Status Quo? Definitely so!
Imagine your home is on fire, it’s been burning for a while now, and when the fire department arrives, they fight the blaze with the water at half pressure, and tell you not to worry because though your house is burning, it’s not burning as much as it was before.
This is how I feel about the financial situation in my province of Newfoundland & Labrador, with a population of half a million people, high unemployment, a $13 billion dollar and growing debt, and a massive government funded hydroelectric project that instead of reducing electricity costs, will double them in 2020, you would figure the Liberal Govt. that was elected to run the province in 2015 would be pulling out all the stops the get us out of this crisis right?
Sadly, you’d be wrong, in 2016, they tried to be tough by dropping a well meaning, but poorly made budget that drove up the cost of living, made gasoline cost 16.5 cents more, promised to close a few public libraries, implied significant layoffs in the pubic service, cuts to several social programs and amongst other things, imposed a levy on everyone making $20,000 or more a year who lived in the province, which led to several months of public outrage, trade union protests, one MHA being kicked from caucus and sitting as an independent, and some fierce criticism via social media, all of which put the government in a panic and so, the library closures were halted (pending a costly and time consuming review), the levy was changed to apply to those making $50,000 a year or higher, the lay offs happened, but in far fewer numbers, and the Government lost the courage they needed to have in these tough financial times.
The 2017 budget, released on April 6th, was a budget meant to appease the angry masses, with no public lay offs, no new taxes, a reduction to the much hated gas tax, promises to build long awaited replacements for the Waterford Hospital and Western Memorial Hospital, and not much else, it offers no real incentives for anything other than the status quo, it encourages the very culture of spending that the government claims they are trying to eliminate. The same office wallahs and clock counters residing in the Confederation Building that led the previous government into the boondoggle known as Muskrat Falls are the same ones advising the current government, why? I have no idea, but what I do know is that we can’t allow it to continue, it’s time to make our appointed officials, not just our elected ones, accountable for their role in the ups and downs of governing our province, there’s just too much at stake not to.
2017 is a year full of change and possibilities, and that being said, maybe it’s time the people of Newfoundland & Labrador take hold of the financial fire hose and save what’s ours before nothing’s left but ruins.