Fredericton — Last week, Premier Brian Gallant announced major changes to senior government management in New Brunswick. The number of departments is being decreased, and 5 so-called “priority bots” are being constructed in the underground science lab of the legislature.
“They’ll be up an running as early as the end of the week,” said Gallant this morning at a packed press conference on the lawn outside the legislature. “The 5 bots will focus on important things we’ve until now been too busy cutting ribbons at call centres to think about: job creation, education, and better services for families.”
Gallant went on to explain that the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Energy and Mines will be merged into a new “Department of Energy and Resource Development”; the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Safety will become a single “Department of Justice and Public Safety.” Other departments will be shrinking and merging as well.
The 5 bots are as follows: the Jobs Priority bot, the Education Priority bot, the Families Priority bot, the Federal-Provincial Relations Priority bot, and the Fiscal Responsibility and Strategic Program Review Priority bot.
“The bots’ job will be to oversee and to help streamline the work of our new departments,” said Gallant. “People who have become redundant, such as Denis Landry and Donald Arseneault, will be let go and their tasks given to the robots. We genuinely believe that these bots — which are all functionally bilingual and can do an entire day’s work in just 8 hours — will make the New Brunswick government the most efficient and envied in all of Canada.”
The New Brunswickers we spoke with had mixed reactions to the announcement.
“All I want to know is, what about Service New Brunswick? I hope there’s going to be a bot to replace that useless barge of a system,” said Fredericton man Ryan Harris. “Even if the robot had like, zero functions and just told people to take a number and wait in line… I bet it would at least be friendly.”
“I’m pretty sure Gallant is a robot,” mused Sylvia Boies of Saint John. “Think about it — he always looks the same, he repeats the same non-answers to every question, he doesn’t care about real human lives. Maybe he just wants more of his own kind for company?”
The bots will have different settings depending on the task they’re entrusted with: the default setting, “listen,” will be employed to field complaints from the public, and to do nothing about them. The “take action” setting, which so far has not been perfected by the scientists at the legislature, will be used when the premier needs to make an unpleasant announcement; the robot will take questions from the media, make important decisions and announce changes, so the premier doesn’t have to.
“These robots are going to revolutionize my job,” said Gallant, moving his left arm stiffly for some reason and jerking his head awkwardly toward the cameras. “Finally, I have workers that are destined only to do my bidding and obey my commands… destroy… destroy… destroy…”