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January 14, 2007


Peter Rukavina

Thank you for this, Robert -- good to have someone taking notes as all this is happening!

I do take exception to the blanket statement that "Islanders hate change." I think it's more accurate to say that Islanders hate having change imposed upon them by others.

I think this extends from two roots.

The first is the history of absentee landlords that you've outlined; there's nothing as debilitating as not having control over your own land, and that sense of not wanting others in control of ones destiny is passed from generation to generation and is a strong component of the Island psyche.

The second is that there is a deep feeling among Islanders that this is a special place, different from anywhere else on earth. While this is partly true and partly a fable, it leads to an subtle undercurrent of xenophobia, a feeling that, in essence "we've got a good thing going here and we don't strange people from away to screw it up."

At its best this xenophobia means that change is greeted with healthy skepticism; at its worst it results in a cruel rejection of anyone or anything different.

But Islanders are not, I think, averse to change.

Islanders built an extensive railway network (a network the financial obligations of which later led to the need to a Canadian bailout and a late entry to Confederation).

Both the radio and the telephone were quickly adopted on PEI at a pace equal to or greater than elsewhere in North America.

Islanders were early to the Internet, and have adopted it vigorously and broadly.

So I don't think it's really a question of how "a profoundly conservative society get so positively excited about becoming independent" but rather a logical continuation of the tendency to want to retain (or regain) control over resources -- a tendency that you go on to explain the roots of clearly.

Robert Paterson

Excellent points Peter - Who like to have change imposed?

This is why this blogging format is so helpful - new visitors can see how the piece improves by how we all converse about it

Keep at me when I go too far
Best wishes Rob


Inspiring story, Rob. Although I've been following your thoughts on the topic over the years, I didn't realize there was this much momentum built up already for wind power on the island. Fantastic!

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