Meet the Mayor
October 3, 2013
Today’s news out of our friendly southern neighbour serves to remind us again that we are not alone in the world. In fact, we’re very much a part of the world and the world economy.
When we think world economy we like to imagine trains loaded with the products of soil and mountain chugging to ports opening on the world. We smile when a sleek Super B-train loaded with Canfor- or West Frazer-wrapped lumber smoothly rolls out of town. The lumber, the coal, the gas in the pipes, the cattle that were only yesterday dreamily munching the grass on a thousand hills represent the economy of the community on its way to markets around the world. These products are our community’s livelihood. They butter our bread and put the steaks on our grills; they buy our jeans and put gas in our tanks. A little bit of everything that goes out of our valley pays someone’s tuition or fare to Cancun.
So, what has this morning’s news out of our friendly neighbour to the south to do with the lumber and the coal and the gas moving almost unnoticed out of Chetwynd? More than we’d like. The US is still the big boy of the world economy. When a senator belches in Washington we soon feel the wind in Chetwynd. And the senators have belched. They have thrown discretion to the moles and the bats; they’ve played chicken with their own ship of state and, for the time being, they’re on the reefs with the rest of the world struggling to stay in afloat.
With the stroke of a pen, actually by failing to stroke with the pen, the US has shut down its own federal government and put two million people out of work. What’s two million out of 330 million? Many. And when they are the people who keep the wheels of government turning, the effect is felt around the globe – and right here to Chetwynd.
I’m not saying that our home town is going to shut down and dry up just because a bunch of unruly senators refuse to act beyond their own political advantage. So don’t pull down the blinds and turn off the furnace just yet. We are going to keep making lumber, digging coal, pumping gas, and chasing cows. It is the way we do things. When the going gets tough we put our shoulders to the wheel in united efforts to keep our homes together and the lights on.
But we are in a world economy and when sales of made in China decline in the USA, China will sense a need to cut back just a little on the purchase of energy for its factories. When two million people lose their jobs, even temporarily, a few houses may not be built and a few trucks may not role out of town.
And then again, the senators might come to their senses before we feel the wind.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor