Cheers: to smooth labour relations. So far, at least, the Dunderdale government seems to be in the groove when it comes to negotiating union contracts.
Few could have expected the province and the largest public sector union to reach an agreement with barely a hint of friction — particularly when it calls for a two-year wage freeze. The tentative deal with NAPE, announced last week, includes a $1,400 signing bonus and two and three per cent increases in the third and fourth years of the contract, respectively. Sounds like big deficits and budget cuts have convinced everyone to lay low for now.
Cheers: to the provincial government, again. What’s that? Two cheers for Kathy Dunderdale in one day? This can’t be The Telegram. But you have to hand it to the premier for finally vowing to face the pension problem head on. Public sector pensions have been a ticking time bomb for decades. In 2006, former premier Danny Williams dumped $2 billion in advance Atlantic Accord money on the teachers pension, but it proved to be just a drop in the bucket. With unfunded liabilities amounting to about $5 billion in 2012 — 64 per cent of the province’s net debt — it’s not going to be possible to defuse this baby with a little tinkering here and there. Let’s hope these talks don’t get too bogged down.
Cheers: to op-ed diplomacy. Ambassadors? G8 summits? Who needs ’em? Looks like the new way for international leaders to get each other’s attention is through public opinion pieces. Russian President Vladimir Putin got the ball rolling with a Sept. 11 piece in the New York Times, scolding the U.S. for its aggressive ways and warning it to back off on Syria. U.S. Senator John McCain couldn’t let that pass without a return volley. He published a rebuttal in Pravda.ru (a pro-Kremlin online journal, not to be confused with the newspaper Pravda). On Thursday, Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani joined the party. He penned a piece for the Washington Post’s website, pleading for Americans to take “a constructive approach” to contentious global issues. Not only could this be a new path to world peace, but it’s making newspapers relevant again in a whole new way. Hooray!
Cheers: to a whole Cheers & Jeers without a jeer. We’ve deliberately kept this one upbeat to get people in a cheerful, upbeat, voting kind of mood. Tuesday is the deadline to get out and decide who you want on your municipal council. Don’t let it pass you by. These are the people who decide what roads and sidewalks get repaired first, whether or not to build that recreation centre, and how much you have to pay for it all. Vote for change, or vote for the status quo. Just vote.