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…..

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0 Responses to Dispatches from the road: On political opposition

  1. Anonymous says:

    Let’s scratch that surface a little. The ‘point’ of an opposition is to oppose. When Volpe is talking about their government’s achievements he is not acting as opposition, he is simply ‘running for office’.

    Talking about their policies before is NOT ‘opposition’. It is worse. The liberals were a little better, they used to actually have policies, so once again we get into the argument of whether its better to have an opposition which has policies that it will immmediately reject the minute they come into power, or whether its better to have an opposition that blows wind because they know the office of opposition is an empty one anyway.

    In a functioning democracy, say at the very least where you have proportional representation or a minority government, then there is a little less of that, because every vote counts. Volpe knows that its pointless to bring up all the criticisms that every New Brunswicker knows, mostly because he knows once in office he would have to do as the liberals do anyway.

    It was the tories, after all, who did all the highway construction that added 300 million to the debt (and maybe why they had the election).

    The reality is that when one party holds all the cards then it simply makes no difference WHAT Volpe says. He can jump around in a purple jumpsuit saying the liberals are aliens from mars for all the effect that it has. So ‘electioneering’ isn’t that bad a strategy.