Dear editor: Not only does regional government concern me, but also the approach the government has taken in putting it in place. We are a province crushed, trapped under the burden of administrative bloat. Wasteful, misallocated, and overlapping expenditures hold our citizens in chains. Miles of red tape deter countless and bog down those who persist. Regional government risks worsening these problems, not resolving them.
Opening these “consultations” on any question other than “Do you support regional government?” is troubling. People of the province should be invited to a discussion on whether or not to pursue regionalization, with equal opportunity to discuss alternatives. What happened to consent? Instead, the questions lead attendees into how to regionalize. The questions even propose (with careful wording) forcing communities to participate and taking away municipal jurisdiction.
“What are the impacts for the regional government system if certain communities are given the ability to opt out?” Criticize communities who try to maintain autonomy.
“What criteria should determine whether communities are governed at the local level by a regional government?” At what point can we (hostile) take-over small communities?
One of the flaws with regional government is the additional administrative bloat. Our world is hyperspeed; on top of “drinking from a firehose” amounts of information to filter every day, people spend most of their waking lives working or commuting to work. People simply do not have the time to stay engaged with municipal, provincial and federal politics, especially when most political engagement is bull. The people of the province are already maxed out, adding yet another layer of government would only make matters worse.
Another layer of government means another layer of expenses. Salaries and expenses; office space and printer ink. Nothing is free, and whether covered by the provincial budget or by new fees and taxes (Did they really ask that? Oh my God.) the result is the same: People taxed to the point of breaking shoulder more financial burden. Again.
It’s a vicious, ironic cycle. Marketed as a solution to rural Newfoundland, Regional government will further cripple our ability to grow and drive our children elsewhere in search of a future.
But only if we do nothing.