Opinion: Jim Furlong’s Reflections on the PERT Report

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You know there is not a lot more to be said about the Greene Report or PERT (Premiers Economic Recovery Team). Reactions are playing out like a ballet. Everyone knows the steps.

Perhaps we should not have been surprised. Support for PERT has not been overwhelming at least from “parties in interest.”

The PCs and the NDP both had issues with Premier Furey’s videotaped reaction release. Well, so what? Taped or not taped is not the big issue facing Newfoundland and Labrador right now. There are other things that need attention. Simply put, the big issue is layoffs, taxes, service reductions, and alternatives. Political parties and unions do not like that conversation.

Photo: Antonia Whelan

‘PUNCH IN THE GUT’

From NAPE (Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees) to the NLTA (Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association) to MUNFA (Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association) and all points in between labour organizations are seeking to protect what they have.

That’s exactly what is NOT needed now, but by definition, labour organizations are self-interested. Dean Ingram of the NLTA representing the province’s teachers said the Greene Report was like “a punch in the gut.”

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He said the report had suggestions that will “devastate communities especially in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.” Here is a news flash. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador is already devastated.

Whole sections have emptied out. The question now in education is how many teachers and how many schools we need to provide services or, stated more bluntly, can we afford to provide the same services as in the past? That’s true with education. It’s certainly true in the health care system, which is performing poorly and costs too much.

THE GREENE FAMILY

Moya Greene Photo: Submitted

As an aside, here’s my personal reaction to NAPE and some words said. While their position is not unexpected, I should add that I did not like references to “Dame Greene of the United Kingdom” as if her place of residence made a difference.

I hope that does not catch on in Alberta where so many Newfoundlanders work. Moya Greene by the way was briefly with NTV. I knew her as being sharp as a tack. Her brother Austin also worked in the NTV newsroom. He was one of our best reporters and moved on to CTV. Austin and Moya’s dad also ran our engineering department. That is the Greene family I know from LeMarchant Road in St. John’s.

To say Dame Moya Greene is from the United Kingdom is not quite fair. I just hate when people try to play that card. It adds nothing to the argument.

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Where is there good news? Last weekend the NTV “Question of the Week” showed overwhelming support for the government acting and acting quickly on the Greene Report. It was a straw poll, but it is where I think things are. At least I hope so.

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: jfurlong@ntv.ca. For more by Jim Furlong, click here!

For more information about the ‘Big Reset’, click here to view the full report, or click here for the executive summary.

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