May I say that there is much to celebrate here in Queens County as the last of the leaves turn colour and drop off the trees?
White Point Beach Lodge had its official opening yesterday. When news came that the main lodge was on fire a year ago, there was a great sense of sadness that something so full of history and such a centre for life in this county was being destroyed. It speaks to the business sense and commitment of owner Bob Risley that the lodge is back, better than ever, and we are grateful for his optimism.
Those with Facebook accounts have been able to watch the new lodge go up before our very eyes, with an intimate and playful account of its construction, virtually day by day. Construction is not yet finished, but enough has been done that the lodge was able to serve as the host lodge for Nova Scotia Music Week, and the newly-renovated cabins were full for the festival.
Part of the success of White Point may be dependent on the re-establishment of the ferry link between Nova Scotia and the United States, and there is reason for hope. The abandonment of that part of our essential transportation network by what was then a neophyte government cost the NDP a lot of support in southwestern Nova Scotia, but current efforts by the government to restore the service with a more sensible ferry should bring people back into the fold.
Nova Scotia Music Week has come and gone, hosted in grand fashion by the people of Queens at the new White Point, in the new Queens Place Emera Centre, at the new Best Western Hotel and the venerable Astor Theatre and Lanes Privateer Inn. Lanes, a favoured destination, is marking its fiftieth year of being in business and the Astor has been around since 1901, and is still a superb venue. At Queens Place the ice surface was transformed into a concert hall, showcasing both the potential and the flexibility of the centre.
Deadlines for this newspaper make it difficult to say much more about Nova Scotia Music Week. The lineup of musicians was stellar; where else could one see and hear the likes of Matt Andersen, the Barra MacNeils, Old Man Luedecke and close to a hundred other musicians all at one time, in one community?
We can celebrate the construction going on in Queens County, with a new middle school becoming a reality and a building program at the hospital. A thriving, vibrant community is making its way out of the gloom caused by the closing of Bowater.
It is good to be able to congratulate the Burseys on the return of Dixie Lee to Liverpool, after two decades. Andrew is opening what will be the only Dixie Lee franchise in Nova Scotia, though there are many in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The chain was begun in Ontario in the 1960s and has since spread; there are a pair of branches in Guyana where the chicken coating is made spicier to suit the tastes of the people there (being fond of spicy food, I would like to try that).
It is fast food, but tasty fast food, and once in a while everybody needs chicken and chips, or fish and chips, to satisfy those North American cravings. A story in this newspaper described the lengths to which the Liverpool restaurant has gone to provide the kind of cole slaw remembered by people from years gone by, and I will be anxious to try it. For those reluctant to eat fried food, the restaurant will offer a healthy chicken wrap and salads.
We can celebrate the fact that a new microbrewery is coming to Queens County, with the announcement by Hell Bay Brewing Company, in Cherry Hill, that they have chosen Liverpool as the site for their expansion. Hell Bay produces beers like Hell Bay Nut Brown Ale, Harvest Ale, Rooibus Honey Wheat and Vanilla Stout. In order to be called a microbrewery the brewery cannot produce more than 1,500,000 litres of beer each year, which gives it room to grow, though if wildly successful (some of us promise to do our part) it could grow into an even larger operation. You can try their beer at Lanes.
Finally I want to celebrate the outcome of last week's US election, which may signal the beginning of the end of political extremism in Canada. There are a lot of similarities between what the Republicans believe in and what the Harper Conservatives believe in, the big difference being that Harper is a shrewder politician than Mitt Romney. Harper knows exactly where he wants to take Canada and is heading resolutely in that direction, while the case against Romney is that he would say whatever he thought would gain him power.
Like the US right, Harper believes in less government, one of the reasons why he is decimating parts of the public service and underfunding our national parks system. The right believes that knowledge is an obstacle to their accomplishing their agenda, and Harper is cutting back scientists wherever they are funded by government, because they can raise a red flag to unregulated development. The recent removal of most of our lakes and rivers from environmental protection shows that the Conservatives are correct in assuming that if you destroy the opposition to something, you can do what you want.
Republicans and Conservatives alike believe that the most important role for government is to make certain that conditions are favourable for business development. The more moderate position, one that I take, is that business development is absolutely crucial to our well-being, but it must not be at the expense of values that Canadians believe to be important.
There are many other parallels. What was hopeful about the US election is that the ideas of the Republican right have been rejected. Obama received a stronger mandate in terms of states and electoral college votes than did Bush, Clinton, Nixon or Kennedy. His share of the popular vote was narrow but his win was sound. If it can be done in the US, it can be done here.