Waterton the exciting town where nothing ever happens.
I envy the reporters of large publications who get leads on News as it happens and report a story to inform people of real events that are interesting and affecting their lives. Here I am trying to report on a little town high in the mountains where people come to relax and be away from the stress of the fast-moving world. A teen worker in a pizzeria opens the paper saying, let's see what's new in Waterton. I know that not much ever is.
I visited a few businesses and asked whoever was willing to talk if there is anything new in town. The response was almost funny since people looked surprised at the idea that anything could happen in their paradise Peace Park. I asked a US Customs officer on the dock if we have a problem with people trying to sneak through the border either way, and he laughed at the idea. Not here he said, a person would have to walk a lot of miles in the wilderness if they came this way. Quiet, peaceful and beautiful is this environment, and the only complaint voiced by some younger folks is that its boring but they love it. Big City people don’t apply for jobs here.
I tried to find out who is running the show, who may know what is new and exciting. Nobody knows. We have a Superintendent someone said, but I don’t know who it is. Just tourists are coming in from all over the world, admiring the beauty, taking pictures and going home to show them to others.
An RCMP officer came to the restaurant and waited patiently for his turn. I am on official duty he said so I got closer, not to miss a possible story. Yes, he had one. A tourist from Texas or somewhere, lost his cell phone, and the world famous police force is trying to find it for him. I am crestfallen. No story here obviously. The RCMP here are using their dress uniforms and diplomatic skills more than in other locations, and potential criminals may talk with them on a friendly basis, but there are no criminals here.
On the hill, by the Prince of Wales hotel, I got into a conversation with a tourist from a southern state who was taking pictures of the tour boat down below. He had an interest in the Canadian Health Care system. His brother lives in Red Deer Alberta. Do you know he said, how lucky you are? I guess we are I said, and he went on. We have many millions of people without health care, he told me, they can’t afford it. Yet, overall the US spends twice as much on Health Care per capita than Canada. I knew that but didn’t think that they did. I pointed out that we may have longer waits for treatments, but he didn’t buy it. If you are wealthy, he said, you don’t wait, but most people do. His sister in law here in Alberta had a heart attack recently, and she was rushed in and got the best treatment instantly. You are lucky he insisted. You don’t know what you got until you lose it. I am not offering my opinion, but he sure had one. We are here in a Peace Park, and it is the right space for discovering each other’s similarities and differences.
The boat full of tourists finished making a circle of foam on the peaceful lake below us, and new people took a position to take pictures. A bus brought another load of tourists to see how we in Canada live and admire the natural beauty. Now they turned to look the other way, where a mother bear was leading a pair of cubs, and our parks people were cordoning off an area to give the Bruins space.
I packed my camera and notebook thinking. A newspaper here is not useful for telling news since there are none. What the people here need is a forum for discussing ideas. These people live in what most people would consider to be heavenly conditions and they have contact with others from all over our continent and beyond. They can enjoy a local paper, but only if some of them would write in it and express their ideas. You wish to discuss some point of view? Have a story to share? Perhaps you want your writing to be published… Here is your opportunity.
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