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A series of rhetorical questions …

September 21, 2008

Why is it that the provincial Liberals are seeking to privatize elements of health care and education — sectors that have professional standards, that are public services, that are fundamental to the well-being and the futures of people in this province — yet they insist on staying in the retail liquor business? Could it be for the same reason that they are also interested in gaming and lotteries: because not only do they not consider guarding people’s well-being as part of their mandate, but they treat that well-being as something to trade off for higher revenue streams? Quite a strategy: get involved in businesses that arguably make people less well, then off-load the cost of heathcare to the citizenry. Er, sorry: to the consumer.

Is their attitude to education much different? Granted a diploma or a degree is not as clear-cut a matter of well-being as cancer treatment or a triple bi-pass, but in terms of life-long health, happiness, and quality of life, education is arguably key. And yet this government seeks to fob off New Brunswickers with less choice, restricted access, programmes determined by the needs of business rather than students’ own aspirations, skills that are too industry- and even company-specific to easily transfer, crumbling infrastructure, programmes that are out of step with the rest of the country, chronic underfunding, and a level of government intervention that chokes the entire system and diminishes its value nationally and internationally.

It’s enough to drive one to despair. How thoughtful that the government has left us drinking and gambling for consulation.


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