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#NLRising, 3 Years On

in Opinion/Politics by

The 2019 NL provincial election is just eight days away, and yesterday marks three years since the #NLRising rally on Confederation Hill, organized by the NL Federation of Labour. I was invited to sing a couple of songs, so I took the opportunity to write a new one, directly addressing the 2016 Liberal austerity budget. Out came ‘Go Away Dwight and Cathy’, which singled out cuts to education and library closures, cuts to healthcare, and the ‘deficit reduction levy’. The 2016 Liberal budget was an attack on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, there is no doubt about that. But people spoke out. The rally worked, to some degree.

The song? The downfall of writing political songs is that they are only usually relevant to a situation for a short period of time, however, they will always remain historically significant. ‘Go Away Dwight and Cathy’ never gets much airplay these days, so I wanted to run through the things in the song that have changed since its debut on May 7, 2016 at #NLRising.

1. Cathy Bennett actually did go away.

2. Dale Kirby was booted from the Liberal caucus, not due to his crazy-ass education cuts, but from the same still-under-the-radar bullying and harassment goings-on in the Liberal party. (Cathy Bennett claims the culture of harassment in the House definitely played a large part in her retiring from political life.) See ya in the parking lot, Kirbs!

3. The deficit reduction levy for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with incomes under $50,000 was altered—no one with a low income was affected—and it is being phased out this year.

4. They pulled back on closing our libraries.

5. They eventually reduced tax on auto insurance premiums by 2%, from 15% to 13%. This year, they announced they were removing it altogether.

6. The tables have turned for angel face Justin Trudeau, with his involvement in the SNC Lavalin scandal and how he dealt with it.

Here are the lyrics to the song: 

Go away Dwight and Cathy 
What did our poor ever do to you
We can barely pay the rent 
Now we gotta pay to live here too
Why does Kirby hate our children
You can’t dumb us down
We don’t want four years of you
So swallow it up and step down
 
Chorus:
Go away Dwight and Cathy
We don’t want your kind
Take your levy your cuts and your taxes 
And stick em up your nine hundred dollar behind
In Newfoundland and Labrador
We’ll fight to see it come true
Go away Dwight and Cathy
We’re not havin’ four years of you

You say you listen to the people 
Dwight your lies are heavy
I would say you and Cathy were grinches 
But the Grinch never made ’em pay a levy
Nanny can’t get her dentures
Poppy can’t get his pills
What did Nanny and Poppy ever do to you
Cause they’re the ones you’ll kill

Chorus

In Ottawa PM Trudeau
He must be scratching his head
His NL Liberal counterparts
Go against everything that he’s said 
Drainin’ all the poor and sick
And starvin’ us all to death
You’re stealin’ books from the babies
As you tax our dying breath

On the anniversary of the biggest demonstration following that nasty provincial budget, we cannot forget that there are better ways to balance a budget than on the backs of our people. A hastily-called election, following a budget proposal with an all-in dependence on oil and gas to the detriment of our environment, in the face of climate change? Is that what we want?

In the eight days leading up to the election, I believe we have to educate ourselves on the candidates who deserve our vote. We cannot forget May 2016, when thousands of pissed-off people converged on the Confederation Building.

How about electing a government whose first move isn’t a Darwinian attack on the poorest and most helpless of our population? We proved that we can fight three years ago. Do we want to re-elect a government that clearly doesn’t put people first?

I’ve heard the voter apathy: “I’m not voting,” or “there’s no one to vote for.” There is someone to vote for. Take a good look at your candidates and pick the one who holds your best interests at heart.

Are they knowledgeable of the needs of their district? Do they have a history of doing good in the community? Would they fight for the right thing, should they hold an opposition seat? The red wave is over. Think outside the oil drum. And if that doesn’t work, let’s hit the hill again.

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