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Steady Eddy

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The headlines were blaring bad news of the economy earlier this week when I was visiting my home province of Ontario.

Stories of unemployment rising, factories closing, bankruptcies soaring, welfare ranks swelling -- doom and gloom everywhere I looked.

My hometown paper, the Brantford Expositor, reported: Economy grounds Eagle; a 50-year-old mainstay company had shut its doors leaving 64 workers jobless and without severance.

It became very personal when I got together with friends who have lost their jobs, the 14th and 15th in the last six months. Most of them newspaper people -- excellent journalists -- they are looking into retraining mainly because they can’t think of what else to do. All doors seem to be closed to them.

The whole scenario made me think about my reporting days in the early 90s when I covered that recession in Ontario. Then I made myself stop reading the front page of my own paper as I found myself braced to make dire decisions about my life.

"Stop spending (a sure-fire way to turn any recession into a full-scale depression), don’t take a chance on a new, exciting job, find somewhere cheaper to live," I found myself thinking.

Not that frugality is a bad thing. But fear was driving me to consider those decisions. Living in fear is no way to live. I feel for my Ontario friends and the fear they live with right now.

But I was so glad to get back on that plane and come home to Manitoba. "Steady Eddy," this province was called earlier this year in a news story about our island of good news in a sea of bad economic times.

Whenever we come across one of those stories, someone in the newsroom trills, "We are bucking the trend," and maybe we all laugh a little too hard.

But Manitoba’s showing every sign that the recession will get here late, depart early and not leave much of a mark -- really, be the perfect guest. I’m glad to be hanging out with Steady Eddy.

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