Readers are no doubt familiar with the story of the common cuckoo, one of several species of bird that lays an egg in the nest of a different species, leaving the adoptive parents to feed the ravenous hatchling at the expense of its nest-mates — a phenomenon known among biologists as brood parasitism.
The difference here, though, is that while in nature the adoptive parents are unaware of the intrusion until it’s too late, our government, all starry-eyed, has actually laid out the equivalent of an avian red carpet — welcoming one of these gluttons into the nest.
Nalcor, with our government’s blessing, has laid a giant cuckoo’s egg in the province’s economy, and like all such hatchlings, this one is growing rapidly, starving the other hatchlings and pushing them out of the nest.
We see justice, education, healthcare and social services already teetering on the brink, with not a sign of government reaching out with a protective wing to save them.
Who will be first to go over the edge?
The Dunderdale government is apparently rather fond of cuckoos. Perhaps it’s even hoping to establish a cuckoo sanctuary here, for such wonderful institutions as second-rate for-profit colleges that promise stellar careers in high-paying jobs to vulnerable students, meanwhile soaking them with huge fees.
Other utilities next?
Who knows, our enterprising government might even be planning to hand our water supply over to a private corporation the way the government did in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where, by law, the citizens were forbidden even to collect rainwater for their own use, and had to buy their water exclusively from Bechtel, a private corporation, which had a monopoly on the sale of water (does that remind anyone of a certain corporation’s impending monopoly on the sale of electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador?).
Things came to a head in Bolivia in 2000, with the proposed construction of a huge dam, which resulted in a very steep increase in water rates (does that remind anyone of what might happen to a certain province’s electricity rates with the construction of another dam?). There were massive public protests, and eventually the privatization of the water supply was reversed, much to the chagrin of the foreign investors.
We’ve had cuckoos here before — all of them very expensive and of no benefit to taxpayers: think Churchill Falls, chocolate factories, shoe factories, the Sprung greenhouse, and now, calamity of calamities, the biggest cuckoo of all — Nalcor, SNC Lavalin and Muskrat Falls.
Will the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have their Cochabamba epiphany?