#175 – Sinking Like a Rock

So Newfoundland and Labrador is totally fucked. In the caker media’s reporting of the oil market in Canada Alberta is really the only province that gets coverage. It’s easy to forget that Newfoundland also produces oil, also allowed itself to become dangerous dependent on oil revenues, and is finding itself in a pitiful position because of it. At one point one-third of the Rock’s budget came from oil revenues – that’s totally reasonable, right? And now that the government of Newfoundland is scoring one-fifth of the revenue it once did from oil, the resulting fiscal beatdown is forcing the newly-elected Liberal government of Dwight Ball to already break promises from his election this year. Yeah, because a guy having to make major policy shifts on the fly is a clear demonstration of that person’s merit.

Few Canadians either know or care about Newfoundland, meaning that it’s gone to total shit. A 19th century prison, Newfoundland’s largest, is crumbling; prisoners are regularly hiding shanks amongst exposed rebar. Their version of Ontario’s Liquor Control Board is somehow even worse than the LCBO’s price gouging ways. The province ate a lawsuit because moose are involved in 800 car crashes a year. The province stands accused of doing jack shit about the problem, which sight unseen I’m inclined to believe given that their advice is basically the same as the advice for how not to drive like a moron in general. Tee-hee! It’s being close to wildlife you guys! Never mind that a moose can easily weigh 1000lbs and can wreck your car like fucking Zangief. And don’t think your problems are over when they assemble what’s left of you post moose-smash and take you to the hospital – sterlization of medical tools is apparently a bridge too far for Newfoundland.

li-moose-higgins-620
(s) Pictured: less dangerous than the hospital, probably

But this year saw some of the most pathetic cuts in Newfoundland’s post-Canadian history. Like a book tax. Or dictating when diabetics should check their blood sugars. Or stopping 24-hour plowing of the major highway in the province. When cakers make cuts to mindless driving you know something went wrong. And while it’s pretty easy for cakers to ignore higher education the state of St. John’s Memorial University but that’s in pretty pathetic shape too. Oh, and did I mention that Newfoundland still has a crippling deficit – and that the government is banking on $74 oil to return the province to solvency? If Canada is like the Soviet Union Newfoundland and Labrador is the fucking Turkmenistan of the caker family of provinces. And why has the place been reduced to a cruel joke? Why, because Newfoundland and Labrador can’t think outside of digging shit out of the ground of course!

There’s a lot to dig into with Newfoundland’s history and we’ll be getting into it as I get into it. The Rock’s history in Canada though is one of rampant and constant failure. An overdependence on extraction was Newfoundland’s bread and butter just as it is in Canada, except that Newfoundland got one hell of a wake-up call as to why that isn’t a good idea when the Canadian government lied about the state of the cod fishery and thus oversaw its collapse. Unemployment in the province rocketed to near 17% and the population of the Rock actually declined as people fled what they felt was a hopeless situation. Leaning on extractive industry leaves the province deeply prone to unemployment (currently the stated figure is about 15%) and thus means that income increasingly comes from welfare and social assistance. The results of this in turn are the sort of shit that brings out the Canada-beating bastard brigade in full regalia.

But for now we stick to the present and the sagacity of the caker’s economic mindset. Having learned from the last time that Newfoundland and Labrador collapsed for want of extractive industry, the government at St. John’s immediately turned about to oversee a provincial economy dependent on yet another extractive industry. And we’re supposed to be *shocked* as to why the Rock is feeling the pain. Why diversify when you can leap right back into the pit that sank the province the first time, right?

 

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