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LETTER: The system isn’t working. Who will fix it?

Election signs like these ones in the electoral district of Virginia Waters-Pleasantville will remain up as campaigning in 18 provincial districts is being allowed to resume after Saturday. Virginia Waters-Pleasantville is one of the 18 districts on the Avalon Peninsula that has had in-person voting — which was to have taken place Saturday — delayed until an unspecified future date because of the COVID-19 outbreak in the metro St. John's region. In-person voting in the province's other 22 districts will take place as scheduled Saturday.
- Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Is the province of Newfoundland and Labrador approaching bankruptcy? If so, what is the long-term plan for recovery?

Let’s start by reflecting on the question: can politicians who divulge the full truth get elected or only those who say what we want to hear? The honesty with which we answer this question may speak volumes. Blindly following politicians or political parties who say what we want to hear or have charisma without true vision can lead us down a road from which it will be difficult to recover.

It is rather frightening to think that if we take every dollar paid in tax within Newfoundland we still will not have enough to even pay the interest on our deficit. How can we keep borrowing with no means of repaying and no apparent concern for the burden this places on our children and grandchildren? Given we have no means to even pay the interest on our debt and we have to borrow just to pay our expenditures, isn’t our province already bankrupt? Certainly, as private citizens we would be, and it would be irresponsible to keep borrowing when we have no means to repay.

How did we get into this mess? We have some of the highest paid politicians in Atlantic Canada and it’s one of the only occupations available where you need not have any education or qualifications to earn six-figure salaries. We then offer our politicians lifetime pensions after only two terms and seem to expect very little in return. Why do we keep re-electing politicians of any party who have not proven that they can make a difference?

Election promises come with big price tags and normally consist of promises to pave roads or create some make-work projects, but generally lack vision on how to grow the economy or repay the cost of the required financing. Politicians of all parties are quick to criticize the other, but all seem to lack any true vision or willingness to tell the public the complete truth.

Currently, our province is in a state of bankruptcy, and with Lower Churchill coming on stream, we would have to double the electricity rates to every household in order to pay the extra cost, or borrow an equivalent amount. Politicians have promised that this will not happen, but offer no real solutions.

It appears that the government is dependent on EI, social assistance, temporary work projects, public pension plans and government employees to provide the largest contributions of funds back into our economy and stimulate growth. In reality, this must all be paid from government revenue, in addition to the interest being paid on our deficit and operational cost to run the economy.

Now, combine this with the fact that there is absolutely nothing yet paid on the principal itself… Sorry, I forgot. No one wants to talk about how we plan to lessen the terrible burden on our children’s future and actually pay on those bills; not until after the election results are in.

The real question is, what is the plan to get us out of the financial mess that politicians from all parties are responsible for creating? How are they actually going to create jobs and stimulate the economy?

Until we transform our pollical structure so that politicians cannot borrow additional funds to finance their budgets without the support of a percentage of the opposition party, we will never achieve fiscal responsibility in government. Furthermore, when a political party borrows additional funds, there must be a plan in place on how such funds will be recovered and a process of accountability built within the system.

Very soon we will have enormous difficulty to even borrow money that we have no means to repay. Provincially, we are essentially bankrupt, and federally, Justin Trudeau himself has borrowed nearly $500 billion during his brief time in office.

It is time we held our politicians accountable. The current system, both in Canada and Newfoundland, may be a wonderful system overall, but due to the irresponsible management by political parties it is nearly broken.

We must have safeguards to protect the country from our own politicians and protect the future for our children.

David Alcock
Grand Falls-Windsor

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