Monday, 30 May 2016

Pants on Fire

Pants on Fire

By: Ryan Young

The good people of Newfoundland & Labrador expect a certain level of arrogance and dishonesty from our elected officials. We have become quite accustomed to politicians telling half-truths and in some cases flat-out lies. It has almost become an expected practice, as evidenced by the 55% voter turnout rate last fall. Most times when we hear our politicians lie, we don’t bat an eyelash. The situation we saw unfolding in the House of Assembly last week, however, is not your average fib. It is not one of those white lies that you can write off and sweep under the rug. The revelations coming to light this week are no less than an out and out betrayal of the people at the hands of the premier.

By now, the timeline leading up to Ed Martin’s departure and receiving a hefty $1.4 Million severance package has become common knowledge for most engaged residents of the province. Everyone knew that the whole thing stank, but nobody was overly surprised. The sense of entitlement that Jerry Dean spoke about not so long ago is very real. Mr. Dean just neglected to mention that it does not exist with the average person, but rather the politicians and folks like Ed Martin and Gilbert Bennett who have mastered the art of suckling the government teat without giving back anything meaningful in return. With so many cuts and so much pain in this year’s budget, the whole situation has just left a bad taste in our collective mouths.

As if it wasn’t all too much to take already, then we had the bombshell revelation by David Vardy via Uncle Gnarley, that there was actually no provision in Mr. Martin’s contract for providing him with a severance package since he had resigned instead of being dismissed. Next came the bombshell from the premier while under fire during question period in the House of Assembly that the Board of Directors at Nalcor had actually rejected Mr. Martin’s resignation and chose instead to terminate his contract without cause, making him entitled to his hefty severance plus bonuses. Then they promptly resigned en-masse in order to protect themselves from future scrutiny.

The timeline of what the premier knew and when he knew it is sketchy at best. Dwight Ball promised that when the Department of Justice & Public Safety finished their review that all of the information would be made public. I won’t even get into the merits of the useless review by DPS, but we learned yesterday that the premier has called in the Auditor General to investigate, which is what should have been done back on May 5th or 6th, whenever Ball claims he became aware of the situation.  Now that Terry Paddon has been called in, will the premier release the findings of the DPS review and will he tell us what he knew and when?

CBC reports that according to a statement, the Department of Justice decided that an independent agency needed to conduct an investigation for a "fulsome determination of the issues" to be provided about the ongoing controversy. "Based on this opinion and the public interest I have decided to refer this matter to the Auditor General for an independent review," Ball said in the statement.

Ball and his staff have completely bungled this whole situation. The right and sensible thing to do would have been to be open an honest with the people (as a certain campaign promised) right from the start, instead of trying to cover up the information and lying straight to our faces. Would the premier have made the information regarding the severance public if David Vardy and Des Sullivan had not brought the story to light? I would say doubtful, and that is being generous. He had every opportunity to take the high road and come clean with the public, but instead he decided to hide facts and lie which speaks very much to his character and ability as a premier. The ease with which Dwight Ball can look you in the eye and tell an outright lie may be a quality that has served politicians well in the past, but in the words of one of my favorite British super groups, “We won’t be fooled again.”

At this point it is becoming abundantly clear that Dwight Ball’s premiership is on the ropes. Cathy Bennett and Co. and already lining up and sharpening the knives and it is only a matter of time before the party completely loses confidence in the premier. For Dwight to step aside now and trigger an election within a year would be political suicide for the Liberals, but how long can he hold on when he flat out refuses to be honest with the people? At this point I don’t think there is anything the Liberals can do to win back the trust of the people. That their government will be a one-termer is a given, but how long that term lasts is still to be determined. As long as Dwight Ball’s pants are on fire, it is getting shorter by the day.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Great Defection

The Great Defection

By: Ryan Young

Some may call Paul Lane an opportunist, maybe even a political pariah, but no one should doubt his courage in the light of his announcement yesterday that he would be voting against the budget. Traditionally when a member of the government votes against a confidence motion such as a budget, they either resign or are booted from caucus. If he does not resign, he puts Dwight Ball in a very tough position. If Paul Lane is allowed to vote against the budget and remain in caucus, many others who toed the party line, perhaps at the expense of their future election prospects, will be very upset with the Premier and his leadership. Worst case scenario, it could lead to an all-out caucus revolt.

