Islanders, you are lucky to have The Guardian.
I know, I know, I’m biased. But, as I type this, my final piece for this newspaper, I can’t help but reflect on how this newspaper has taught me so much about the rich and nuanced aspects of life in Prince Edward Island.
All the good, the bad, sad and tragic, happy and celebratory, important and functional, fun and entertaining things you need to know about this community on any given day are tucked into the pages of The Guardian. And I truly feel that overall, this paper reflects the true nature of life in this province. And that’s a commodity I hope Islanders will continue to cherish.
When I started working here, I was young and green and new to journalism. As I began to delve into the wonderful world of P.E.I. politics, I quickly realized the ties that bind people in P.E.I. together are tight and deeply intertwined. I also learned that many of these connections have more to do with how and why political and policy decisions are made than it may appear on the surface. This can sometimes lead to problems. But, it also leads to opportunities – areas of collaboration and bridges that can be built that could never be possible in large centres filled with an inattentive public and deeply partisan politics.
This close-knit connection among Islanders also means the events that happen here can have a profound effect on the whole community. When a young woman dies suddenly in a car accident, you can almost feel the shockwave of grief radiate across the Island. When an Islander achieves something great, like an Olympic gold medal, the whole province basks in a collective glow of pride. When someone organizes a fundraiser for a sick friend or a suffering family, Islanders charge like a stampede of generosity to their aid.
Islanders are the biggest cheerleaders for local artists and athletes. They are so keenly interested in new businesses or developments, you can almost hear the strains of the song “Did you hear? Did you hear?” from “Anne of Green Gables-The Musical” playing in the background. And when a politician or a public figure does something unsavoury, there is a palpable sense of disapproval in the air of every coffee shop.
All of these things make Prince Edward Island the province that we love. And all of this is reflected in the pages of The Guardian every day. Each section of the paper depicts the connections among Islanders in far more meaningful ways than other publications or news organizations – and not just in the articles. The advertisements, the classifieds, the birth announcements, the death notices. They all tell the story of this community, this province.
And that’s why it has been such an honour and privilege for me to be part of this paper. It has allowed me the opportunity to be welcomed into homes, and sit at people’s kitchen tables. It has given me the ability to ask Islanders to relay their most touching and sometimes painful experiences in order to share their stories with the world. And it has given me the responsibility of holding our government, our policy makers and political leaders to account – even when they didn’t like it, even when it was challenging, even when they pushed back.
It has given me a deep understanding of the values that Islanders cherish and the lives and histories of the people who make this province what it is.
My colleagues have helped me and guided me and inspired me all along the way. They will continue to tell your stories, and reflect your communities. And I will continue to read their important work. I hope you will, too.
Because The Guardian really does cover Prince Edward Island like the dew. And that truly is something to cherish.
Teresa Wright was The Guardian’s chief political reporter. She has accepted a job with The Canadian Press in Ottawa. Her last day at the paper was Friday.