In recent statements Scott Brison, the senior Federal Cabinet Minister from the Maritimes, is suggesting that the phrase “*Come From Away” should be banned from the lexicon of the Region. Now that appellation has been applied since the earliest days of the Colonies to anyone who was not born there – wherever “there” may be in the four Atlantic provinces. And in some places it’s been known to apply to anyone who’s parents or even grandparents were not born within the boundaries of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island. According to Mr Brison this indication that someone may not be originally from the Region has a pejorative ring to it that makes people feel unwelcome – particularly business people and immigrants. Now since we are officially “Come From Aways” in our new home in the Maritimes I have a few thoughts about both the phrase and its use.
First I will admit that no one has called us CFAs that I know off but if they do there is honestly no way we can deny it. We are “from away” – perhaps not from as far away as some of the recent arrivals to the Island but none the less from some place other than PEI; and we have “come” to the Island to live. So it would seem a fairly accurate – if not the only – description of who we are.
Personally I don’t find it pejorative nor does it make me feel unwelcome. In fact that last word has never entered my mind when I think of our move here. From our first visit a year ago August to our move this past May we have never been made more welcome anywhere – and we have lived in many places. And I’m not just talking about friends that we have here – I’m talking about the people at the Provincial Health office, the staff at Driver Registration, people we spoke to in shops, people we have met at gatherings, and people on the street who nod and say “hello”. All have been welcoming and helpful in making us feel at home.
Now should any one use the term in the fashion Mr. Brison’s suggests – and I can’t really see it but you never know – I do have a a reply: Yes we’ve “come from away” but we’ve chosen to stay. That says a lot to me about the hospitality and welcoming nature of our new home and its people.
On this day in 1930: Judge Joseph Force Crater steps into a taxi in New York and disappears never to be seen again.