First, some heartfelt gratitude.
You know you have a special job when people stop you in the mall parking lot, leave phone messages, and send texts and emails, saying they miss your work, hoping everything is OK and wondering when you'll be back. It's even more gratifying when your boss is getting the same queries.
So thank you to everyone who's reached out, telling me how their day isn't quite the same unless they've read my editorial. Sometimes I think you're an idiot and sometimes I think you're absolutely right on but you always make me think, one person told me. Even praise that involves being an idiot is both gratifying and humbling.
So here's the story.
I am not sick nor riddled with disease (that I know of).
I have not been censored by my Glacier Media corporate masters (who have never challenged me on any of my opinions, I must stress), nor has the City of Prince George threatened to pull its advertising unless I start giving city council and senior administration a break. A few people asked me about one or all three of those scenarios and they are all are completely false.
A longtime editor and a valuable member of The Citizen's newsroom team left the newspaper early this month to take on a great opportunity. Another valuable writer and editor has been away the last several weeks and expects to be away for a little while longer yet, coping with a nagging illness.
As a result, I've had to take on many of their responsibilities over the past few weeks, which has left me with little to no time to write a daily editorial.
I apologize for that.
Fortunately, I'm blessed with both a supportive publisher in Colleen Sparrow, an experienced director of advertising in Shawn Cornell, a competent, engaged group of colleagues and, best of all, a driven news team that has stepped up to meet the challenge of publishing a solid daily newspaper, a fun and interesting weekly newspaper and a trustworthy, on-the-ball website, despite being short-staffed.
My absence in this space is certainly not from lack of things to write about.
From Donald Trump and the Mueller report to Justin Trudeau's issues with Jody Wilson-Raybould, there seem to be no shortage of national leaders who love the rule of law when it applies to their political opponents but resent the light shining on them and their transgressions.
Provincially, the flip-flop belly-flop give the dog a bone of John Horgan and the NDP on the LNG file has been as politically cynical as the last budget of Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals before their minority government fell. "Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss," The Who sang in Won't Get Fooled Again. Ain't that the truth.
In Prince George, city council is deluding itself if it thinks a handful of determined, organized and mad as hell residents can't get 5,600 signatures by the end of May to force their $32 million borrowing plan for various infrastructure maintenance projects to a referendum. People will sign for a whole bunch of reasons - from snow removal, multimillion dollar cost overruns on a small bridge across a creek and tax hikes to wages and overtime for senior managers - but they will sign, simply to send the blunt message that this group, freshly elected last October, needs to do better.
And that's just the politics.
The horrific massacre at a New Zealand mosque is the latest in a continuing surge of global violence from white power radicals against Muslims, racial minorities, the LBGTQ community and anyone else who dares question their hatred.
The continued rollout (pun intended) of legal cannabis, resource development project, First Nations reconciliation and the legal aid fiasco are all worthy of further analysis.
Editorials are also a nice place to pay tribute and show appreciation to some amazing residents. I regret not giving Armand Denicola and his family the full respect he deserved at his passing. Jack Grinhaus and his equally talented spouse Lauren Brotman are leaving Theatre Northwest. While this offers Prince George's professional theatre company the opportunity to bring in some new talent, the departure of Grinhaus and Brotman will be a loss. We should all be grateful for their contributions to the city's artistic life.
I hope to be back writing regularly on all of those topics and many more on a daily basis in the near future.
Once again, thanks again for making me feel wanted.
Even when I'm the village idiot.
-- Editor-in-chief Neil Godbout