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Happily Ever After

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By Rick Brouwer of SNCIRE

In recent months, the people of the Northwest have been described as the ‘belles of the resource development ball’ - essentially small town girls being wooed by well-spoken corporate diegos. Let’s carry that idea forward in the context of the fairytale Cinderella, but a more modern version with a few twists.

In this tale, everyone’s invited to the ball; in fact, we have no choice and must attend. At the ball, there’s more than one Prince Charming and they aren’t just looking for a ‘one and only’. Here one Charming may partner with more than one Cinderella, and one Cinderella may partner with more than one Charming. And when they do hook up, the Charmings move into the Cinderellas’ home, a shared accommodation i.e. Northwest BC. 

This is where it gets interesting. Lots of Cinderellas and lots of Charmings, some in relationships, some not, all living under one roof. Like any living situation, there’s bound to be disagreements, some minor and some major. We’re all different, and in some cases, polar opposites. Some of us are neat; others messy. Some like to be social; others are more shy. We hear each other snore at night! But because we’re family now, we can’t just walk away from our problems with each other. We have to confront them, together, in a civilized manner with long-term results.

So, understanding that many Cinderellas and Charmings may all end up living together under the same roof (Northwest BC), let’s go back to the beginning of the story and figure out if there’s something we could do before the ball (now), to make moving in together easier on all of us.

As I see it, there are two possible scenarios.

In the first scenario, as each Cinderella heads off to the ball, they only have their own desires in mind. Maybe they bring home one Prince. Maybe they bring home a few. Maybe they bring home none at all. And once everyone’s living in the same house, everyone does their best not to blow up at each other.

In the second scenario, before they go to the ball, the Cinderellas get together and agree on what they want the house (our region) to look like. They set ground rules for new roommates and guests, decide what colour they want the walls, whether everyone will follow certain diets, bathroom schedules, if or when to update the wiring, buy new appliances, add new rooms, etc. You get the picture. They talk about pet peeves and preferences, to avoid blow ups in the future. And before they go to the ball, the Cinderellas agree on the type of Charmings they can all accept as part of the family. Then they each head to the ball with these criteria in hand.

This scenario prevents conflicts before everyone moves in together, and sets ground rules for any conflicts that do come up. As a bonus, when the Charmings move in, they’ll be more prepared. They’ll understand the type of people they are living with and the expectations that come with it. And as new family members, the Princes will be welcome. Their opinions will be valued and considered in household discussions and decisions. Isn’t that a pretty 21st century way of living together?

Now, I don’t know if a complete fairy tale ending is really possible, but at least in the second scenario Northwest BC’s Cinderellas (the belles of the natural resource ball/ local residents and communities) could write the story together. And the Prince Charmings (the corporate diegos /development proponents) would have some idea what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in these parts. And perhaps, just perhaps, Northwest BC will become the place where ‘they all lived happily ever after.’

Isn’t that a Cinderella story you’d like to tell your kids?