Edwina Nearhood: Time to untangle the stranglehold on our nation


Reflecting on NPSS graduation ceremonies, all I can say is WOW. Fort St. John, you have talent! 

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From the mic dropping moment of Elysia Cruz, who gave it her all leaving the stage in tears and real emotion after a passionate rendition of Rise Up, to the tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships, to our leaders speeches sending the grads off, to the decorations, grad fest, parents supporting these kids, families travelling from near and far. We are blessed with community. Congratulations and well done!

There was another talented woman who came to Fort St. John last week presenting her self-made documentary called A Stranded Nation at the Lido Theatre. 

Canadian filmmaker, producer, and director Heidi McKillop has created a documentary about our national interests, a competitive oil and gas sector, and the benefits it provides to all Canadians.

 “The environment is arguably the most debated topic of modern Canadian politics. The use of hydrocarbons has become a central political discourse within Canada. The decision to build a national pipeline to meet international demand has left Canadians divided and uncertain,” its synopsis reads.

This fresh insight tells another side of the drivers behind the petroleum industry. It also highlights the impact of the digital age on public perception. The social media engine is strong and has so much control over public perception. It is important to be informed and understand the impact of the global digital nation we live in. Globalization has changed our world. Are we giving away our natural resource wealth? 

Once again, the local economy is on a roller coaster of a ride. One hundred and ninety direct jobs lost with the closing of Louisiana Pacific Peace Valley OSB. The indirect jobs is estimated impact of more than 680 people. This has huge cumulative impact. 

We are in the shadow of a federal election, which stalls any economic growth moving forward. We have provinces fighting over pipeline access and the forest industry heavily impacted. Mismanagement of our natural resources does not support stable economic growth. 

Take a step back. Take some time. Become involved. Understand. Ask your leaders to be accountable and take this voice to the national leaders. As we sit in a community fueled by global markets, we are the leaders. We have an opportunity to connect with a change maker and support the voice of our future. A Stranded Nation is the upcoming documentary of the decade that will ignite change. Ask yourself if your digital world and social media has compressed your world into an algorithm that controls what we see and how we see it. 

View with an open mind. Listen to the public discussion fueled by the documentary. Stand up and be heard. Our community has experienced economic hardship fueled by global impacts of our local resources. Our community is, as we speak, in real time preparing to lose a significant number of local resource-based jobs in the forestry industry. Our petroleum is exported at cheap prices. Petroleum value-added marketing does not occur in our community, our province, or our country. At the same time, we import vast amounts. Canada creates less than 2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, yet we are world leaders in innovation and change. That innovation and change is an opportunity to market as global leaders. 

Edwina Nearhood is a lifelong resident of Fort St. John. Her 30-year experience in the appraisal industry offers a unique lens on the challenges associated with the economic forces impacting real estate and the community.

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