Right in the centre - A matter of struggles and perspective


Ken Waddell
Neepawa Banner & Press

Everybody thinks they have a struggle in life and to a certain extent they do. But putting one’s own personal struggle in perspective is something we should all learn to do. An average Canadian may be annoyed with the weather or local taxes or health care delays. Everyone in Canada is a bit afraid of what the United Sates will do next or more specifically what President Trump will say next. All the negative things that come at us every day are indeed an annoyance or a setback. The problem is that at any given time, few of us have real problems compared to others around us.

Bereavement, that is the death of a loved one, is a real problem. It’s devastating. Terminal illness is no trifling matter. Real poverty is a matter of real concern. Aside from these types of real problems that some people are bearing at any given time, most of us have a lot more to be thankful for than we have to be sad about.

So aside from the “real” problems that we all have to bear at one time or another, most of us have little to complain about.

A scan of the news will show us Canadians that we should be somewhat upset with our federal government. The federal Liberals are certainly floundering right now. They still can’t get their payroll system to work properly and they have no courage when it comes to trade or resource development. The provincial Conservatives are fighting to right a financial ship that was about to tip over. But those problems can be overcome and will likely be solved.

What Canadians must not do is wallow in complaining so much that they convince themselves their problems can only be solved by government. That is the mud hole that Venezuela went into by turning an oil exporting nation into a socialist welfare state. Things are so bad in Venezuela right now that reports of starvation and high infant mortality are becoming common. I read this morning that severe weight loss and starvation are becoming common, that pet stock animals are being devoured. The country tetters on the brink of revolution.

Let Canadians take warning, the government is there to maintain an environment in which people can thrive. Governments cannot, must not, be the be-all-and-end-all in terms of the economy. We have little to complain about in Canada and we need to keep it that way. Quit complaining and do something constructive, if not for someone else, then for yourself. Self-improvement for relatively healthy people is almost always within our grasp.

My staff might think I am always complaining about something, but let it be said here and now that I (and we as a company) could not do all the things we do if it were not for the fact we have good staff. Compared to many other newspapers, we have a large staff. Many papers operate with a very small staff, but I made a conscious decision years ago that we would try to maintain as many staff as we can, so that both the Rivers Banner and the Neepawa Banner and Press would stay as healthy as possible. I could have retired years ago and could have reached those retirement years with a lot more money than I have today if we had run with only a tiny staff and a minimal product, with minimal print runs and distribution. Today, the Neepawa Banner and Press is the largest newspaper in rural western Manitoba. West of Portage to the Saskatchewan border and from the U.S border to as far north as you want to go, the Neepawa Banner and Press is the largest rural paper. And the Rivers Banner is by no means the smallest either, being larger than many rural weeklies. The Rivers Banner depends on the Neepawa operation somewhat for staff input for editorial content, administration and distribution.

The simple message for a country, a business or an individual is, if you are relatively healthy, check your perspective and go do something constructive.