Part 4 - Laurel Taylor
Necessary context for those new to this whole thing:
Earlier this year, PrincessofTheInternet.com published a 5-part series in response to the Globe and Mail Article: Canada’s Incredible Shrinking Region . Need a refresher? (This is the part where you click on the link without me telling you to CLICK HERE because telling someone to CLICK HERE is old fashioned.)
Since we published the first round of dispatches, a lot has changed including our national leadership, international strife, war, terrorism and the general terribleness of Donald Trump. Seemed like a good time for some hope.
Okay, that's enough background, now it's time for Laurel.
Marketing and communications
Current home province
What brought you here/made you stay?
I came for school and found a job shortly after graduation. I’ve lived further away and like being closer to family and the ocean. I met my husband, got married and had a baby - we never saw a reason to leave. We just bought a house in a nice school district and lived through some renovations. I think we’re here for the long haul.
The national political landscape has shifted since the original article and PrincessoftheInternet.com’s response. Have you noticed any change in the attitudes of people in the Maritimes since the federal election or any changes on a business front?
I think people are optimistic or cautiously optimistic. They are saying, “show me”. The We Chose Now: A Playbook for Nova Scotians encourages bold thinking, trying things differently and taking risks. I feel like now is a great time to be ambitious, bold and daring, but we all need to make changes, rather than wait for government.
Right now, sometimes it seems like we think of ourselves as separate from other parts of Canada. Do you agree? (Why or why not) and if you agree, how can the Maritimes be part of a larger national and global narrative?
We act like we are separate from the rest of Canada and separate from each other. This has got to stop; together our provinces have the same population as Manitoba and Saskatchewan! With the current political landscape, for the first time Atlantic Canada has an opportunity to work together to have lasting impact. That being said, we’re small enough to make dramatic changes in education, immigration and population health.
Sometimes Maritimers have been known to use phrases like “come from away”. How can the entire region be more welcoming and supportive of newcomers, new businesses and new ways of doing things?
The recent outpouring of generosity by Nova Scotians has been overwhelming. Whether it was the holiday season or people really wanted to ensure a smooth transition for refugees arriving in our provinces, the response has been heart-warming. That being said, there was a point in 2015, when I was saddened and embarrassed by initial reactions. You did not need to read far into the comments section to see racisms, bigotry, zenophobia and misdirected fear. I was moved by a Globe and Mail Article titled, Private sponsors builds a nation - and leave a legacy, “All nations have their moments of regret and shame, but we never regret moments of compassion.”
We have an opportunity, as one of the richest nations in the world to aid suffering. There are three things I think people can do:
Let’s be less skeptical - I might be naive, but I trust decision makers to do the right thing when it comes to international aid. I believe we can help Syrian refugees (or any refugees, for that matter) and still protect our national security. The two are not mutually exclusive. What I do know is, we can’t sit on the sidelines because we’re scared. UPDATE: Canada rose to the occasion and I am so proud! Nice segue to my second point.
Let’s be less fearful - What is everyone so scared of? The world’s best cultures like New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Toronto and Vancouver are amazing because they are diverse and interesting. You do not get great food, beautiful art, moving music, healthy conversations or different perspectives when everyone has the same background. We can learn from a lot from people new to the province and they can learn from us too.
Let’s be more compassionate - If you find the first two challenging, it might be better to focus on the third, it is arguably the most important. Try to increase your compassion. Start small and then think more broadly. Volunteer at a shelter, give your time to a community board, donate money if you have it or support a friend going through a challenging time. In 2016, if we all think about other people more than ourselves, maybe we’ll be more welcoming.
What are some of the ways you / your family / your business are trying to support growth and change in the region?
We chose to stay here despite a lot of our friends living in other parts of the world. Our family is here and we know it’s better for us to be close to family, but it’s not always easy. Some of the small things we do to support growth in our community:
Shop local whenever we can and support small business owners like:
- Inkwell Boutique,
- Aerobics First,
- Trail Shop,
- Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters,
- Just Us Coffee,
- Woozles Books,
- Wildflower Clothing,
- Peak Audio
...just to name a few!
We are engaged and active in our community - whether it’s volunteering, staying positive or always working hard.
And this last one might seem out of place, but we stay healthy and make healthy choices a priority. Being healthy and feeling good contributes to a happy life. Whether it’s hitting the gym or taking a break for your mental health, more people staying healthy leads to a healthy, happy community.
There are a lot of regional, national and international stories currently that could make us despair. What makes you hopeful about what’s to come in 2016?
I hope we see more acts of compassion and generosity. And if you can’t support good ideas, progress or someone brave enough to take a risk, then get out of the way.
- Part 1 - The Incredible Shrinking Region Awakens
- Part 2 - Love, Business and the Incredible Shrinking Region
- Part 3 - Meet My Incredible Rising Hope