November 15, 2013
Dear Minister Leonard
This morning I attended the Closing of the Throne Speech at the Legislature. It was a major disappointment in many ways.
First and foremost I must comment on the deplorable decorum in the House. I dedicated over three decades in the New Brunswick public school system to teaching children to respect each other and put forward their ideas based on merit, not on name calling and sauciness. A large percentage of the Premier’s speech contained repetitive put downs of the opposition leader. Having been involved in the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools initiative it is evident to me that your party could benefit from reviewing some of this material. (Constant put downs are shameful when expressed by five year olds, but disgusting when uttered by a 53 year old.) I noted that many members of the government were preoccupied tweeting and checking their email. I assume that they also were under whelmed by the Premier Alward’s rant.
It would serve New Brunswickers well if the current government would stop living in the past by blaming everything on the previous government. As we all know EVERY government has made errors, and it is the mandate of the sitting government to move forward. (…or do we need to go way back and drag up the Bernard Lord Government that closed the toll booths on New Brunswick highways and literally set us “on the road” to financial ruin…?)
Premier Alward referred many times to the governments stand on “doing something” about shale gas exploration. He chastised the Opposition for suggesting that thorough, proper research should be completed prior to fracking. Doing something just for the sake of doing something is not responsible stewardship, but it seems to be the mantra of the Alward government. Many New Brunswickers have great concerns about the long term consequences of fracking. What a pity it would be to leave a legacy of destroyed natural resources.
The Premier also spoke about the need for pension reform. We all agree that this is necessary. We also all know that retirees signed many contracts with minimal salary increases in lieu of guaranteed pensions with cost of living allowance adjustments. To not honour those contracts is deceitful. All changes need to be on a go forward basis.
I would like to close by apologizing for the retiree who yelled out “Boo!” and “Liar!” as he was leaving. Though I agree with his sentiment, it was poor decorum for the House, and I was embarrassed…as you should be about the Premier’s speech.