Last year political blogger Brad Cabana wrote that N.L. desperately needs a political party that is “firstly committed to integrity, honour, and truth before agenda”. As our good ol’ Snook says, “Oh right on!” Given the financial state the province is in now, (or more accurately, now that the state is publicly revealed), clearly folks, it’s time!
We need complete change in thinking, and by new people. Egos, arrogance, agenda and closed-door decisions must be eradicated. We now have new people, there is at least an attempt at transparency, and we have such a dire financial mess now exposed. The time is ripe for real change in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Effective leadership for this province can be had only through real people coming together by way of a citizens’ think tank, a citizens’ advisory committee to check government decisions, and project committees that contain citizens who give a damn. Principles must replace politics. Big thinking and antiquated ideas must be replaced by small(er) thinking and progressive ideas.
It’s both proven and obvious that smaller projects (by government or by small business) are easier to control, their projections tend to be more accurate, and they can be more successfully delegated, outsourced or implemented. In my opinion, huge projects are not the way to go. We simply cannot continue pursuing champagne taste on a beer-bottle budget.
Here are some things we need to do:
- We can’t afford Muskrat Falls. We need solar and wind power implemented through small businesses.
- We can’t afford more local cable and other companies selling out to mainland companies for great gobs of cash, and thereby exporting future portions of N.L. incomes into perpetuity. We need real local entrepreneurs who will compete with any and every mainland entity and idea for the good of the people of this province.
- We can’t afford foreign ownership of large fish processing plants. We need self-sustained small boats selling directly to restaurants and grocery stores in local and other markets. Kudos to the good folks of Fogo Island for showing us how this can be done.
- We can’t afford to continue to export (pay) roughly $100 million per year for a purportedly corrupt lottery corporation to provide addictive “services” that destroy lives, and tickets of (mostly false) hope. We need a locally-developed (ethical and legal) alternative that keeps the manufacturing and jobs in our province, and that exports similar products and services to other provinces, thereby converting the tide of poverty to one of prosperity.
- We can’t afford to construct a new law school at MUN. We need to better utilize existing premises, and/or provide online training and incentives, for existing and new lawyers.
- We can’t afford to build more and larger hospitals, mental health institutions or prisons. We need to enable and facilitate better health of citizens through education, free information and personal assistance — not through prescription drugs, addictions and large institutions.
- We can’t afford to wrap the courthouse and confederation building in scaffolds and tarps to just fix the outside. We need to install solar panels and wind turbines for longer-term savings (while we’re fixing the walls), and then go and improve what happens inside.
- We can’t afford folks lining up to dump daily fortunes into mainland or foreign franchises. We need innovative supports for small local businesses to better compete with such franchises, to the degree possible.
- We can’t afford “Sprung” contracts and cucumbers. We need hydroponics growing broccoli, kale, tomatoes, strawberries, grapes etc. And we need significantly more supports for local farmers to do the same.
- We can’t afford consultants and reports. We need common sense, from common and experienced local people with character (not paper degrees and expensive fees).
- We don’t need to “stimulate the economy” (coffers) “on a go forward basis”. We need to end past B.S. and corruption and progressively support small businesses, which are the basis for virtually every sustainable society.
I don’t expect to ever join a political “party”, as I’ve simply become too sickened by previous acts of (some) others who have. However, if there’s talk of developing a citizens’ initiative, a think tank, an advisory committee, or any such movement that is “firstly committed to integrity, honour, and truth before agenda,” then as they say in poker circles, “I’m all in!”
Peter J. Austin (Conception Bay South)