Dispatches from the road: On political opposition

Some have said that I am advocating that the opposition not ‘oppose’ and that insituation is troubling – mainly because I railed against the lack of opposition (opposing voices) during the Tory administration.

It is vitally important for opposition parties to take firm stands against the government on issues of policy and approach.

It is vitally important for journalists to question – and delve deeply – into the motivations of government action. In fact, it is central to the effective functioning of government.

Can journalists go too far and turn things into a witch hunt. Absolutely. But journalists as transcribers of government press releases gets the province nowhere. It is likely the lack of ‘opposition’ (outside the purely political realm) is a serious contributing factor to the general malaise in this province.

My comments recently about Volpe as interim leader of the Opposition, is that after criticizing the Tories in this blog for three years – particularly in the area of economic development and results – I find it difficult to watch him serve up this fiction that the Tories were great fiscal managers, major tax cutters and economic developers. In fact, the provincial budget under the Tories grew dramatically – in line with provinces with strong population growth. Equalization per capita and overall government spending per capita went up dramatically during Volpe’s turn as Finance Minister. And as for tax cuts, the small tax cuts offered by the Tories were offset by increases in gas taxes, property taxes and other fees. In addition they cut economic development funding and bragged opening about cutting all funding areas except ‘health’ and ‘education’.

Then, this week, Volpe says his policies were used to attract people to New Brunswick even though he knows full well the in-migration statistics during his tenure were horrible.

So, that is the reason behind my resentment.

It’s really not about the Tories – rather Volpe. I think my tune will likely change when the Blues get a new leader. Unless it’s Volpe…..