Now of course this is not the first time that Lane has been at odds with his own party. In January 2014 he resigned from his position as a backbencher with the former PC government due to a lack of confidence in the leadership of then premier Kathy Dunderdale.  The answer he gave for his decision then was much the same as the one he is giving now. His constituents told him that this was what he should do, and he listened. One can question the motives of Mr. Lane and others like him who cross the floor, but an MHA’s ultimate responsibility is to the people of their district. In that regard Paul Lane may be the most successful politician we have ever had. Lane hasn’t gone anywhere yet, but if he does cross the floor he will be the first person to ever do so twice. I don’t know if that is a good record or a bad one, but if nothing else it proves that Paul Lane is not afraid to go his own way.

So what does it all mean in the grand scheme of things? At this point it is too early to tell for sure, but we can expect that the Liberals will move to vote on the budget sooner rather than later. Paul Lane will be propped up as a champion of the people and be paraded in the media as a hero. If the other backbench MHA’s who are wearing down under the pressure see him getting so much praise, they might consider crossing the floor themselves. I have heard rumblings from several insiders who say that several MHA's have been weighing their options. If the budget vote does not happen fast, there may be more Liberal casualties as a result of this defection.

So where does Paul Lane go now? Back to the Tories may seem like a logical fit at first glance, but I don’t think that will happen. Even though he could probably un-burn that bridge, the current PC caucus does not seem like a natural fit for Lane. The NDP is also unlikely but perhaps not out of the realm of possibility. They would be certainly more than willing to accept him into the fold, but doing so may make it harder to get re-elected based on recent NDP results in Mount Pearl. More likely, he will sit as an independent, at least for now. There is no reason for him to rush his decision. There is no obvious successor to power as was the case when he left the PC caucus for the Liberals. By sitting as an independent he can buy himself time to do some soul-searching and gauge the will of the people in his district before making a final decision.

With a grassroots movement for change gaining momentum daily, Lane might be wise to wait it out and sit as an independent house insider for the ever growing numbers of people who are getting fed up with our revolving door party system. The pushback from the people for change has never been so hard and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new, legitimate challenger appear before the next election.  If Paul Lane is really a man of his people, he might decide to go down that road and become a true champion of the grassroots. Anyone who has followed Paul’s career would know that he has always been a supporter of the “little guy.” An independent voice of the people in the House of Assembly might just be the perfect fit for him.  In any case, the voters of Mount Pearl South will not forget his decision to listen. They will likely remember his decision most at the voting box, just as they did last fall.

Finally, what does this mean for the Liberal Party? They will will pass it off as being no big deal to lose one member on such a controversial vote. They may even get away with it as long as Lane is the only one. If others start crossing with him, however, Dwight Ball might have a bigger problem on his hands than he bargained for. It would be unprecedented and extremely unlikely for him to lose the other ten MHA’s it would take to lose the government on a confidence vote, but once the floodgates open there is no telling what might happen. This is #nlpoli after all. The most likely scenario is that the Liberals might lose one or two more members before the dust settles on budget 2016, but ultimately most will continue to toe the party line and the budget will pass. If they had all remained united, the party might have even have been able to overcome this negative budget before the next election came around. Unfortunately, however, Paul Lane’s defection will serve as a constant reminder to the voters of how many MHA’s failed to listen and voted in favor of the budget.

*Author's Note (4:55pm May 19th, 2016) : Since this post was published, Paul Lane has been removed from the Liberal caucus and will now sit as an Independent MHA. For more visit:

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Jerry Dean and the Out of Touch Liberals

Jerry Dean and the Out of Touch Liberals

By: Ryan Young

“Let’s talk about blame.” That’s what Exploits MHA Jerry Dean said during his statement last night at the late sitting of the House of Assembly. After proceeding to blame everyone from Joey Smallwood to Brian Peckford to Clyde Wells to Danny Williams, Dean delivered the jaw dropping bombshell that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are to blame for this budget. To quote Jerry Dean directly: “Everybody here tonight and everybody throughout this province, it’s time for all of us to take the blame.” He went on to say “we collectively, the current population and previous populations are to blame.”

