The Liberals are pushing hard on the Orimulsion thing this election. There are signs all over the place and now the papers are picking up on it. So, as I did when this scandal broke, I do have comments.
1) I don’t know that this is good politics. Negative campaigning using an issue that most NBers only have a vague idea about I don’t think will carry much impact. It’s a he said/he said kind of thing. Lord blames NB Power and says that he put the necessary changes in place. Further, he insinuates he will get the money back from Chavez. There’s no chance in heck of that but to Joe Q. Public that may be enough.
2) However, I think the issue here is accountability. As I recall, Lord shut down the hearings on Orimulsion and no one was fired or even formally reprimanded – let alone the Minister stepping down. In believe in other provinces, this would have called for serious action. Firings, Minister stepping down, inquiry with firm recommendations, etc. When a $2 billion mistake is made, the public needs to know that the government takes it seriously and acts decisively.
The Lord government banks on the fact that New Brunswick voters are rinky dink. That we don’t look beyond the glossy brochures and the hype. That we just don’t care enough about issues unless they hit us in the pocket book (like auto insurance). And when they do (like Orimulsion and NB Power electricity rates), we get a ‘tax break’ on electricity to ease the pain.
I know the average voter doesn’t spend a lot of time studying the issues. I realize they have more important things to do. But as I pointed out before, the average voter give more money to the government than grocery and housing expenses combined. We micro manage our post tax finances but care less about where our taxes are spent.
Make no mistake. Orimulsion was a billion dollar issue and will cost taxpayers a lot of dough. We should have been at least afforded the courtesy of a show of outrage.