The recent treatment of Talia Epstein’s experiences in traditional and social media should be an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what both Prince Edward County and Canada mean to us.
The editorial depicting Talia’s experience at school reflects the all-to-familiar narratives of those who have been tormented or persecuted simply for being different. The fact that it can also happen here suggests that it may be time for some self-reflection about what makes us great and what we need to collectively improve upon. The people of Prince Edward County should mirror – as they typically do – what is true and admirable about Canada.
I understand that long-time County residents, like most Canadians, are proud of their heritage. However, we must realize that the County, within the context of an ever-changing world, is also changing. The increasing seasonal influx of visitors and the growing number of people choosing to call the County home have already impacted the social landscape and will continue to do so. Perhaps we should consider how the County can benefit from this growth.
The overwhelming majority of people coming to or living in Prince Edward County, whether they be male or female, young or old, urban or rural, neighbours or strangers, long-time residents or newcomers, help contribute to the rich, social capital that makes it – and Canada – the envy of the world.
Moving forward, we should ask ourselves what there is to gain in perpetuating an “us-versus-them” attitude in any aspect of our lives and guide the next generation in building a stronger and safer community by building on the benefits of being a diverse population.