Re­gional gov­ern­ment is not the right route

Northern Pen - - EDITORIAL -

Not only does re­gional gov­ern­ment con­cern me, but also the ap­proach the gov­ern­ment has taken in putting it in place. We are a prov­ince crushed, trapped un­der the bur­den of ad­min­is­tra­tive bloat. Waste­ful, mis­al­lo­cated, and over­lap­ping ex­pen­di­tures hold our cit­i­zens in chains. Miles of red tape de­ter count­less and bog down those who per­sist. Re­gional gov­ern­ment risks wors­en­ing these prob­lems, not re­solv­ing them.

Open­ing these “con­sul­ta­tions” on any ques­tion other than “Do you sup­port re­gional gov­ern­ment?” is trou­bling. Peo­ple of the prov­ince should be in­vited to a dis­cus­sion on whether or not to pur­sue re­gion­al­iza­tion, with equal op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss al­ter­na­tives. What hap­pened to con­sent? In­stead, the ques­tions lead at­ten­dees into how to re­gion­al­ize. The ques­tions even pro­pose (with care­ful word­ing) forc­ing com­mu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate and tak­ing away mu­nic­i­pal ju­ris­dic­tion.

“What are the im­pacts for the re­gional gov­ern­ment sys­tem if cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties are given the abil­ity to opt out?” Crit­i­cize com­mu­ni­ties who try to main­tain au­ton­omy.

“What cri­te­ria should de­ter­mine whether com­mu­ni­ties are gov­erned at the lo­cal level by a re­gional gov­ern­ment?” At what point can we (hos­tile) take-over small com­mu­ni­ties?

One of the flaws with re­gional gov­ern­ment is the ad­di­tional ad­min­is­tra­tive bloat. Our world is hy­per­speed; on top of “drink­ing from a fire­hose” amounts of in­for­ma­tion to fil­ter ev­ery day, peo­ple spend most of their wak­ing lives work­ing or com­mut­ing to work. Peo­ple sim­ply do not have the time to stay en­gaged with mu­nic­i­pal, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral pol­i­tics, es­pe­cially when most po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment is bull. The peo­ple of the prov­ince are al­ready maxed out, adding yet another layer of gov­ern­ment would only make mat­ters worse.

Another layer of gov­ern­ment means another layer of ex­penses. Salaries and ex­penses; of­fice space and prin­ter ink. Noth­ing is free, and whether cov­ered by the pro­vin­cial bud­get or by new fees and taxes (Did they re­ally ask that? Oh my God.) the re­sult is the same: Peo­ple taxed to the point of break­ing shoul­der more fi­nan­cial bur­den. Again.

It’s a vi­cious, ironic cy­cle. Mar­keted as a so­lu­tion to ru­ral New­found­land, re­gional gov­ern­ment will fur­ther crip­ple our abil­ity to grow and drive our chil­dren else­where in search of a fu­ture.

But only if we do noth­ing.

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