Excessive expense spending doesn’t belong in social democratic party
Over the years I have been very vocal and critical of our provincial governments, going back to Gerald Regan and his band of outlaws. I loved to poke fun at them and to point out their many dastardly deeds – everything from electronic toilet seats to their blatant patronage appointments.
Most of these governments implemented changes that lined the pockets of politicians and their friends in big business. Remember the Liberal liquor tollgate saga, the sale of Nova Scotia Power to private interests, and the sad history of the Westray mine that ended in disaster. In all of these deeds the only people hurt were ordinary Nova Scotians.
I have seen the wages and the bargaining rights of workers eroded with the swift pen of antiunion governments. I witnessed the enactment of the Michelin Bill that took away workers’ right to the union of their choice. We all sat through the dismantling of our health-care system to the point of hospital workers being forced to work understaffed shifts and emergency departments being closed.
We see their struggle just to maintain a semblance of service to the sick and elderly of our province.
And, of course, Cape Bretoners have preached for years about the unfair distribution of the federal transfer payments that seems always to favour the Halifax area at the expense of the rest of Nova Scotia.
All through those turbulent and hurtful years I was out banging on doors along with a handful of other dedicated men and women as well as many youth, trying our darnest to elect a government we knew would make the lives of all Nova Scotians better. We believed the NDP government would make a significant difference in how a province was governed.
We were different. We would put an end to the sell-off of our resources; we would stop the embarrassment of patronage; and, more important, we would have an honest and caring government putting ordinary Nova Scotians first.
I believed we were the saviours of the province and that the era of corrupt government would be over.
So it is with a very heavy heart that I write this. I have been very quick to criticize other governments and now I must acknowledge the reality that pigs at the trough are still pigs at the trough, regardless of their political colour.
It reminds me of the Tommy Douglas story about Mouseland. The poor mice would keep electing cats. First they would elect a white cat, and after years of suffering under this cat they would elect a black cat, and so on.
Well, if looks like we elected a spotted cat but it still is a cat and the poor mice will still suffer under the rules of a cat.
I tried to convince myself that the Nova Scotia NDP were in fact the real deal. But it is getting hard to maintain that.
I believe everyone can agree that the system our MLAs enjoyed at our expense is very flawed. And I believe that now that it has been exposed by the auditor general, the Dexter government will put in the necessary changes to prevent a repeat of this sorry saga. But the troubling thing is that members of the government, too, had to get caught before they acted. This speaks volumes about their integrity and moral convictions.
As a former president of the Nova Scotia New Democrats, a long-time card-carrying member and financial contributor to the party, I have to ponder seriously my relationship with the party I once ran for and spent many years building up.
When I look at a number of MLAs in our party, I see people who are not long-time social democrats. Perhaps what is needed is for this party to convene a meeting with all of its elected members, not to discuss a plan of action to deal with the media on this issue but to give each one of them a history lesson on what it means to be a social democrat and what our party truly stands for.
I can assure you that excessive spending of taxpayers’ dollars does not belong in our party. Let’s leave that for the experts – the Tories and the Liberals.
It’s time to show our true worth. Tear down this wall of corruption and put in its place a transparent, accountable government. bull.
I can go to the grocery store, buy a bag of potatoes, bring it home, dump the contents in my yard, tramp on them and laugh while I think of people starving in foreign countries.
There is no law against me telling my neighbour that I don’t like him because he smells bad.
I can take a perfectly good dog to the vet and have it put to sleep for no reason. I can pick my nose in public. I can do all these things. But should I? Are any of these behaviours right? Are any of them moral or ethical?
Do I have to have regulations in place for me to see that they are not?
Buying patio furniture, espresso machines and the like on the taxpayer’s dollar is wrong no matter what the rules say. People who do these things, in my opinion, have no standards, no morals, no ethics.
My government is supposed to represent me, and I have standards. So my elected representatives should have standards. Anything else is just unacceptable, no matter what the “rules” are.
Wendy Wishart Sydney