The ‘austerity’ code

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With the throne speech and the budget upon us, we are hearing all about the A-word this week. Yes, there’s lots of talk about “austerity.”

“Austerity” is a code word for “we need more of your money to start a war/to bail out banks that greedy psychopaths have sucked dry/to furnish our offices/to build another useless megaproject that will turn a coven of the super-rich into a coven of the mega-rich” … you get the idea.

It’s funny how, in the Progressive Conservative mind, austerity seems only to apply to education, health care and social services.

It never applies to corporate welfare recipients such as big oil, hydro and big business in general.

There is not a glimmer of recognition that education and health care go hand in hand. One doesn’t work properly without the other, so that when either or both suffer, we end up with more people unemployable and on welfare.

As the saying goes, “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

This government seems hell-bent on emulating the meanest of the mean — far right wingnuts like Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney. The PC party’s motto seems to be “Feed the fat cats, starve the church mice.”


When it comes to Muskrat Falls, yes, there’ll be lots of short-term jobs for several years, with no security, and the irony of it is that the workers will be building something that will make their retirement here unaffordable — it’s hard enough now for most people to pay their utility bills.

Imagine what it will be like when we’re stuck with the bill for Muskrat Falls plus the new and “improved” electricity rates that go along with it.

“Diversifying our economy”? Nalcor’s permanent monopoly on the sale of electricity in this province, and all our electricity coming from a single megaproject, gives “diversity” a whole new meaning.

Recently I noticed a government website ( with smiling people and a banner proclaiming “the power is in our hands.” I don’t think they’d be smiling so much if they realized whose hands the power was really in.

Another irony is that within the next five to 10 years, new sources of energy and energy storage will render Muskrat Falls obsolete and irrelevant.

Our premier says that those who disagree with government’s decision to “develop” Muskrat Falls are in favour of more public spending and higher public debt.

So, not spending $10 billion or $12 billion would cost us more than spending it?

Kathy Dunderdale’s logic amazes me.

“My government realizes that new ways of thinking and new approaches cause stress and turmoil.” When it comes to this government’s “new approaches,” I’ll say “amen” to that, but when it comes to “new ways of thinking,” I’ve yet to see the slightest signs of cerebral activity.

 “It is important to deal with these issues openly and honestly.” I guess that’s why you introduced Bill 29, which, in terms of “openness and honesty,” puts us on a lower footing than Ethiopia, Guatemala and Uganda. (Yes, that’s literally true — we now have a banana republic, without the benefit of the bananas). Bill 29 gives our government a free hand to do whatever it likes without telling us anything.

“My government is listening.” Well maybe you should turn up your hearing aids, because you apparently haven’t heard a word of what we’re trying to tell you.

This is a throne speech that should set people’s bullshit detectors off like car alarms on a Saturday night around George Street.

I’m sometimes tempted to ask our government members how they are able to look at themselves in the mirror, but when I see such activities as poll padding and the way they defend it, I realize that they’re totally shameless.

This government has not only lost its soul — it has lost its mind.


Tony Rockel writes from Placentia.

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Ethiopia, Guatemala Uganda Placentia

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Recent comments

  • crista
    March 29, 2013 - 21:31

    what you got to do is the strong got to stand up for the ones that were put in the state of mind they are left in and stop being insulted ????and the ones that think it can not happen to you what if it do happen????and then you got watch what you see others have gone through???? the government got to be a government not a business now that is not saying the government can not do bussiness and the people have got to be a people and if the people let the government away with what you see is happening that is when they will punish you in ways you do not think they can????if you let them????they say they use the rule of law and they rule by law???? you have rights and if they take these rights away from you how can you have rights and if you think misbehaving for them is in your best interest look at your own results and you decide???? if you were smart enough to have them make these decisions you should be smart enough to stop what is being done???? and do not think it will be as easy as putting them there???? remember who is working for who???? who pays the bills???? and who wanted the jobs???? and what way are you treated????and what way have you got to live???? now who do you blame for that?????

  • EDfromRED
    March 28, 2013 - 12:32

    It's starting to look like Stephen Harper has enlisted the provincial PC's to destroy our province from the inside. With cuts to Justice, libraries, education, and the explosion in crime, it looks like plans are well underway to turn us into a North American Haiti.

    • Too Funny
      March 29, 2013 - 01:28

      Cutting and pasting comments??? Don't you know that you're allowed more than one thought for the day.

  • how about it
    March 28, 2013 - 09:17

    Looking forward to seeing your name on the ballot. Seriously. There was once a time when people would take action against an out of touch government (such as Richard Squires running for his life). Then we decided to just protest for the cameras and now we we only whine about our government. Maybe we've lost some courage through the generations, maybe things aren't as bad as we say they are or maybe we just couldn't be bothered. The power is suppose to be in the hands of the people so why do we feel like we're at the mercy of politicians. We've become lambs.