Now granted, politicians say plenty of stupid things, it is kind of their forte, but the level of arrogance and contempt in Mr. Dean’s statement is absolutely unacceptable. How dare an elected member of the people’s house stand up and blame those same people for the mess that has been created. Does he not understand why people are rising up and taking action all around the province? If there is any blame to be taken by the people it is that we did not start standing up against this type of arrogance and contempt sooner. But here we are, better late than never. Mr. Dean can stand up in the house and blame the people all he wants because the tables have turned and the people are no longer willing to be the victims. His time in government will be as short lived as the amount of thought that went into the preparation of his statement. Just as fast as the red tide rose, it is now receding and the Liberals should be reminded that we have long political memories. That is the reason they were stuck in opposition for twelve long years. By the time the dust settles next time, they will be lucky not to be the third party or worse.

If Jerry and his blame game tirade was an isolated incident, then maybe we could move past it and write it off as the frustrations of one weak MHA who is cracking under the pressure. Sadly, however, this is not the case. Every day the Liberals step up to the microphone and add more ammo to the cause due to their utter inability to connect with the common folk. Take Cathy Bennett and her comments about the junk food tax. Her excuse was that nobody else in Canada was doing it and that it would be too complicated to administer. What happened to all of that outside the box thinking the Liberals promised us during the election campaign? By saying we can’t try it because nobody else has tried it is the ultimate cop out. We need more funding for health care and here is a great idea of how to get it, but Minister Bennett refuses to even entertain the idea. We already have specialized taxation like the deposit we pay on bottles. The implementation of that program went smoothly, and it soon started adding millions of dollars in revenues for the province. Does it have anything to do with the fact that Minister Bennett makes her money from the very products that will be taxed? Some people seem to think so. It is unlikely, however, that people would eat less junk if it was taxed. It would just be a straight up money grab, which is why I find it very hard to understand why we don’t give it a whirl in our time of need.

Oh and then there is Education Minister Dale Kirby telling us that cutting teachers and combining classrooms will have no effect on outcomes or that closing more than half of our libraries will help to improve literacy rates in the province.  His latest attempt at defending Liberal incompetence was shaming parents for setting a bad example to their children by protesting. Yes, we are talking about the same former protester Dale Kirby, who dedicated most of his adult his life to standing up for education and literacy, until he was given the opportunity to actually do something about it and make real change. I guess Mr. Kirby would rather us teach our children that it is better to get through life by living a lie and saying what you need to say to get where you want to be, than to stand up for what is right, even when it means making real tough choices. For a bunch that talk about “tough choices” like it is the ultimate buzzword, they don’t seem to have any real grasp on what the term actually means.

Siobhan Coady says that the people just don’t understand the budget, and Neil King feels that it is not fair that he has to lower himself to listening to the criticism of his constituents. In each and every district, people are asking their MHAs for changes to this budget and they are being treated with pure political platitudes and disdain. They seem to have the idea that the people just don’t know what is good for them. The arrogance they are showing is not just to outsiders though. It is also being directed at the people who supported them and helped them get elected. These are the people who organized events and got people out to them.  These are the ones who made phone calls and drove voters to the polls. These are the people that the Liberals need to keep close and instead they are treating them like lowly peasants and dismissing their concerns out of hand. To see how much tensions are really rising within the party, just look at the dissension in Bay of Islands where the president of the district association resigned in disgust. From everything I have heard from long-time Liberal supporters, they are disappointed and angry with the communication thus far from government. Like the rest of us they want to be taken seriously and have their concerns heard. Instead their MHAs are turning a blind eye and a deaf ear.

The continued lack of communication and outright arrogance on display from this government is adding fuel to the fire and I fear that if we have to hear any other announcements such as wealthy judges getting a pay raise that the anger will boil over into something negative. Just yesterday, in two separate incidents in the House of Assembly, visitors to the gallery were unable to hold back their disgust and spoke out in opposition to the blatant disrespect shown by our government. I was able to speak with one of the visitors, Adam Pitcher, who spoke out and left the gallery yesterday, to try and report the true story of the events as they happened since the mainstream media reports seem to have differed in their versions of what actually happened.

Mr. Pitcher said:

On 10 May, around 2pm in the afternoon session, MHA Lorraine Michael was presenting a petition about library closures, and was talking about how the government is attacking residents of the province with this budget. Members of the Liberal party either walked away or were milling about on their phones and iPads, and having conversations with each other. Cathy Bennett and the Speaker, Tom Osborne, were having their own conversation. Nobody was listening to the speaking MHA at all. This is standard behavior, though it is rarely, if ever, shown on the public television feed. You can hear it though.

