Budget consultations like terrible game of ‘Would you rather…’

Budget consultations like terrible game of ‘Would you rather…’

New Brunswick — As the date of the Feb. 2 provincial budget approaches, it’s becoming apparent that most citizens don’t want to talk about it and prefer to remain in denial about the serious state of the province’s finances. While continuing to whistle past the proverbial graveyard, New Brunswickers are pleading the government to stop playing mind games with them by asking which terrible choice they prefer.

“Oh my God, if I get one more email asking me which awful measure they should choose, I think I’m going to cry,” moaned New Maryland resident Marie Faillite. “Tax hikes or tolls? Closing hospitals or schools? Teacher layoffs or reduced services? I don’t know; who the hell knows? What is the point of this morbid process?”

Since last year, the Government of New Brunswick has been conducting a Strategic Program Review to attempt to determine how to eliminate the province’s $500-million structural deficit. Last November, it released a “Choices” document that outlined numerous possible methods including a hike in the HST, reducing schools and teachers, as well as tolling the highways.

“If it were easy, we’d have already done it long ago,” said Victor Boudreau. “So, we are faced with a lot of difficult choices to make instead. We need New Brunswickers to weigh in here to tell us what they want us to do, because honestly we don’t know which one will cost us the fewest votes.”

“All of the options being presented are gross,” lamented Sussex millennial Sabrina Fauche. “This time of year is already so dank and depressing; are they trying to push me over the edge or what? It’s like the worst game of ‘Would you rather’ ever.

“Would I rather have no fingernails or no teeth? Would I rather live forever or die in the next five minutes? Would I rather freeze to death or burn to death? Would I rather be an ugly genius or a beautiful moron? I don’t know… I don’t know! There’s no good answer, just leave me alone already!”

Campbellton resident Martin LeBlanc feels defeated by the entire exercise. “It’s like asking me if I’d prefer to be shot in the arm or the leg. My answers might be great for me, but devastating for an entire community. If I’m sick, I’ll say don’t touch hospitals. If I have young kids, I’d say don’t touch schools. If I drive truck for a living, I’d say no tolls. If I’m in the North, I’d say reduce in the South; if I’m in the South I’d say reduce in the North.

“The answers are highly individualistic and specific to each person’s circumstances. In the end, the government will end up doing whatever it wants and saying that everyone was consulted. Stop asking me questions like would I rather have no penis or 5 penises and get on with it.”

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