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ANDREW WADDEN: Let’s be positive and productive

SaltWire Network file photo
SaltWire Network file photo

There is no shortage of news these days. Like many, my inbox, newsfeeds, and even personal conversations are chalk-full of a litany of events happening here in our community, our province and even around the world.

The impacts of COVID-19 of course, remain front and centre — the recent re-opening of schools and the measures that were implemented with it, have provided endless commentary.

Likewise, the announcement made recently by Husky Energy to review the West White Rose project lit-up the air waves and social media with banter and criticism.

There is no shortage of opinions, or content and rants to lose yourself in. It’s no secret what oil and gas means to our province.

We can hold the federal government’s feet to the fire by asking questions and proposing solutions. Pointing an enraged finger will not help.

This all has me thinking about unity and cohesion, and community building.

Recently, I spoke to someone who received some difficult personal news. Their outlook was optimistic. After the conversation, I was struck by the dose of perspective this person had, and in truth, that was imparted on me. Our conversation wasn’t rooted in negativity or gloom. It was positive, hopeful, and focused.

After that conversation it struck me — we could all use some perspective. We could all benefit from some positivity, or at the very least, less negativity. I truly believe that most of us want what’s best for our province — if you choose to live in Newfoundland and Labrador, I believe that you want to see it thrive. And many of us are trying to make that happen — we’re trying to grow and prosper so that we can build our community and our home.

But I cannot help but ask; if that is true, if we want a prosperous and flourishing N.L., why are so many so quick to criticize? Why are we so quick to anger and judge?

When the City of St. John’s announced that the Water Street pedestrian mall pilot project would close on the originally announced end date, some were outraged. Some took to social media to share their frustration and criticized the city — they even went so far as to make blanket statements about “our” inability to get things right or make good decisions.

I don’t believe this is true. I don’t believe that we don’t or can’t get things right. I believe that many are trying and most want to build a better province so that we can continue to thrive and create opportunity.

I also believe that we can benefit from perspective and pausing to think about the full objective picture before we decide to criticize — constant negativity and condemnation might kill collaboration and might also extinguish some needed spirit.

Offering a critique of important policy or decisions is imperative. However, this alone is not what we require and the tone with which it is done is relevant.

Businesses, governments, and their agencies are making the decisions they believe are best. For those that are critical, offer such criticism in a collaborative manner and at the same time offer improvements. Fighting back and forth in the various forms of media with no real suggestions for improvement will not help the situation we are in. We must work together, with all stakeholders being open to some level of compromise. And, we must do so promptly.

The St. John’s Board of Trade frequently engages with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (and all levels of government) to forward an agenda and policies that assist its members. We do so for the benefit of the economy of St. John’s and the province. We will continue to do so, in the most positive manner possible. We’re all in this together.

Andrew Wadden is the 2020 Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade, and a partner with Wadden Peddigrew Hogan Law. He has also taught Business Law at MUN’s Faculty of Business.


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