One visitor in the gallery, after the MHA finished speaking, spoke up and told the Liberal MHAs that they “should be listening,”, and that they’re being paid over $90,000 and “should be listening to her.”

The Speaker of the House advised, “Visitors to the gallery are welcome to observe the proceedings of the House, ah, but they are not to-”

“They should be listening!” called the visitor again.

“Visitors to the gallery are permitted to observe the proceedings of the House, but are not to demonstrate or to participate in the proceedings on the floor,” said the Speaker. “I ask visitors to the gallery to be respectful of the proceedings in the House of Assembly.”

“Do you think their behavior is respectful?” I called out.

“These are petitions that we are signing,” said the first visitor.

“These people are trying to destroy our province and they’re not even listening,” I said.

“Over $90,000 is a waste of our money, for each of you,” the first visitor finally called out.

“I would ask that the visitors in the gallery that are disrupting the proceedings to leave,” replied the Speaker.

At this point the first visitor was on his way out, and I was leaving behind him when a security guard put his hand on my shoulder, when I unexpectedly said more loudly than I wish I had, “This is f***ing bullshit anyway.” I also called out “shame” as I was leaving.

I’m fully aware of the potential negative public reaction to profanity. It was certainly never my intention to say anything at all in the House that day, and I certainly do not condone the use of profanity in protest - however I do not apologize for what was said. Perhaps, as one person said, there has never been a more appropriate use for the word “bullshit.” 

If this government was in tune with the people who elected them, they would realize that the anti-government movement that has been sparked by this budget is growing and not fizzling out as many predicted. With members like Dale Kirby and Jerry Dean continuing to fan the flames with outrageous comments and statements, the mood of the people continues to swing against them. They may feel comfortable in their four year majority mandate, but perhaps while they are ignoring petitions in question period, they can get on the line with Kathy Dunderdale and ask her how quickly things can fall apart. If they continue to treat the people like children acting out of turn, they may quickly find that the will of the people united is stronger than electoral law. If any of these members, especially backbenchers with no pension, want to have some real job security in their future, they might want to think about listening to some of what their constituents have to say. The people have had their fill of arrogance and they are not going to stand idle and watch this new government act exactly like the old government after waiting so long for change. They should open the windows at Confederation Building for the next rally. Not only will they be able to better hear what the people are saying, but they may catch that new smell that is in the air in Newfoundland and Labrador, the smell of change.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Minister Kirby, Please Don’t Close Our Libraries

Minister Kirby, Please Don’t Close Our Libraries

By: Ryan Young

The decision to close 54 libraries to save $1 Million as part of this year’s budget cuts may be the most unpopular thing that our provincial government has ever done as part of a budget measure. As mad as people are about the increased taxes and fees or the levy, the cutting of more than half of the libraries in the province cuts right to the heart of Newfoundlander's and Labradoreans. People are gearing up for more public protests and the literary community has promised to “rise up” against this attack on literacy. The NLLA started an online campaign to Save NL Libraries that has grown to almost 2000 followers in just a few days and they are just getting started. The writing seems to be on the wall – pun intended – for the Liberals. The battle to save our libraries has only just begun.

Just last week, Education Minister Dale Kirby publicly stated that he believes that closing libraries will actually help to improve our dismal literacy rates. The government position is that our literacy programs were not having good success and as such keeping the libraries open didn’t make sense. There was no mention of how our libraries were underfunded already and that the government does not have a viable strategy to deal with the issue of literacy rates. That was conveniently left out of the discussion as Minister Kirby seemingly abandoned the past principals that he had developed while in opposition as a vocal supporter of our children and our libraries. When Paddy Daly pressed him on VOCM Openline last Friday on how his position could change so much in such a short time, the answer given by the minister was that he had the luxury of criticizing while in opposition because he did not have all of the facts that he has now. I don’t know if Mr. Kirby realizes what a bold admission that was. It is not often that we have a Minister willing to publicly admit that they were basically full of it while on the opposition side. The irony is not lost on me personally, as just last fall I sat in on a panel discussion that featured Minister Kirby, Lorraine Michael, and then PC minister Clyde Jackman. In one feisty exchange, Mr. Jackman told Kirby that thinks look different from the government side when hard decisions have to be made. The answer from Dale Kirby was along the lines of “we’ll see.” Well indeed we are seeing, and it looks to me that the vision at the top has not changed at all.

