Fed up with empty po­lit­i­cal prom­ises

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Peach Salmon Cove

I have metic­u­lously read Build­ing for Our Fu­tures, a provin­cial high­light for our fis­cal fu­ture. It reads like a great cat­a­lyst; how­ever, when I ap­proached gov­ern­ment mem­bers for train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties through Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, Skills and Labour, I re­gret­tably met with deaf ears and a non­cha­lant at­ti­tude. This “no help” at­ti­tude is de­spite what ap­pears on its web­site: “The De­part­ment of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, Skills and Labour has a man­date to en­sure the prov­ince has highly ed­u­cated grad­u­ates and skilled work­ers for a fast­grow­ing econ­omy”.

Gov­ern­ment mem­bers do not seem to be con­scious or con­cerned that far too many vot­ers are un­em­ployed and are greatly suf­fer­ing from the lack of em­ploy­ment in our prov­ince. Many young peo­ple who pur­chased new homes within the last few years are fac­ing great fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and may soon have to forgo their mort­gage pay­ments and live off their par­ents’ pen­sions.

Wait now - our provin­cial econ­omy must be boom­ing, as the pre­mier, ac­com­pa­nied by his bob­ble­heads, makes fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments through daily photo op­por­tu­ni­ties and press re­leases to prom­ise some new de­vel­op­ments such as long-term care fa­cil­i­ties in Cor­ner Brook, Gan­der and Grand Falls-Wind­sor and un­der­ground min­ing in Voisey’s Bay. The ques­tion is, is this real, or are th­ese de­vel­op­ments sim­ply idle po­lit­i­cal prom­ises that will never see the light of day? I’m think­ing th­ese are sim­ple po­lit­i­cal shenani­gans with the hopes that po­lit­i­cal polls will be­come more gen­er­ous to the gov­ern­ing party and spare it po­lit­i­cal dis­as­ter in the 2019 elec­tion.

Within the past few years we have had much wanted, and un­wanted de­vel­op­ment in our prov­ince that should have given fi­nan­cial re­wards to many trades­peo­ple. The great­est, of course, would be the dis­as­trous hy­dro project orig­i­nat­ing in Muskrat Falls. One would think that ev­ery worker in our prov­ince would have gained em­ploy­ment on such a vast hy­dro project that has well es­ca­lated over the be­gin­ning Nal­cor bud­get. While this ex­trav­a­gant project did erect far too many ugly metal tow­ers over our land­scape, it did pro­duce em­ploy­ment. Un­for­tu­nately, the re­ports of ac­ci­dents and deaths of some work­ers have ver­i­fied that many of the work­ers were not from this prov­ince. I may now have an iota of knowl­edge about the de­vel­op­ment of project plans and the award­ing of con­tracts but I do believe that we should em­ploy/train our own be­fore we seek work­ers from an­other prov­ince. Not to be un­ap­pre­cia­tive, but I believe we need to feed our­selves first.

More re­cently, the com­mence­ment of the con­struc­tion of the long-term care home in Cor­ner Brook makes me antsy again, as it ap­pears pri­vate com­pa­nies, with main­land con­nec­tions, will bring in main­land work­ers while our own un­em­ployed work­ers are forced to watch. It is shock­ing when politi­cians can con­coct such schemes with no con­sid­er­a­tion of the fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties that they cause the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion. We have skilled work­ers in our prov­ince who are pay­ing union mem­bers and who have not re­ceived any em­ploy­ment in more than a year. Must we take this de­spi­ca­ble bla­tant cocka­mamie bedlam from the peo­ple we al­low to con­trol our for­tunes and our fu­ture?

As an­other case in point, to work off­shore on one the oil­pro­duc­ing plat­form, a worker needs to have com­pleted sev­eral short train­ing pro­grams. There are many jobs avail­able. How­ever, the manda­tory train­ing is very ex­pen­sive. When ap­proached to be spon­sored to com­plete th­ese needed pro­grams, the De­part­ment of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, Skills and Labour wrote me a stan­dard let­ter that of­fered me no hope and no help. Yet in Build­ing for Our Fu­ture, page 5, un­der Skills De­vel­op­ment, reads: “$13.1 mil­lion for em­ploy­ment and train­ing pro­grams.” The au­dac­ity of the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues with no “meat on the bone”; “The provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments are fi­nal­iz­ing new Labour Mar­ket Trans­fer Agree­ments. Th­ese new agree­ments will pro­vide ad­di­tional fund­ing to sup­port and train­ing pro­grams to as­sist in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, in their ef­forts to pre­pare for, find and main­tain em­ploy­ment.”

This reads nicely as a script but it smells odi­ous. For me, sim­ple ac­tion speaks vol­umes whereas vain prom­ises are in­sult­ing and be­lit­tling.

Gov­ern­ment mem­bers do not seem to be con­scious or con­cerned that far too many vot­ers are un­em­ployed and are greatly suf­fer­ing from the lack of em­ploy­ment in our prov­ince.

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