Is it my imagination, or did there not used to be an understanding that if you possibly could, you held off delivering bad personal news to people between mid-November and mid-December?
In recent years, I managed to get myself fired a couple of times in the pre-Christmas period, but I thought that was just the radio business which has never known words like kinder and gentler.
How about them provincial governments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan? Both provinces are dealing with deficits that are heading towards a billion dollars, and that fact seems to be driving Brad Wall and Brian Pallister fairly crazy, to the point that they’re doing bad imitations of Ebeneezer Scrooge. Uncle Brad has been swinging the financial axe for quite a while now, secure in the knowledge that he won’t have to face Saskatchewan voters for more than three years. His government has been grabbing money back from many people, none of whom could ever be mistaken for ‘fat cats’.
I’m talking about folks on welfare, most of whom are classed as unemployable, arts groups and individual artists who always struggle to put bread on the table, and local governments and school boards who are completely at the mercy of the province.
The big driver of all this in Saskatchewan is the huge downtown in the resource sector, which is no longer new, and not likely to turn around anytime soon.
In Manitoba, Premier Pallister is blaming all of his financial headaches on his NDP predecessors. He has even stolen a page from his former federal boss Stephen Harper, branding his administration as Manitoba’s new government. Like Wall’s boys and girls next door, Pallister has begun by targeting all employees in the public sector, and so far it’s a dark cloud that’s not very specific.
The Premier wants to meet with public sector unions to see if everyone can be persuaded to do their part to solve the problem. Good luck.
All in all, it will not be the merriest of Christmases on the prairies this year.
If only the Roughriders or Blue Bombers had won the Grey Cup.
I’m Roger Currie
Photo by Aaron Young