Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Not doing politics differently

Slogans sound good, but they do not mean much in provincial politics.
Let’s take the case of the Progressive Conservatives and the legalization of marijuana.
Blaine Higgs, Leader of the provincial Tories, had promised to ‘Do politics differently,’ if elected. However, in terms of Cannabis NB, he is doing the opposite.
In recent media reports, the Tory MLA for Gagetown-Petitcodiac Ross Wetmore stated a PC government would review the Cannabis NB contracts to see if they could break them in support of model of privatization.
There are many problems with this idea.
First, there’s Wetmore’s concerns about pricing; namely, Cannabis NB prices are too high to make a dent in the black market.
“I spoke to someone this morning and asked how much it would cost me to buy pot on the black market. And today, you can get it for $3 a gram, much less than Cannabis NB stores,” Wetmore said in an October 16 article in the Telegraph-Journal.
With all due respect to Wetmore’s source, this is in no way a fact. His assertion is based on a phone call with an unidentified person and no one knows if the person is credible or not. Basically, it’s an unsubstantiated statement made to Wetmore from a random person, not a fact.
The second problem concerns another Wetmore statement.
“We’ll see what can be done and what the cost would be of changing the model,” Wetmore said in the October 16 article.
This statement was made before Cannabis NB had even opened its doors. At this point, Wetmore is talking about changing something before it’s even been tested or given a chance. This is something both major parties in this province are guilty of; namely, opposing anything that was not their own idea. Not only is it counterproductive, but costly.
Cannabis NB has spent $9 million in start-up costs and it’s expected to have an annual budget of $15 million. New Brunswicker’s money has been invested in this endeavour and pulling the plug now, as Wetmore and his cohorts are suggesting, would guarantee a loss.
The third and most important part of this situation are the employees of Cannabis NB. There’s about 330 Cannabis NB employees and the comments from the PC Party likely has them wondering what will become of their new careers should Higgs and his party form the next government.
That’s 330 good paying jobs that would be put into jeopardy because of politics, not because anything has failed or did not work. These people deserve the chance to make Cannabis NB a success. The NBU believes hard-working New Brunswickers can make a big difference to their organizations and communities. We hope our elected officials feel the same.
The PC take on Cannabis NB is not doing politics differently, just more of the same.
New Brunswickers voted for change in the last election because of this type of antiquated thinking. We have to wonder when our two largest parties will finally put people ahead of political games.