Thursday, July 29, 2004

Never Mind the Bullocks....Here Come the NeanderCons

48o 25' 59" North 123o 22' 0" West

How do you make that fine distinction between someone who is extremely economical with the truth and someone who is a liar, plain and simple?

In the case of one of Gordo's favorite fixers, Christy Clark, we'll have to leave it to you, the reader, to decide.

What is clear, however, is that this week Ms. Clark claimed that the Ministry of Child and Family Development budget in 2001 was $180 million, that this year it is $172 million and that next year it will be $182 million.

In other words...everything's fine here.... please return to your regularly scheduled programming and keep your eyes glued to the TV screen while I pull this big wad of cash out of my helmut-hair hat so that I can offer up $5 million of 'new' money to enhance Child Care in the province of British Columbia.

Never mind the fact that this is totally inadequate to even begin to solve the problem. What is really galling is that a good chunk of this money will be used to enhance the funding of unlicensed child-care providers.

Hey Christy, here's a thought....why don't you go all the way and set up funds for drivers who can't drive, or teachers with no training, or, better yet, how about a big whack of cash for people who practice medicine without a license?

As ridiculous as it seems, based on their track record, it's not unreasonable to suggest that Mr. Campbell and his Minions might try to convince us that unregulated, untrained teachers and doctors are actually a good thing.... but driver's?....forget it. After all, drivers are not members of a union or a professional organization (most licensed child care providers are members of both, and while they still make peanuts that's a helluva lot better than the minimum wage empty peanut shell that Clark's no-license policy is designed to 'enhance').

But I digress.

The real question is.....why now?

Why did Clark throw us a useless $5 million bone right now?

Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that she and her (pan)handlers are doing their best to keep the truth from the front pages?

This truth is contained in a report from the provincial Child and Youth Officer, Jane Morely. It is a story that Paul Willcocks has hit out of the park:

"...the warnings are stark. Many people no longer believe the changes (in the Ministry) are even going to happen, and feel betrayed. "The trust and engagement of those who have put energy into the transformation cannot be turned on and off like a tap," she (Morely) reported.

Many on the front-lines believe the government plans are really about cutting costs, not providing better care. "My team and I have heard from many service providers as well as service users and their advocates that budget cuts have reduced communities’ capacity to provide needed services," she found. "Many believe that talk of shared responsibility with communities is code for downloading government financial responsibility."

Unless "real authority and resources continue to be devolved to the regions and through them to communities" the whole process may fail, she warns."

So, just how big have the cutbacks really been? Apparently, the original cut was 23% with a 12% cut this year. According to the BCGEU that's $124 and $63 million 'gone' respectively.

But that's not the half of it, because the finagling of the numbers and the strangling of a system while throwing money down the toilet while you pretend to restructure it (ie. plug 'Doug Walls' and 'CareNet' into Google and see what you get) are really only small potatoes.

Because, as Ms. Clark said this week:

"...changes had to be made to get the Province's fiscal house in order. In child care, she (Clark) said the government had to limit access to control spending".

In other words, help for families in need and kids in trouble not to mention subsidized daycare for single Mom's trying to make ends meet on $10 an hour had to be cut to pay for a massive tax cut that most benefitted who exactly?

The rich, that's who.

And as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said during that last, best golden age of the NeanderCons, "the rich, they're not like you and me".

And neither is Ms. Clark.

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