Unco-operative, uncommunicative, unbelievable
When I saw the government’s motion to grandfather in current MHAs to the “gold-plated” pension plan, I was furious. When I saw how the government responded to media questioning on this decision, I was left speechless, flabbergasted.
Opting to grandfather current MHAs into the pension package will incur a $3.6 million cost in unfunded liability over the next few years, a burden which, of course, falls on the taxpayers. So, what was the reasoning behind further burdening a struggling public for the sake of our MHAs’ pensions? Apparently Government House Party Leader Andrew Parsons thinks it would be “unfair” to change the pension plan midway through the MHAs’ term. That’s right, the same government who cut candy from hospitals, cut overnight snowclearing, cut arts funding in half and taxed books, thinks its “unfair” for MHAs to receive only a mildly lucrative pension package, in lieu of a grotesquely lucrative one.
What truly leaves me without words, however, is that in the wake of this decision, most of these politicians wouldn’t even talk to the media. How is this allowed? Telegram reporter James McLeod attempted to conduct interviews with multiple elected officials, including Mark Browne, parliamentary assistant to the premier, as well as cabinet ministers Perry Trimper, Gerry Byrne and Sherry Gambin-Walsh, among others, but found no luck. Not a single politician would give more than a moment of time or a sentence of commentary as they practically sprinted to their next engagement.
When asked when he was part of the lobbying effort for this pensionprotection plan, MHA Derek Bragg, from Fogo Island-Cape Freels, said this: “Nothing comes to mind. I probably was in part of some conversation at some point, but there’s nothing that really comes to my mind right now.” What exactly is that supposed to mean? The government has just made a major decision for its own benefit, which will cost the taxpayers millions, and nobody feels the need to give an honest account of the proceedings? Everywhere one turns, the evasiveness of our politicians here reeks of dishonesty, and of something they want swept under the rug with as little fuss as possible.
How are we allowed to be led by individuals whose competence, honesty and integrity have repeatedly been called into question, and who refuse to even adequately address, let alone attempt to defend their avaricious decisions? Reporters barely got more than a sentence out of each MHA spoken to, and many wouldn’t even give that. Do you think the people of Newfoundland are beneath you? Do you think they don’t deserve to know the costs they bear? To strong-arm the legislature like this through is one thing, but to turn around and try to absolve yourselves of responsibility by ignoring the relevant questions posed is just childish.
Like a child who’s stolen a cookie but can’t stomach the lie, they just ignore the question.