Edmundston — New Brunswick’s border towns have always benefited from the business given to them by their American counterparts. However, a weakened economy on both sides of the border — along with security restrictions still in place since 9/11 — has many of these towns finding it harder and harder to draw in those crucial tourist dollars.
Jonathan Peterson, a small-business owner from Edmundston, believes he has a solution that will provide a much needed boost to border-town economies.
“Part of the problem, as I see it,” the 56-year-old told The Manatee, “is that we’re not in sync enough with the buying habits of the people across the border. So there’s an untapped market there and I think my plan will help Edmundston and some other places take advantage of it.”
Peterson’s plan is simple. He is bringing a proposal to Edmundston town council that, if approved, would change the town’s official Thanksgiving celebrations from the 2nd Monday in October to the 4th Thursday in November, as is customary in the United States.
“Basically, we’re wasting a huge potential revenue stream. And I think people here already feel like we’ve got more in common with people in Madawaska, Maine, than in the rest of the province anyway.”
It’s unclear at this point whether a municipality has the authority to unilaterally change official holidays. Due to budget shortfalls, The Manatee was unable to research the specifics, and a cursory Wikipedia search yielded few answers. An Edmundston city councillor who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, however, is unsure he supports the initiative.
“It’s certainly unorthodox,” the 46-year-old said. “And there is some concern that if we do make the switch some residents will continue to celebrate on the Canadian date, and frankly I’m not sure area stores will be able to stock the appropriate items. Basically, I’m concerned that there will be friction between the Canadian Thanksgiving participants buying up the supplies weeks before the American adherents will have a chance to buy. We don’t need a repeat of the Christmas turkey shortage of ’85.”
Councillor John Smith’s concerns notwithstanding, the vote will be taken tonight. This has some Edmundston residents concerned they will be forced to celebrate another Thanksgiving after having only recently celebrated the Canadian holiday.
“I just had my whole family over not that long ago,” said Edmundston native Tammy Robichaud. “And I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I love them enough to cook another turkey. Please don’t print that.”
Jonathan Peterson remains certain that this is the only way to boost tourism.
“If we’re gonna do it, we gotta do it a hundred and ten percent,” he said. “People might find it exhausting to cook the meal and everything all over again, but hey, nobody ever said making money was easy.”
In an unrelated biographical note, Jonathan Peterson inherited the money he used to start his business from a wealthy uncle who passed away and with whom he had no emotional attachment.
Editor’s note: A review of this story after publication turned up several inaccuracies as well as the revelation of an anonymous source’s identity. In addition, it appears that the writer of the piece accepted bribes from all parties interviewed, which he has claimed guards against bias. Colin Hodd has been placed on administrative leave indefinitely while The Manatee reviews its submissions policy.