I have spent the last couple of weeks travelling around the city talking to people from all walks of life, young, old, employed, under employed, unemployed and retired. Almost everybody here is worried about the economy. Currently a lot of our young people and quite a few older have been forced to travel to work because of the lack of opportunity here at present. It is hard on the families left behind and it is harming our society and way of life. People are so focused on trying to get by that the things that make us who we are, that give us our pride as Miramichi’ers, are getting neglected. Volunteering and community spirit are eroding because it is hard to focus on the betterment of others when you are trying to keep a roof over your head and only get home sporadically and have to worry about home repairs, and trying to spend time with your family. People are exhausted and weary. We see the affect of this in cancellations of events such as the pond hockey tournament and the Rock and Roll festival, this hurts all of us. We have been here before…remember the 80’s? The mines closed, the mills were up and down and jobs were very scarce, things were not good here. Personally, I was working in isolation in Newfoundland, then in Saint John and Dalhousie, what ever I could do to support my family. My wife with two university degrees was making pizza at a friend’s business (thanks Ginette) and damn glad to have a pay check. Things eventually got better and we both got good jobs, but it taught us to be careful with money and made us realize how quick fortunes can change. Well it’s the 80’s all over again. We as a community have to work together for our future, we have to look at the long term and not rely so heavily on natural resources as we have in the past. We have to act, not react and plan for the long term.