Cheers & Jeers

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Jeers:  to paper make-work. Under the province’s transparency and accountability legislation, departments and agencies of governments have to hand in regular annual activity plans: 13 of them were handed in on March 31 alone and tabled in the House of Assembly.

For the Fish Processing Licencing Board, for example, it takes seven pages to outline who the board is and what it does. The crux of the whole deal? “The Fish Processing Licensing Board has adopted the mission of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture: by March 31, 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will have supported both the strengthening of the fishing industry and the expansion of the aquaculture industry to create sustainable and economic opportunities for the province. The Fish Processing Licensing Board has contributed to the achievement of this mission through its provision of objective recommendations to the minister regarding licence applications.” The activity plans list who the agencies are, what they plan to do and affirm that they plan to live up to their legislated objectives. By and large, the activity plans are a penetrating insight into, well, nothing. And you have to think the time could be better spent.

Cheers:  to out of the mouths of … Speakers of the House of Assembly. Here’s the Speaker, from Thursday: “I trust the power interruption we experienced before the House opened will not happen when someone is speaking in your zeal and zest of great delivery of a wonderful speech. If you lose your microphone, the power is off and no one is listening to you.” Nice to have confirmation that no one listens to anyone else inside the House. If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s no one there to hear, does it make a sound?

Cheers: to the continued use of under-used words. The provincial government is continuing its love-in with the word vibrant — as in this quote from Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent: “It is through the commitment and dedication of the professional municipal administrators membership that we are able to live, work and do business in vibrant communities throughout our province.” In the last two weeks, the term “vibrant” has appeared in provincial government news releases 16 times.

Jeers: to potholes. Big, small, recurring and relentless, in the city and on the highways, this sure is the year of potholes. You can find them everywhere, and if you drive to work early enough that the traffic’s still light, you can watch people weaving around them so much that everyone looks like a drunk driver. Once the traffic’s busy, though, you get to see people piling into the road-pits, losing tires, rims and all sorts of car parts. Worse this year than last? Sure seems that way. Has pavement composition or thickness changed or something? Because the roads just don’t seem to be holding up.

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