The unkindest cuts of all

Ed Smith
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It isn’t the budget cuts that are irritating the hell out of every nerve in my body that isn’t crushed, cut or otherwise mangled.

It’s the crap being shot by the politicians on the government side. Everyone from the premier to the lowest backbencher has been insulting our intelligence with the most asinine statements imaginable.

I don’t know who the lowest backbencher is. It depends how you define “lowest.” One definition has nothing to do with where you happen to be sitting in the House, but don’t get me started on that. Instead, allow me an anecdote to express my feelings on the matter.

A turkey was sitting on the ground looking up at the top of a tall tree. A bull came along and asked what he was doing.

Replied the turkey, “I was just thinking I’d like to fly to the top of that tree, but I’m afraid I’m too weak to do so.”

“Well,” the bull said, “some birds find that the seeds in my droppings give them extra strength to do things they couldn’t ordinarily do.”

So the turkey took several mouthfuls of the manure and found to his delight he could fly to the top of the tree.

He was no sooner up there, however, when a farmer came by and shot him.

Moral of the story: bullshit may get you to the top, but it can’t be counted on to keep you there.

That little story expresses much wishful thinking on my part for the turkeys who are now at the top in this current fiscal situation. If you want to continue the allegory, the farmer who shoots them out of the tree is the ordinary voter. So make sure you have enough ammunition stored away for the next election.

I have to say I’m feeling a little guilty here. Making blanket statements about people, especially politicians, is always dangerous because there are exceptions.

I need to say that our fellow MHA Kevin Pollard is, in my mind, as honest as the day is long. Further, I haven’t heard him say anything stupid about the cutbacks.

In fact, I haven’t heard him say anything at all, which is probably the most intelligent thing he could do.

When one considers some of the comments being made by those “in charge” it’s practically genius to keep one’s mouth shut. It’s not his fault Kevin was born PC. Surely Lord nobody chooses to be PC in this day and age.

Someone once said (it might have been Mark Twain or George Bernard Shaw or Peter P), “I have often been sorry for having said some things in public. I have never been sorry I kept my mouth shut.” Obviously, the various ministers of the Crown have chosen not to abide by that principle.

Another applicable quote: “It’s better to be quiet and thought to be a fool, than speak up and remove all doubt.”

I gotta tell you, people, as if you didn’t know, that the representatives of government from top to bottom have removed a great deal of doubt about themselves this week.

“Gee, Eddie.” I can hear you now. “This poison pen stuff doesn’t sound like you. You must be really upset.”

Upset doesn’t begin to cover it. I know I said this last week, but it bears repeating. When I saw MHAs on the government side of the house cheering and applauding the announcement that so many hundreds of people would be put out of work, I just about threw up. And the next time I do vomit my insides out, I will know that this was the reason.

Look, I know that we are probably in deep financial do-do at the moment. But when they try to tell me that this dramatic reduction in income came like a lightning bolt out of the blue, my stomach starts to churn again. They overestimated the price of oil, they underestimated the cost of Muskrat Falls (hello $4 billion, the original estimate), they don’t have a clue what our income will be over the next few years. Pardon me, yes they do! Enough that they can announce before the next election that we are a lot better off than we thought we were! I know, I said that last time, too. Sorry.

When they try to convince you and me that they are not responsible for this current deficit, they’re insulting our intelligence, what little we have left after being beat around by the current incumbents. That suggests to your humble scribe (as Alan Fotheringham used to say) that they have zero respect for the voting public. OK, guys and gals, right back at you!

Everything else aside, this province of ours is in for some rough times. What bothers me is that the way some of our “brightest and best” politicians are talking, in two years we should be back on an even keel again with money in the bank. Fear not, people. Good times will be here again and have not shall be no more.

Now they seriously believe that they can cut the legs out from under a family by depriving them of a job and steady income, and then make it all right again inside of a few months? That professional people can automatically relocate to new towns, be given new jobs, have families settle into new lives? That tradespeople can uproot and shuffle off to Alberta without paying a large social and family price?

That all the damage that will have been done economically and socially can all be undone in a year or two or in some cases even a lifetime? Dream on, guys and gals, dream on.

I think of the friends who are waiting in fear and trepidation for that damn axe to fall, knowing what it’s going to do to their family and way of life. People whose lives were settled, and focused on raising children and building careers and paying off mortgages and contributing to life in their communities. People whose lives are now being turned upside down.

Can all members of the governing party be held responsible for this? Perhaps not.

But they didn’t all have to applaud and cheer and thump their desks in joy.

Ed Smith is an author who lives

in Springdale. His email address is

Geographic location: Alberta, Springdale

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Recent comments

  • tabby
    April 28, 2013 - 08:06

    you are spot on as usual my friend,,,,,,,,,,,,,i was raised to always tell the truth and then i was suddenly old enough to vote and listen to politicans,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,havent heard the truth since and that was 60 years ago,,,,,,,,,i have voted for the last time,,,,,,,,,,,,,sad,sad,sad

  • Wondering
    April 15, 2013 - 11:36

    I suggest everyone to read Ed Smith's piece in Saturday's paper and online with the definition of 'bullshit'

  • Wondering
    April 13, 2013 - 09:14

    People are beginning to connect the dots on the money trail..... lots of cutbacks and job losses to pay for a unnecessary and expensive 10 billion Muskrat Falls. And it's only starting. 90 percent want Dunderdale gone while 60 percent still support Muskrat Falls. So a lot have not yet connected the dots. This week Hydro announces that the power rates will drop 8 percent in July because of lower cost oil and less production at Holyrood. This may seem like good news. It's actually bad news!. More expensive oil and more production at Holyrood is the rationale for Muskrat Falls. So this is an acknowledgement that their forecast is failing, yet again. They have forecast that power needs will increase about 1 percent per year going forward, and so, a little error throws this scheme in a tailspin. Lower oil cost and less production at Holyrood is about the worse that could happen..... if you look at the big picture. WA