Editorial: Thanks, man

Trent Ernst, Editor


It seems like just yesterday we were out camping by the lake, enjoying the last weekend of summer, and now, suddenly, the leaves have changed and it’s already mid-October.

Mid-October means Thanksgiving, and, for those of you not on shift work, it’s time for another long weekend.

I say “another” like we’ve got too many. We don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the extra day or two here and there where I can relax and recuperate and spend a bit more time with the family.

Thanksgiving has always been a hard holiday for me to really appreciate. Check that. I loved thanksgiving growing up. All the pumpkin pie you can eat? Sign me up.

But when I met my (then to-be, now of the last two decades) wife, I discovered her family had a tradition of, well, actually giving thanks on Thanksgiving. Sure, there was the turkey and gravy and stuffing and potatoes, but before the pie was doled out, there was a few minutes where everyone sat around saying what they were thankful for.

It’s a grand tradition, but I grew up an introvert, and not very good at expressing my feelings, so this bizarre practice was foreign to me, like eating insects.

The first time, I sat there like a deer caught in the headlights, unsure of what to do, unable to express my heart of hearts.

It’s been more than 20 years since my first thanksgiving with the in-laws, and I still am terrible at expressing my feelings, making me come off as an ungracious lout.

At ten years old, being introverted and shy comes across as cute. At 40, it just comes across as antisocial or even misanthropic.

I’m not, I’m just not very good in person. Much better in print. So, since Thanksgiving is this weekend, I figured now would be an appropriate time to say thanks to all the public servants here in Tumbler Ridge.

Most people get into working in the public sector not because of the giant paycheques but because they want to do some good. Then they wind up being lambasted, insulted, accosted and mistreated. Sometimes with good reason, often times because we, the public they serve, think we could do their job better than they can, despite the fact that we don’t have the foggiest idea what we’re talking about, generally.

This includes our elected officials, too. It’s amazing how people go from fine, upstanding members of the community to money grubbing politicians simply because they decide to run for political office.

Considering that a town councillor makes less than $900 a month and the mayor makes just over $2000, accusations of being in it for the money are downright laughable.

Far easier to get a job driving a truck at one of the coal mines, where you make a councillor’s wage in a couple of days.

There, at least, you only have to deal with the boss yelling at you, instead of having random people come up to you on the street and berate your performance.

When you do a cost/benefit analysis, putting on one side all the insults and ill-will thrown at council’s direction on one side, and the paltry amount we pay them on the other, it hardly seems worth it.

Over the last 12 months, there’s been three councillors who have resigned. Two of them, shockingly, resigned to take on a job with the District.

Sometimes, when I listen to people talk about council, or read the complaints on Facebook, I’m surprised that anyone decides to stay on council. That they suffer this because, in their hearts they want to do some good for the town they live in is something that we all should be thankful for.