Lib­eral gov­ern­ment fail­ing New­found­land and Labrador

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

I have pon­dered a re­sponse to the present gov­ern­ment since the pre­sen­ta­tion of the pro­vin­cial bud­get in April.

It was my un­der­stand­ing that this gov­ern­ment cam­paigned on a plat­form of hope for the peo­ple of this prov­ince; a com­mit­ment to a smarter, stronger econ­omy; and will­ing­ness to in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion by be­ing open, trans­par­ent and ac­count­able. I con­sider this gov­ern­ment has failed to de­liver on all ac­counts.

Firstly, full-day kinder­garten was im­ple­mented at the ex­pense of re­duc­ing ed­u­ca­tional fi­nanc­ing to the K-12 school sys­tem. In­tro­duc­tion of such a plan re­quires re­sources and com­mit­ment to the en­tire ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, not play­ing one against the other.

Sec­ondly, tax­ing books cou­pled with re­gion­al­iza­tion of li­braries in ru­ral and more re­mote ar­eas place a bur­den on those who value ed­u­ca­tion at a time when they are fac­ing eco­nomic dif­fi­culty.

A gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to a bet­ter fu­ture for all the peo­ple of this prov­ince would ad­mit there is value in full-day kinder­garten, but it must de­lay im­ple­men­ta­tion un­til ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing is avail­able.

Such a gov­ern­ment would move to re­gion­al­iza­tion of pro­vin­cial li­braries, but it would close one li­brary in the St. John’s re­gion to sup­port fund­ing for more ru­ral re­gions so that all the peo­ple have ac­cess to this re­source.

A gov­ern­ment fo­cused on sup­port­ing ed­u­ca­tion would not con­sider tax­ing books.

A bud­get sets the fi­nan­cial course for the next fis­cal year. It is not an oc­ca­sion to pub­licly air dirty laun­dry. New­found­lan­ders know that the Lib­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion had no faith in the vi­a­bil­ity of the Muskrat Falls project and cer­tainly none in the ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship of Nal­cor, the Crown Cor­po­ra­tion.

How­ever, good po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship ac­cepts there is a process re­quired to bring about change, not pub­lic whip­ping dur­ing a bud­get speech.

Adding to this in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­hi­bi­tion of lead­er­ship, to say the gov­ern­ment lead­ers did not know about Ed Martin›s sev­er­ance and com­pen­sa­tion pack­age is de­ceit­ful. True they may not have known the ex­act fig­ure but as busi­ness peo­ple in a for­mer life, they are fully aware no CEO ac­cepts such a po­si­tion nor leaves it with­out a ne­go­ti­ated com­pen­sa­tion.

Trans­par­ent, ac­count­able lead­er­ship would have been ev­i­dent if the Premier and as­so­ci­ated min­is­ters had stated that Ed Martin was re­leased from his con­tract and the ne­go­ti­ated com­pen­sa­tion was paid be­cause a pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment in­sti­tuted it.

Fi­nally, a change in the way gov­ern­ment would do busi­ness, as stated re­peat­edly by a cam­paign­ing Dwight Ball, would in­volve lis­ten­ing to the peo­ple — I thought that was done in pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions lead­ing up to the bud­get — and pru­dently im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures like tax in­crease and a re­duc­tion in spend­ing over a pe­riod of time.

In­stead, this gov­ern­ment pulled no stops in crip­pling peo­ple of this prov­ince with huge tax in­creases in an un­prece­dented man­ner un­der the guise of sav­ing our pre­cious prov­ince from fi­nan­cial ruin.

I see these be­hav­iours as un­scrupu­lous and «what a tan­gled web we weave once we prac­tice to de­ceive.» All at­tempts at cover up and speak­ing from both sides of the mouth have pos­si­bly led to the ne­go­ti­at­ing fi­asco the gov­ern­ment now faces with the nurses union and other pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees.

Where and when will this end! Only when this gov­ern­ment is put out of of­fice and the sooner the bet­ter. Carol Anne North­cott writes from Bay Roberts

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