Unco-op­er­a­tive, un­com­mu­nica­tive, un­be­liev­able

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - Eric Richard Tor­bay

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.