Thursday, March 05, 2009

NL Separatism: Yes We Can't

When George Baker told the public that he would encourage NL separatism, it again, raised some questions like, "Where would the money come from to pay out EI benefits to the 14% of people in the province?"; "If we can't afford to offer nurses a competitive salary now to even fill the 1000+ vacant nursing jobs that currently exist, then how would that improve being separated?"; "How about paying the old age pension to seniors - can an independent NL fund that?"

Newfoundland and Labrador is nowhere near to being in the position that Alberta is, having paid off their debt years ago, and oil surpluses year after year. NL has over $10 billion in debt, which at the rate we are going will take 20-40 years to pay off. Keep in mind that a project like the Lower Churchill, which if NALCOR has it's way, would like to see a couple of national parks dissected by hydro lines and towers, would cost at least $10 billion dollars. Also keep in mind any in-migration to the province is hardly because the jobs are so plentiful. Lay offs from Alberta's oil field are a factor there. So otherwise, the population has been sliding down for many years now.

It would be nice to think that our province is in such a magnificent position to even imagine being independent without help from anyone else, but that's not reality. The province has indeed come into oil money in recent years, and it's a good feeling to at least experience for one year, being a "have" province, but that status will at best be intermittent over the next 10-20 years. The "have" status will be disappearing after this year for who knows how long. Many would also like to think that an NL threat of independence would give more torque to NL's position on the Lower Churchill development, either getting federal help, or by getting Quebec to give us a break on running a line through that province.

The Telegram's article on George Baker's remarks predictably sent commenters' fingers a typin'. One commenter put it this way,
"Count me down as a separtist...that is...If this BlocNL BS progresses and a separtist movement becomes more mainstream in NL, my family will be separating from NL - permanantly."

If you think the province is in bad shape now, it will seem like paradise compared to a separated NL. Get back to reality Mr. Baker, it's a waste of time, energy and emotion.

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