All of the comments I have heard from the education minister have revolved around no loss of service. He tells us that children would still be able to drive to a library a half hour away or order books through the mail. He says that communities may be able to step in and save their libraries through their own initiatives. What he doesn’t tell us is that 15% of the population will now be up to an hour or more away from the nearest library. He also doesn’t tell us that many of the people who use local libraries are low income earners who don’t have the means to travel to use a computer to complete an assignment or pay a bill or check in with loved ones. He doesn’t talk about the reading circles and the early learning programs that are hosted by our libraries to the great benefit of our children. He doesn’t talk about the adult reading programs that have changed lives all across this province. Most of all he doesn’t talk about how the libraries are so important to their communities. Libraries are a place to gather and share and learn. Libraries are about so much more than books, they are essential to the very fabric that holds our rural towns together. Closing these libraries for such meager savings is wrong for so many reasons and it is just one more example of how our elected officials are so out of touch with the needs the people.

I don’t think that Dale Kirby has suddenly become a bad person or lost his marbles. I still hold a great deal of respect for him as an educator and an intellectual. I have always felt that he is very well spoken and his points are generally always well researched and on-point. I have had the pleasure of personally speaking with the Minister many times and I have always felt that he was one of the few people in government that truly “gets it.” For many people his sudden turnaround comes as a shock, but if you understand how our revolving door party system works, you already know that long-term vision in government is limited to the end of the current election term. We can be angry with Minister Kirby, but at the end of the day what choices does he have? He is simply personifying everything that is wrong with party politics. Word from above said to find cuts and cuts were found. Despite everything we throw at him about what he said in opposition, he has no choice but to go along for the ride. Like many before him he most likely believes that this pain is just a short-term sacrifice that will lead to the opportunity to make positive changes in the future. It is a great and noble idea, but sadly one that has been embraced many times before. Most politicians gets involved in public life for the right reasons, but those reasons always find a way to get pushed aside in the quest to stay in power and toe the party line.

One positive story worth mentioning was hearing Liberal back-bencher Scott Reid speaking out about the need to revisit library closures. After connecting with communities and volunteers in his district, he quickly learned how valuable libraries were to these communities and that the residents of his district were not about to accept the closures without a fight. It is never an easy decision to speak out against a party decision and Mr. Reid deserves credit for standing up and sharing the frustrations of his constituents.

The Liberals have failed miserably in their attempt to communicate this budget but I am not sure that they understand just where they failed. With so many cuts, the people needed to be shown a long-term plan to justify such harsh measures and they need to know how they plan to rebuild. Without that we are left wondering; “what’s next?” Closing libraries or taxing books are not the answers to any of our problems. It is an easy way to achieve meager savings but is it really worth what is lost? I know the two have absolutely nothing to do with one another, but when you see Ed Martin walking away from Nalcor with a severance pay of nearly $1.4 Million while we close 54 libraries to save $1 Million, it is hard for human nature to not connect the two and feel angry. Our children are already beginning to bear the brunt of bad decisions and how far will it go unless we take a stand and say enough is enough? Do what you can to stand up and demand that our libraries stay open. Write the minister and your MHA, support the NLLA, go to a public protest, or maybe best of all get your child to write a letter or postcard to Minister Kirby at Confederation Building to let him know what he is doing is hurting our children. It might not change his mind but the message will be loud and clear. We need our libraries.

You can send your mail to:
Dale Kirby
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
3rd Floor, West Block
Confederation Building
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL
A1B 4J6

Phone: (709) 729-5040
Fax: (709) 729-0414

For more information about Save NL Libraries visit:

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Red Tide Recedes as the Grassroots Rise

The Red Tide Recedes as the Grassroots Rise

By: Ryan Young

I don’t think that either Dwight Ball or Cathy Bennett realized what they were doing when they tabled the latest provincial budget on April 14th. It probably didn’t look too bad on paper, just a series of revenue actions and expenditure actions.  They probably expected a bit of blow-back and resistance, but nothing of the magnitude they have seen dropped at their doorstep over the past two weeks. People are making noise and have become politically charged to the likes of which we haven’t seen here since Danny’s flag flap roused our inner nationalism back in ‘04. Liberal approval ratings have dropped a full twenty points since the budget dropped, with both the PC’s and NDP almost pulling even with the big red juggernaut that came to power just five months ago in a landslide election victory. The tide is turning on the Liberals, but unfortunately for them, and ultimately us, they don’t understand how big and bad things have gotten, let alone how much worse they are about to get.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows politics in this province that the Liberals are now looking like a bunch of moose caught in the headlights up on the Viking Trail. They don’t know what to do. They just can’t understand why people are so mad at them for trying to clean up the mess left by the Tories. They can’t seem to clue in on the fact that people are frustrated with the rhetoric and they want straight answers from the Premier and their MHA’s. Unfortunately, straight answers are not generally offered by party politicians, least of all the current incarnation of Joey’s Liberals.

