Commentary by Richard Froese
Birds will start to sing with glee as winter turns into spring on March 20. Lets all join in the chorus with brighter days ahead. Days are getting longer after we turned our clocks to spring ahead one hour to return to daylight saving time last Sunday. Look on the bright and positive side. Alberta and some parts of Canada may be in the deepest economic hole in about 30 years, but we’re still among the richest people in the world.
Go to a third-world country and you will soon realize that you’ve got it way better here in northern Alberta. Many people have lost their jobs, some still on the hunt for the next one. That creates a good opportunity for people with more abundance to share their wealth with those with less. Some people may not afford to put enough food on the table for themselves or their families. Support those people and extend a hand to give funds or food items to the local food bank. Last week, the food banks in High Prairie and Slave Lake got a big boost from a corporate company, now it’s residents’ turn to help out.
Perhaps, reduce your own food consumption and give out of sacrifice while you also experience the shortage they feel. You could also do the neighbourly thing and invite the family, single or couple next door for a meal or two, or more. That way, you may also get to know your neighbours more or more neighbors, a trademark of small rural communities. Buy or give away clothing and other necessities. The best way to help the economy is to support your local families, businesses and organizations.
One sure way to kill a community, your community, is to take your money out of town, not just during an economic downturn, but always, whether it be Slave Lake, High Prairie, Falher or McLennan. Why do people think that prices and selection are always better somewhere else than at home? People from High Prairie go to Slave Lake, people from the Smoky River region shop in Peace River, Peace River people travel to Grande Prairie, and the so-called leakage continues. When you’re paying higher prices at home, just think how much more you’re investing in local business and your community.
Remember, when more people support local businesses, it helps keep their doors, open, and attracts more business to help municipalities control taxes on residential properties. For those people who say things are cheaper in another town, I suggest they move there. But then again, they’ll probably have something to complain about in that community and never be satisfied with anything, especially with all the good things they have, than most people in the world can only dream about. I read a book Choose to Live Life written by Saskatchewan author Anita Pearce, who spoke in High Prairie one year ago. She puts the issue into perspective, that we are blessed where we are, backed by statements she received on email.
“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 per cent of the world. If you have money in your bank, in your wallet and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top eight per cent of the world’s wealthy.”
Even as the federal and provincial governments face tight budgets, funding support may be reduced for social relief. That’s why it’s vital for citizens to reach out and help to make our communities, province and country a better place for everyone.