The proximate cause of this crisis of course, the cratering of world oil prices. A 2/3rds drop from the projected price of your primary revenue generator will do that to you

#COVIDー19 shutting down NFLD’s tourism industry also plays a role. But the real problems go deeper
Other provinces fret about the coming ‘demographic bomb’ that will see public finances strained to pay for skyrocketing health care costs of an aging population

Long before the current crisis the Newfoundland demographic bomb had already exploded
So yes, the deck has been stacked against Newfoundland largely due to forces outside its control & the province will at some point r require a large federal bailout in order to provide even basic services

But a first step should be looking in at what we CAN control...
...take the size of Newfoundland’s public sector relative to the private sector is also out of control. 29% of workers in Newfoundland are in the public sector. The overall Canadian average is just 20%

Ironically, the only recent Premier to even attempt to right-size Newfoundland’s toxic finances was @DwightBallNL

Unfortunately he was beaten back by the fairy tales woven by the usual suspects: the protest mongering activists & public sector unions
Now I’m a proud Newfoundlander but I’m also self-aware when it comes to a toxic part of our political culture - the corrosive habit of blaming ‘Canada’ for our problems

We even launched a Royal Commission to channel this passive-aggressive grievance
Later, we elected a power-abusing, narcissistic, self-dealing proto-Trump named Danny Williams who used this grievance culture to build a personality cult that included convincing Newfoundlanders that our problems were all Stephen Harper’s fault
In fairness Williams was about more than just thuggery & jingoism - he also was a profligate & reckless fiscal manager who squandered NFLD’s boom times, rather than prepare for an inevitable downturn

He must share in the blame for this predicament
Newfoundland can’t be allowed to default

As I understand it a belief that Ottawa’s strong fiscal position backstops weaker provincial balance sheets helps struggling provinces raise money in capital markets

Shattering that belief & letting a province fail would be ruinous
The politics of a bailout will surely suck. In fact, any intervention by the federal government to save Newfoundland will create new strains on an already fracturing confederation

Other are also hurting. What will an out-of-work Albertan think about the outlay required?
I love my homeland. I will be proud to call myself a Newfoundlander until the day I die

But I will not forgive a political class that has become far too comfortable ignoring fiscal realities while blaming outsiders for the consequences of their own decisions
We have a public health & economic crisis in front of us. This, rightly, will occupy policy makers for some time

But when the crisis ends, the world will be different. Newfoundland will be different. I hope all of us ensure that the changes ahead are for the better
You can follow @davidptarrant.
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