A few days ago my father sent me a note asking whether Prince Edward Islanders are friendly or not. He’d been talking to someone in Ontario, and they’d mentioned to him that while people in Nova Scotia are genuinely friendly, people in Prince Edward Island are only friendly when tourist money is involved.
On first reading I dismissed his comment; I’ve been here 17 years and I’ve always thought of Islanders, if not overtly gregarious, as having a underlying bedrock of friendliness.
Then I ran it by some colleagues, all raised here, and without exception they agreed: Islanders, they told me, are not friendly.
Apparently this is a well-known fact.
I’ve been threatened with a knife, threatened with a gun, had tables thrown at me, been chased round a hospital by a patient trying to flatten me with a chair, been shouted at regularly, been punched, had a cigarette stubbed out on my arm, had a patient try to strangle me in the back of an ambulance, and I’ve been kicked in the privates. I’ve seen running battles in the street between knife wielding gangs. I’ve had to wrestle violent people to the ground, I’ve had a patient I was treating in the street attacked by a gang intent on beating him up and had to use violence to help drag them off.
And since he moved his practice to Charlottetown?
So you would think that being a GP (Family Physician) on the Gentle Island of Anne of Green Gables would be a delight.
You’d be wrong.
It’s come as quite a shock to find out that lovely PEI appears to be infested with a significant minority of people who are bitter, rude, and - to be quite frank - horrible.
They make snide comments, are undermining, negative, and behave in a highly passive aggressive way. Although less dramatic than the hostile aggressive behaviour of their Scottish ancestors, their behaviour is far, far more damaging. Not least, it is far less honest.
Is this true? Are Islanders really a hostile, standoffish, unfriendly lot?
What do you think.