BY OLE HAMMARLUND
Although I had visited Niagara Falls as a tourist in 1966, I consider my first arrival in Canada the winter of 1965-1966 when I arrived by plane late evening to the Charlottetown airport.
I came to work on the Ark project at Spry point and travelling with me was Andy Wells, the Secretary to the Premier and an avid promoter of the Ark project.
This was probably why I found the Premier of P.E.I. Alex Campbell waiting in the lobby when we arrived. Alex is of course famous for his easy and direct rapport with everyone, but I did not know that, and I was astonished to find myself invited for a ride to my destination in the Premier’s chauffeur driven limousine waiting outside, along with another hitchhiker standing nearby.
While Alex was exceptional, I have found P.E.I. an incredibly friendly place on all levels. Our Island is just the right size for having vibrant cities and towns, yet beautiful countryside and spectacular beaches are just minutes away.
Being small we are fortunate to have an accessible and responsive government. While I at times may disagree with government decisions made, government as a whole is competent and above all approachable.
Any Islander has the opportunity to rub shoulders with any of their elected officials. P.E.I. is one of those lucky places where bodyguards are not needed.
Canada as a nation is equally commendable. I arrived at the time of Pierre Trudeau who I much-admired and in the world of nations Canada clearly stands out as generally doing the right thing at home as well as internationally.
So thank you Canada and P.E.I. for making it all possible. I am content to have now lived more than 50 per cent of my life here and finally became a Canadian citizen of few years ago. Coming from Denmark, I am hardly a refuge myself, but I in particular like the welcoming immigration policy of Canada, and even better how well integrated our society is.
Does this mean that Canada and P.E.I. are perfect? Of course not! We have to make the good things better, like improving our democracy by adopting proportional representation and protect our awe inspiring environment from further degradation, but let’s leave that for tomorrow.
This is a great place. Thank you all, especially the indigenous people who came here first.
- Ole Hammarlund was born in Denmark, lived in the Boston area for 10 years and has been working on P.E.I. since 1975.