Jeers: to self-puffery. OK — pretend you’re the premier. You get to write the throne speech, putting every single word into the mouth of the lieutenant-governor. You could probably make him cluck like a chicken or moo like a cow, if you were evil enough. With that power, would you make His Honour say these glowing words about yourself? “My First Minister, the premier, is guiding this process with a keen eye to the impact on people. She is honest with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about the challenges and choices we face, bringing her experience to the table and listening to others who have perspectives and particular expertise to offer. She is a champion for the vulnerable with an appreciation of the value of self-reliance; an appreciation of the role of the private sector in generating the new wealth our economy requires to thrive; an appreciation of the need to engage our youth in building the society that they will inherit from us. My premier is determined to leave our children a legacy more sustainable and secure than the circumstances we inherited. She has a plan for our province.” Or would that just be too over the top for words?
Cheers: to interesting ideas. The throne speech has some other interestingly inflated things as well — like the line that says “With 70,000 job openings on the horizon thanks to the Muskrat Falls development and other important initiatives, people are moving here.” Considering that employment in this province was at a record-high 225,000 in 2011, 70,000 in new jobs would mean a 30 per cent increase in employees in the province — and a corresponding jump in major contracts, particularly large government and Nalcor contracts. Quebec has announced it will now require its major contracts to be independently reviewed to ensure that there’s no corruption involved — with so much government money flowing so quickly in the next few years, especially in a sector that’s already shown itself to be tainted in Quebec, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing?
Jeers: to the long view. And while we’re on the topic of those wildly inflated “70,000 job openings” being “on the horizon,” isn’t it true that you can never actually reach the horizon? Why not just say there are 70,000 jobs, like the mythical pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow? Think of it this way: we’re paying for Muskrat Falls and for our share of Hebron. If 70,000 jobs are being sponsored somehow with taxpayers’ dollars, that means a sponsorship for every three other working people in this province. Do we get photos of the workers we’re sponsoring? Can we pick a boy or a girl? And how much does it cost to sponsor one of them? (And are they building the dam with spoons? After all, some forecasts say the Great Pyramid at Giza only took 36,000 workers, and they didn’t even have power tools.)