One week ago the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal government tabled their budget. I say their budget because this is not our budget by any means. It is not a budget that any of us voted for.

Throughout the week we have heard from just about every group across the province and the ways in which they will be negatively impacted — hard working families, mental health advocates, women, rural communities, and the list goes on. The vulnerable in our society are taking the hardest hit for a series of foolish decisions that were made based on short sightedness and poor planning, or perhaps plain old selfishness, or simply pure stupidity.

Whose fault is it? Who put us in this precarious financial situation? We can sit around all day and debate this. Newfoundland and Labrador’s history is full of broken promises, decisions gone awry, and debt we can’t seem to get out from under. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what led us here, but without wanting to seem dismissive of acknowledging our recent former governments missteps, I wonder: in the end, does it matter?

Our current government that we elected based on one particular set of promises, backed by a wave of federal Liberal “sunny ways,” has failed us. The better questions are: What does this mean for our future? What kind of future do we want? And are we willing to stand up for what we need to keep moving forward?

 This is a time for solidarity. It is the time for us to stand together and say what we want for our future.

It is clear that this is a budget meant to divide our province. Rich vs. poor, women vs. men, rural vs. urban, Newfoundland vs. Labrador, etc. Well, let us say ‘no’ to division. This is a time for solidarity. It is the time for us to stand together and say what we want for our future. There will be tough times ahead. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have endured tough times, but we are a province that has endured. We have been battered and bruised, lived through government after government that has lied, made costly, short-sighted decisions, and we are the ones that have continuously paid the price.

Well, no more. It’s time we stand up for what we want.

Yes, we are in a difficult financial predicament, but how do we want to deal with it? Let’s say ‘no’ to the way our situation is being handled. Together, let’s say ‘no’ to a backwards tax that disproportionately affects the vulnerable in our society and in the end will only cause us all to pay in many more immeasurable ways than a “levy”.

On April 29, there will be a march to confederation building to protest this budget and the dismal future it is laying out for us. There will also be a sister march happening in Corner Brook on the same day, at the same time. Today, I put out a call to action and encouraged more groups, in all of our communities through the province, to organize actions on this day. Across the province let us come together on April 29 and show our government that this is not acceptable. Together, let us take back our future and stand against austerity.

For more information on the demonstrations taking place in St. John’s and Corner Brook, please visit the following Facebook event pages:

And for a list of events on other dates and in various communities — including Gambo, Bonavista, Harbour Grace, Bell Island, Wabush, Burin, Grand Falls–Windsor and Happy Valley–Goose Bay — compiled by the new Facebook group Mutual Aid NL, click here.

In solidarity,

Sharleen Simmons / St. John’s