Opinion

EDITORIAL: The beholder's eye

Vancouver Islanders might be rightfully accused of being a bit too smug.

We talk about our region's beauty and weather like no one else in the country enjoys nice summers. We can be smug about the fact we don't really need to carry an ice scraper in our vehicles, and our snow shovels can collect dust for years in the garage.

A drive to Edmonton and back can reveal much about the beauty of the rest of the province and Alberta, and it helps to lessen the smugness.

The mountains have their own majestic charm, something which most of us Islanders are familiar. Beyond that, in the foothills and prairies of the rest of Alberta, is a beauty and bustle we should not be so quick to dismiss.

Large fields of golden canola are beside other crops, and in the middle of these vast spaces one will often notice the bobbing of pumpjacks, pulling that black gold out of the ground.

Never far away is a lake, filled with boats towing laughing children on tubes or water skis and lined with cabins — Albertans know how to spend their money and have fun in a relatively short summer.

You can hardly swing a stick without hitting a golf course, and we're not talking old-guy executive tracks — these courses will test the best of players.

While the weather is good and there's no shortage of recreational opportunities, it is the spirit of the people that might be Alberta's most inviting trait. Take the City of Fort Saskatchewan, just outside Edmonton, for example. Roughly 15 years ago it was a town of about 12,000 people. It now boasts more than 22,000 (roughly the same size as the combined population of Parksville and Qualicum Beach).

No longer do the people of The Fort have to travel to Edmonton to shop. For anything. With the growth has come services and shopping that allow the community to keep dollars at home. New community centres, pool, museums, theatres — it is a happening and seemingly happy place.

There is not much talk of unemployment or what the government needs to do for the people. They are independent and believe in hard work. There isn't a hint of entitlement, and it's refreshing.

We would never trade places — we enjoy and respect our little part of the world too much for that. But perhaps we should have more respect for the beauty, people and the spirit of our neighbours.

— Editorial by John Harding

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