Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Potential election of no benefit to New Brunswickers

With rumours swirling about Premier Blaine Higgs calling an election, it’s the opinion of the New Brunswick Union that it is unnecessary and hypocritical of government officials.
There are several reasons for this position.
When it comes to programs and investments that would benefit New Brunswickers, politicians preach the same refrain: our economy is struggling and we can’t afford to do much.
This doesn’t stop them from handing out tax cuts, payroll rebates and other forms of corporate welfare, but it is the mantra they use when it comes to public services that would benefit everyday New Brunswickers.
The provincial election in 2018 cost approximately $12.8 million. The province’s Chief Electoral Officer is on record saying due to COVID-19 an election at this time will incur additional costs, stating in a story on the Global News website:
Poffenroth says that about $700,000 has already been spent on gloves, masks, face shields and sanitizer. There will also be extra costs associated with increased staffing needs, that Poffenroth estimates could cost about $250,000.
So why would we spend what is conservatively estimated at more than $13 million on an election that isn’t necessary?
The Department of Education will need more funds to safely bring students back to school in the fall. That’s where money should be allocated.
Government needs to get its priorities straight.
While it seems strange to have to write this as a reminder, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.
Our province has done very well during the pandemic, but as we’ve seen both here and in other jurisdictions, it only takes one case to cause a larger outbreak.
Polling stations, even with social distancing orders and other precautions will results in a lot of people in one place. There’s potential for problems. Also, we have no indoor mandatory mask order in the province and without it people could be put at risk at polling stations.
Again, there’s no good reason for an election other than a politician wants it.
In a democratic society, you want as many people as possible to exercise their right to vote. However, in the middle of a pandemic, with an aging population, how many people will see it as too great a risk, stay home and not cast a ballot.
The only reason for a possible election call is pure politics because it certainly isn’t in the best interest of New Brunswickers as evidence by the points above.
Less than two years ago we went to the polls and elected a minority government. Election speculation immediately began right after as no one could fathom politicians working together for a whole four years.
Here’s the thing, we know it can work. We just watched the leaders of the four parties work together on a COVID committee. It can be done, so just continue to do it.
If you can’t get a budget passed and government can’t function properly is one thing, but that is not the case this time around.
So to recap, our government wants to potentially put people at risk and spend money they say we don’t have in the middle of a pandemic because they don’t feel like playing nice with each other.
We wouldn’t accept this behavior from children. We need to expect more from our elected officials. There’s no need for an election until October 2022, doing it before then shows a lack of respect for New Brunswickers.