For anyone who has listened to Dwight Ball speak since he became Liberal leader in 2013, there should be absolutely no surprise at the way he dances around questions like some weird, tongue-flamenco mutant. The man has not answered a straight question since he entered in politics. Mums the word for Dwight and he is the master at duck and cover politics. It has become painfully obvious to all but the most partisan supporters that the Liberals never had a plan to begin with. In fact they never even really tried to make us believe they did. They promised to make lots of plans to make plans, but what they have put together for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador is exactly what Minister Bennett accused the opposition of weaving in the House of Assembly, a tapestry of bologna.

The saddest part about it all is that the Liberals insist that the budget backlash is a communications problem. Well I agree. The communication problem is that they are not willing to listen to the people of the province when they stand up and say “no!” As the people have been quick to remind the premier this week, if you can't listen, you can't lead.Thousands have marched and rallied all across the island and in Labrador to protest this budget and the Liberal deceit and yet Education Minister Dale Kirby dismissed their concerns as” nonsense.” If 10 000 union and grassroots activists converge on Confederation Building next Saturday will they call that nonsense too? The unions have already booked the buses and are calling in all the troops to ramp up the “Dwight-Lied” campaign. I expect that the shouts of the protesters that day won’t be able to be so easily ignored. If Dwight Ball wants to keep leading, he better learn to listen.

Let us not forget that this is a government that was swept to power on the sole merit of not being the Tories. They promised a more open and transparent government and they promised that they would work with the people to come up with solutions. They even spent millions of taxpayer dollars promoting their silly Government Renewal project, offering the illusion of democracy, while at the same time selling out those who elected them to be their protectors. I wonder if Dale Kirby realized that his “nonsense” comment was a direct echo of the arrogance and disdain that we endured under the PCs for all those years. I doubt it. The common sense train seems to have left the station right about the same time he tried to explain to us poor simple folk how closing libraries would actually improve our abysmal literacy rates. It makes it easier to understand how they put this budget together when you start to realize just how stupid they think we are. The Liberals can do their best to keep defending the budget but they should have opened the window at the last rally to hear a thousand angry people saying that they won’t be fooled again. For the ones who have not yet earned their pensions the fear should be very real by now.

I was privileged to be a part of the most recent march and rally on April 29th. I have been involved in protests and marches before, I even marched with a crowd of thousands in Ottawa during the occupy movement in 2011. While each of those experiences was special, the buzz in the air as a thousand people marched upon Confederation Hill was something I had never experienced before. These were not union leaders and politicians, they were real people. Seniors and students, moms and dads, locals and CFA’s all marching side by side. It was the first time I have ever witnessed such a grassroots display of solidarity in our province in my lifetime, and it really brought home how much this budget is going to affect everyone. People are tired of bearing the brunt of the burden. The arrogance is so great on the 8th floor that they don’t even notice that real people are getting mad enough to stand up and take action. People are tired of being lied to and taken for fools. One of the speakers, Gemma Hickey summed it up the best when she said: “We went from have-not, to have, to been had.”

If the Liberals think this movement is going to fizzle out, they may be more out of touch with reality than I thought. A multitude of protests and rallies have already been held all across the province and even more are being planned for the coming weeks and months. That anger will be helped along when the gas tax kicks up in June and when the levy starts hitting paychecks on July 1st, the same day that we are supposed to be honoring the bravest of all Newfoundlander's and Labradoreans for their great sacrifice. And if that is not enough to fan the flames over the summer, Cathy Bennett has promised another budget in the fall. With lots of public sector layoffs expected and even more cuts, the Liberals should be preparing for a long four years. If the next two budgets are anything like this one, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of pitchforks and an angry mob. The grassroots are rising and people have had enough. As much as this budget stinks, it has inspired people to work and come together in search of the real change that we have been swindled out of so many times before. Our time is now Newfoundland and Labrador. This is your home, stand up and fight for it!