In my last radio interview, I was asked if I was worried that people were wondering why the Hat Lady had her knickers in a knot regarding home-based businesses. Those weren’t the actual words, but that was the gist of the question. Yesterday, after reading a letter to the editor in Lighthouse Now, it dawned on me that my anger has nothing to do with costly renovations, fire doors, commercial taxes or the future of our economy.
This letter, from a man named Christopher Ball, broke my heart. I posted it on Facebook and it has been shared over eighty times. Apparently it broke a lot of hearts. Christopher is one of the many people in the film industry that will likely need to uproot his family and leave Nova Scotia to find work elsewhere due to the gutting of the film tax credit. He eloquently explained how much they have contributed to the economy of this province since moving here over seventeen years ago. But that wasn’t what affected me. What really got to me is that our children go to the same school, we have many mutual friends, I know he and his wife throw great parties and I have swam in their beautiful lake. They are a part of our small community, here on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. They are a family. Like my family, they love this province, they have invested their lives into Nova Scotia and they want to stay. But they can’t. As a result of a bad governmental decision, the film work has run dry and they need to move. Their children will lose their friends. They will lose the community they love and our community will be a little bit poorer without them. This is about real people.
Prohibitively expensive renovations and commercial property taxes for crafts people working from home, and cutting film tax credits are just rules. But behind the application of these rules are real people. Government policies affect human beings who have hopes and dreams and families and community.
I rant and rail and continue to scream bloody murder about the misapplication of rules for home-based businesses because this has caused real people to leave our communities and more real people will continue to be forced to leave our communities and real people want to join our communities and unless we fix this most simple of problems we are not a welcoming place. And I don’t actually give a damn if we are or are not a welcoming place to do business because I don’t actually give a damn about business or tax credits or property taxes. Those things don’t breathe. But I do give a damn about people.
This past year I met some politicians from different political parties. At my kitchen table, I was able to see that these politicians are also people, people that love their families and are part of our communities. At my kitchen table, I could see that they cared. But back in the world of politics everything becomes…political. I talked about this with Jamie Baillie a little bit. I mentioned how frustrating it was to see politicians unwilling to take a stand and he said, Funny, I always thought one went into politics precisely because they wanted to take a stand. That stayed with me.
So, I’m waiting. I’m waiting for a politician that remembers why they became a politician. I’m waiting for a politician who decides they really don’t give a damn about politics, but they do really care about people. I’m waiting for one of the good guys to say, enough is enough. We can fix this. This is not about the economy, money, business or the protection of power. This is about people.
You can read Christopher's letter HERE.
(Thanks to Beatrice Schuler for the great photo, taken at one of Christopher’s and Kristie’s legendary parties.)