innovation, without long-term vision. We have some very bright and innovative people and ideas here. People and ideas that should guarantee bright prospects. These true innovators need a government that is seriously interested more info

in progress.

So here’s my passionate plea as a New Brunswicker, one who has had to move away to work but fought tirelessly for the first opportunity to return: hold your politicians to account. Demand more from them. Do not fall for easy slogans like #nbfirst (no apologies to Mike Murphy), slogans that are basically meaningless. Judge them on their track record, not on what they promise. As a poet and someone who spends a lot of time studying language, I can tell you that language is easily manipulated. (I recommend reading George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language.”) So forget about who your father or grandfather voted for. Here’s my suggestion: Stop listening to what politicians say. Judge them on what they do. Hold their feet over the fire. Maybe the tables will turn and they will listen to you. Which is what they were voted into office for in the first place.

If that sounds radical, then paint me radical. But it seems pretty simplistic to me. Forget about transitions: the time for change is now!