To survive and thrive

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Employment Insurance.

Two words that can send blood pressure skyrocketing. Like the changes or loath them, there’s no question a lot of people in this part of the world are faced with a change to their financial futures. We’ll have a chance to voice our views or speak our minds on the radio, at the coffee shop, in letters to our political leaders. But with a majority in Parliament, the changes to EI are a done deal.

So, where does that leave us? Well, we’d like to float two more words as inspiration: self-sufficiency.

This isn’t about right or wrong, or whether this person deserves EI or that person. It’s about facing a tough reality and moving forward constructively.

One choice would be pulling up stakes and leaving. Inevitably, that will be the decision some make. And we wish them all the best in their futures out West or wherever fortune takes them.

But for those who choose to stay, action must be taken.

For many of us, our ancestors arrived in sailing ships after long, dangerous journeys. Setting foot on shore was no guarantee of safety. On the contrary, pioneers were handed tools and seed and given an allotment of uncleared land: “Make your way in this world,” they were told.

We know, we know, it isn’t the 18th century. Listen, it’s easy to oversimplify solutions. But it’s also easy to get discouraged and overcomplicate them, too.

Why can’t we plant gardens to take the sting out of grocery bills? Why can’t we barter skills, goods and resources with our neighbours? Why can’t we set up co-ops? Why can’t we commit to buying local and only local?

New census data released this week indicates Nova Scotia has the demographically oldest population of all the provinces. This represents a further challenge. What can someone who’s worked the same trade for 30 years do now that EI is being cut?

The same thing we all have to do. Adapt. Learn new ways of surviving and thriving.

Guaranteed it won’t be easy. On the contrary, it may be very hard. But what choice do we have?

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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