Yesterday I wrote an email to our Island MLAs. I’m not sure what the U.S. equivalent would be but they would be they are our provincial (i.e. State) officials working with the Premier (ie. Governor) to administrate life on the Island. Late last week there was a news conference that included our Premier that made front page news. The news was about a local hog (yeah, as in piggy, piggy) plant that… Hmmm. This is where it breaks down. Turns out that I heard the government say one thing, which also happens to be what the newspaper and CBC (radio/tv) also heard them say but the government MLA who called me back yesterday insisted they did not say. Oddly enough they had to issue another statement later that day or the next day saying they didn’t really say what everyone thought they said.
The short version is that a week before Christmas the government decides to publicly announce that an Island run business is “bankrupt” (it wasn’t) and going into receivership where the Auditor General would have a good look at the books and see where all the money’s gone.
So here’s the ramification. The plant, if it had business, is now watching all of its business run away from what the government has just clearly called a “sinking ship”. The families who run the plant are now painted with a brush of scandal that once painted here on PEI can never get washed off, even with full page ads of exoneration. The families who count on the plant for their weekly paycheque are now a week before Christmas wondering if they need to take the Christmas presents back so they can buy groceries next week instead.
Here’s where I got involved. I sent these emails to our MLAs asking them, in fairly strong language, to give this another look and to step up and help out. I think I used the word ‘reprehensible’ to describe their behaviour and approach to dealing with the issue. A government MLA, and a brother in the Kingdom, gave me a call. He disagreed with me as much as it is possible to disagree, but he was very nice about it. It was like a Baptist and Pentecostal talking about tongues, we read the same thing but arrived at entirely different conclusions. Then again, it was probably a nicer conversation than a Baptist talking over tongues with a Pentecostal would have.
In the end he couldn’t see what I was saying and I sure couldn’t come around to seeing that what was done and how it was done was just or right by any stretch of my imagination.
My friends are farmers. And I’ve been watching my friends in the Potato, Beef, and Hog Industry get the short of end of the proverbial stick ever since we moved to the Island. My dad grew up on a farm and farm life and livelihood are important to me. I’m constantly stunned to find myself living in a world where the man and woman who produce the food I eat earn less every year than the professional hockey, basketball and baseball player. Don’t even get me started on what actors and actresses make in Hollywood for playing dressup compared to what our teachers, doctors and nurses get paid.
So when I heard the news on Friday, then again on Saturday, talked to some friends on Saturday and then on Sunday, I decided it was time to get political. Well, not so much political as it was time to speak up and voice my opinion about how people treat people around here. Then again, I suppose that is political in that I’m citizen of a Kingdom that makes how we treat each other, how we speak to each other, how we care for one another, pretty critical to life. I really think that Jesus didn’t come so much to teach me about a life after death but to set me free and change my essential nature so that I could really start living right here and right now. Part of that is sticking up for your friends when someone pokes them in the eye with a stick, proverbial or otherwise.