A suggestion for the government backbench MHAs:

There are currently 29 MHAs on the government side, plus the Speaker. If 10 or more of you get together as a united group you have the power to demand change to this horrible budget. If cabinet is unwilling to act, cross the floor and form the Official Opposition.

I’ve heard many of you state publicly that you don’t like the budget and I can guarantee you that the vast majority of your constituents don’t like it either. So instead of saying “I don’t like this anymore than you do but there’s nothing I can do about it,” or “I’m working on the inside to try to get things changed” why not exercise the real power that you have? Do the math!

And before you start talking about loyalty ask yourself this question: Who exactly is it I’m supposed to be loyal to, the party or the people who elected me? Whose interests was I elected to serve, the party’s or my constituents’? And finally, how loyal were my cabinet colleagues to me when they shut down my libraries, schools, court houses and taxed my constituents to death? How much input did I have in those decisions that were devastating to my district? What consultation was afforded to me as a respected member of the team?

This budget is wrong on so many levels. It is hurting so many vulnerable people — your people. Do the right thing; demand change. If change doesn’t come, walk! Force a minority government situation to avoid any future carnage. You have the numbers to force cabinet’s hand. You have the power. Use it!

Paul Lane / MHA, Mount Pearl-Southlands