Cheers: to fun with numbers. So, the provincial government says we can expect a $725-million deficit this year. What exactly does that mean? Well, take a few statistics from the Department of Finance’s website, and you can do some fun math. It says that in November, there were 231,400 people working in this province. The provincial government was expecting to take in $862 million in personal income tax this year, or an average of $3,725 per person. But what if we had to pay off that new $725-million deficit using income taxes? Well, those 231,400 people who are working would see the Newfoundland portion of their income tax jump to $6,858 per person. Kind of puts things into ugly perspective, doesn’t it? Money’s got to come from somewhere.
Jeers: to blowing your own horn for strange reasons. Here’s a press release that tumbled off the Internet Thursday: “North York General Hospital Top Performer in the GTA — Rates of Preventable Deaths Lowest Among Neighbouring Hospitals — TORONTO, Dec. 13, 2012 — North York General Hospital (NYGH) has the lowest rate of preventable deaths among all Greater Toronto Area (GTA) hospitals according to the latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).” Let us know when that preventable death rate reaches zero, OK?
Jeers: to buzzwords. The federal Conservatives aren’t admitting they made crucial mistakes in their decision to bull forward with the $45-billion F-35 fighter debacle — instead, they’re blithely saying they’re “pushing the reset button,” as if we should give the whole process as little thought as simultaneously pressing “alt,” “control” and “delete” on our computer keyboards to deal with a locked-up program. Forget the fact they lied to voters about the costs — forget about Robocalls. Forget about the fact the parliamentary budget officer — you might remember him as the first person the Tories derided for suggesting their $9 billion pricetag for the jets was unrealistic — has said that changes to prison legislation will cost an additional $10 billion, a number the Tories treated the same way they treated revelations about the fighter jets. Hey, here’s an idea — why not let us “push the reset button” on this particular federal government?
Jeers: to fencing with words. Last week, we raised the question of just why it is that the City of St. John’s is paying up to $450,000 for a fence that the St. John’s Port Authority wants to build to protect part of its business — namely, visiting cruise ships. Then, there were questions about the entire rationale for the fence — the port authority said Transport Canada required the new fence, while Transport Canada told the CBC that there wasn’t a problem. Now, the port authority has produced letters outlining Transport Canada’s concerns, with justifications flying everywhere. It’s a story that just won’t get straight. And while we’re talking about justifications, it’s interesting to remember the port authority said 3,000 jobs depend on the port and on this fence. What jobs are they talking about, exactly? Because that seems more than a little high.