Wicked Ideas
Water Street in St. John's, NL. Photo by Bojan Fürst.

Every New Brunswicker needs to read this. It will move you.

My friend Bojan Fürst read the post about the New Brunswick government’s public consultation on migration and was moved to finally write about his family’s time in Bathurst and Saint John. It is quite simply the most powerful piece of writing I have read about New Brunswick in a very long time.

It begins with this: “I am about to write something I promised myself I will never write.”

Read Bojan’s full story on his blog – bojanfurst.com

Please share it and then, let’s start an honest conversation about life in New Brunswick.

Lisa Hrabluk

Writer. Social Thinker. Founder, Wicked Ideas. Find me hanging out where culture, people and ideas collide. wickedideas.ca


  • I lived in Saint John for almost a year, and I live in Fredericton for about 11 years now. There are days when I wish to move away from here and find myself complaining about the fact that immigrants have harder times here…My recent visit to my home country made me really count my blessings. When my family and I came back after three week vocation in East Europe, I realized how people here are so much more friendly and nice.When I go for a walk, I know I will meet people who say ‘hello’ and smile at me (a phenomenon of North America). When I go grocery shopping, I will be met with a greeting and politeness… I feel safe and protected here as a citizen, as a human being, and as a woman…When you are away and start missing these things, you realize that you are in a good place…

  • My boyfriend is Korean and he has lived here in Fredericton for a year. He faces this same judgement and isolation. Like the author of this blog, there have been a couple of fabulous people to have shown him real friendship, but the majority of interactions range from insincere to racist. Recently my friend and mentor Mrs. Yang left Fredericton. After a year and a half she and her husband had no friends here. The collective attitude toward immigrants is shameful. How do we become better? How do we begin to change it?

  • It’s a challenge, isn’t it Shannon? I think it is very difficult to break into Maritime communities and I think part of it is a product of its stagnant population growth for well over a century. There just isn’t a culture here of making friendships as you move through life. Here in the Maritimes people make friends in grade school and, because people don’t move around a lot within each province, people who stay in the city of their birth tend to remain friends with the same group of friends they had as kids. That makes it difficult for new people to make friends – there quite literally isn’t any room at the party for us. I have been here 16 years now and those first few we really didn’t meet any locals. It’s as simple as joining a group or part-time sport activity. Back home it’s easy to find pick-up games of hockey, soccer, baseball etc because many of them are centred around the workplace. Ditto book clubs, Thursday night at the pub or other social activities. That’s not as common here (in my experience). My answer was to create the events myself, but that’s me.
    I find I am repeating the search now that I have a school-aged kid. There is no obvious place to find out what activities are available in the Saint John region for kids – you have to ask around and tap into your informal networks. Geez, that’s a lot of work and a newcomer wouldn’t even know where to start. That lack of information contributes to the feeling of isolation because it makes it very difficult to find people who share your interests.

August 2018
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