Should the term 'come from away' be banned? Here's what you think

Islanders weigh in on whether it's offensive to call someone a "come from away," or a CFA.

Islanders weigh in on whether it's offensive to call someone a CFA

People who weren't born on P.E.I. are colloquially called 'come from aways.' (CBC)

If you weren't born here, there's a name for you — a "come from away," or a CFA for short.

The term is common throughout Atlantic Canada, but Nova Scotia's senior federal cabinet minister Scott Brison made headlines for suggesting the term should be banned from local vocabulary.

"It's in our collective interest, economically and socially, to not use terms that reflect a negative view of people who choose to make Atlantic Canada their home," he said.

When we posted the story on our CBC Prince Edward Island Facebook page, we heard many opinions on the matter.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

CFA and proud

Some commenters self-identified as come-from-aways — and they don't mind being called so by strangers.

"I think still being called a CFA is great," wrote Jean Tingley, who has lived in P.E.I. for 41 years. "It lets everyone know that we chose to move here and stayed because we love it here!"

Martha Manfredi wrote that she moved to P.E.I. more than 20 years ago.

"I always thought it was endearing in a local color sort of way," she said. "How boring it would be to take away some of the phrases that are associated with a particular place. It's those little things that make us who we are!"

'They are from away'

Some maintain it isn't said to be offensive.

"When meeting someone I don't know, first thing I say is, 'You from here?' and, "Who's your father?' wrote Janice Riley. "I was born and raised here, as were my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. It's just a phrase you use to get to know someone!"

"People do not say it to be insulting," said Sherry Flynn. "The reality is they are from away."

Some find it isolating

Still, some link the term to a culture that isn't always welcome to newcomers.

"What bugs me is the people that tell their kids and grandkids they aren't an Islander because they weren't conceived here," wrote Amanda Doherty-Kirby. "Whether we are Islanders by choice or by birth should not matter."

"I think outsiders can handle being called from away," wrote Darya Rogerson. "What is unexpected (as this tends not to happen in other places) and hurtful, is how the conversation tends to end quickly after."