NB Liberals pissing everyone off again

Fredericton — Less than a year since the last election, the New Brunswick Liberals are being forced to admit that once again they are pissing everyone off. “Of course it’s not something we planned,” admitted Premier Brian Gallant. “It’s just something we seem to do, I guess. We get into power and start rapidly making changes that really annoy folks. Who needs a honeymoon, am I right?”

The latest example of this phenomenon was evident earlier this week when Minister of Social Development Cathy Rogers rushed to reveal additional details about their new policy on the cost of nursing-home care. The sooner-than-planned announcement was made in an attempt to placate New Brunswick seniors who were upset with new requirements for increased contributions for care. The new calculations will take into account additional liquid assets, but exclude RRSPs, RRIFs and luxuries such as cottages and boats. The Liberals are also increasing premiums for seniors using the Medavie Blue Cross Seniors Prescription Drug Program.

liberalrage“The easiest group to piss off is seniors and we definitely nailed it,” said Rogers. “I’ve been getting snail mail and faxes non-stop for weeks. Some seniors are even calling us ‘long distance in prime-time’ to complain, even though that’s not really a thing anymore. It just goes to show that if you piss off a retired person, they have nothing better to do than to make your life a living hell until the government backtracks and make concessions.”

Since the 2015-2016 provincial budget was unveiled on March 31, New Brunswickers have been growing increasingly pissed off with the Gallant government. The budget included the cancellation of the tuition tax credit, reductions of almost 300 teachers, closing some SNB locations and increasing taxes on gasoline. Also, the Liberals are continuing plans to close schools with low enrollment as well as contracting out hundreds of jobs in the province’s hospitals, angering both parents and public-sector unions.

The previous Graham government also made relatively rapid changes to address long-standing problems without any significant consultation, including the sale of NB Power and changes to the French immersion program. By contrast, the Alward government was often accused of seeking feedback from New Brunswickers so often that citizens avoided eye contact when they saw their local MLA in public. In the end, despite their best efforts and careful planning, the Tories still ended up annoying the hell out of everyone and losing the last provincial election.

New Brunswick political watchers again are puzzled by the public relations tactics employed by the premier’s office. “Everyone was bracing themselves for the HST increase and reluctantly accepted that in advance, but they didn’t even do that. Instead they did a bunch of changes that people didn’t see coming at all,” said Tim Hortons customer Trevor McQuinn.

Mike Adair, another pundit at the coffee shop, had similar observations. “We really expected the government to talk endlessly about the problems and throw out a bunch of proposed solutions for us to bitch about before they actually did something. Once again, the Liberals are skipping the part where we get to complain about every idea they have before they actually do some half-measure that is a token solution to the problem that also half-addresses our inevitable complaints. I just don’t get it.”

When asked what changes the pundits would like to see, there was consensus that government should do only “good” changes, no “bad” changes, and still provide every government service everywhere exactly how each person wants it to be delivered. Also, lower taxes and a balanced budget.

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