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LETTER: A love letter to Newfoundland

Newfoundland Flag - Stock
A letter-writer feels like some people in her home province have turned their backs to her family with their lack of support for the offshore oil industry. — 123RF Stock photo

Dear Newfoundland,

I have loved you for so long. You are my home. I wanted you to be my daughter’s home.

I have travelled the world. My eyes have beheld the most beautiful of places; natural and man-made wonders. But none quite so wondrous as you. None that held me in quite the way you do with your rugged coastline, turquoise waters, the simple joys of home.

¬And now, you are breaking my heart.

When everyone left you for oil sands and skyscrapers and places filled with bigger and better opportunities, I refused. I wanted my daughter to grow up surrounded by the simpler things in life; surrounded by simpler people who loved and cared for each other. So, we stayed. We made the decision that my husband would instead travel for work. We sacrificed so we could stay.

So maybe you can understand the heartbreak I feel right now. Now that you have all turned your back on us.

And travel he did. For years we saw him five days out of every month. He spent more time in school, became dual ticketed; course after course, working so hard to better our lives. When he finally landed the ultimate position, in Newfoundland’s lucrative offshore, we were ecstatic. Finally, a work-life balance with a great income, right here at home.

And still we sacrificed. So much time away from each other; so much of what we were working hard for going out in taxes (almost $70,000 each year). But we were home. And we were happy in the knowledge that we were supporting the social systems that we both so emphatically believe make Canada, make Newfoundland, the best place to live on this planet. And we were home.

So maybe you can understand the heartbreak I feel right now. Now that you have all turned your back on us. Now that you’ve decided that you no longer support Canadian oil (though you will happily and indifferently carry on supporting foreign oil), you don’t care about us. Reading down through the comments on news articles discussing the flailing industry, I am reading things like, “Who cares... We don’t need your dirty money… Boo-hoo, they can’t afford their big houses and toys… Let them starve…”

Let them starve. Let my family starve.

My family, which has sacrificed so much and worked so hard to get ourselves into a position where we can provide our daughter with a good quality of life. My family who, clearly unbeknownst to most, have been paying almost half of what we earn in taxes that support this province’s extreme spending and vast social programs. Now that my family isn’t the hand that feeds you anymore, we can starve.

So maybe, Newfoundland, maybe you can’t be my home anymore. I don’t know what will happen to you when all of the hard-working families like mine leave and you don’t benefit from those millions of dollars in taxes anymore. But maybe I shouldn’t care about you either.

Cheri Holloway
Clarenville

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