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Non-productive responses


Dear Editor: What is the developing phenomenon with this present provincial government and occasional town employee who feel that they must reply to every negative anti-government comment, whether it be municipal or provincial. I refer to letters such as this one below from Trevor Taylor taking Mayor Gerry Bromley of Conche to task for daring to complain about the 26 km of gravel road from Conche to Roddickton on the Northern Peninsula.

Dear Editor:

What is the developing phenomenon with this present provincial government and occasional town employee who feel that they must reply to every negative anti-government comment, whether it be municipal or provincial.

I refer to letters such as this one below from Trevor Taylor taking Mayor Gerry Bromley of Conche to task for daring to complain about the 26 km of gravel road from Conche to Roddickton on the Northern Peninsula.

I have experienced this type of response myself to letters I have written to the editor of various newspapers from a Grand Falls-Windsor town staff member who even rang one private citizen and told him he should have contacted his department before he wrote his letter.

I also received a response from a provincial member who I hope never again makes the mistake of chastising me privately by letter. I give fair warning now that I make no apology for my viewpoints and I certainly will not be tutored on such issues by those to whom I pay a salary.

The number of times this has happened makes me think that our government members, especially cabinet members, seem to think they hold some sacrosanct position from which they may liberally, or in this case conservatively, dispense advice to the subservient masses.

Now granted our humble letters to the editor may not be works of genius nor the epitome of accuracy, quite often due to the fact that all levels of government tend to act in camera, but what such critics of the public opinion must realize is that every citizen, in an open democracy, has the freedom to voice whatever he thinks to be an honest opinion as long as he does not maliciously slander anyone.

Just look at the patronizing tone of Trevor Taylor, MHA for the Straits-White Bay North and Minister of Transportation and Works, in his letter.

"Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor in the June 15 edition of the Pen by Conche Mayor Gerry Bromley re: the 26 km gravel road from Conche to the Roddickton branch.

I was quite disappointed to read that Mayor Bromley feels that because the road will not be paved this summer, Conche has "not been recognized" nor has it been treated fairly by the Williams government. The Town of Conche is one of 42 communities in the district of The Straits-White Bay North. In the last five years from 2004-09, Conche received 31 per cent of the $16.5-million allotted to the region under the Provincial Roads Improvement Program. The numbers, as they say, don't lie, and clearly with this government, Conche has gotten its share when it comes to roads funding.

As Mayor Bromley surely knows, the Provincial Roads Improvement Program (this year valued at $70.7-million) addresses road infrastructure priorities throughout the province. It is not an endless pot of money and all regions of the province have needs. These needs and wants cannot be addressed in one year.

This government is aware of the state of the gravel road to Conche and while we understand the frustration of some in the community, their resentment is more appropriately directed to former governments and MHAs who barely spent a copper on Conche for decades. It is obvious, in the eyes of people like Gerry Bromley, a person is only as good as their last yes."

If you examine this epistle to the masses carefully, you will note that underneath it all lies an implicit threat for future funding because not once did Mr. Taylor assure the mayor it will be done in 2010, 2011, etc. He expresses his personal disappointment in Mayor Bromley. He reminds him of the "unfair share" Conche already got - 31 per cent followed by "it's not an endless pot of money." Here he is possibly setting Mayor Bromley up for a rejection next time Conche applies for funding. Then, after having paid (respect) to his master in this earlier statement, it (Conche) has been treated fairly by the Williams government, Mr. Taylor can't resist a little anti-Liberal dig.

Really, Mr. Taylor achieved nothing of a positive governmental nature in this letter, but intended to fire a shot across Mayor Bromley's bow. I firmly believe that is all those personal letters to outspoken private citizens is meant to do - to scarce people and stifle their opinions. I find this very sickening when it comes from provincial ministers and really amusing when it comes from (people) in economic development positions, as I experienced here in Grand Falls-Windsor.

I can't speak for Mayor Bromley of Conche but I can tell you such tactics just inspire me to become more voluminous and more prolific. I never give in to intimidation of any sort and that is why I took our Grand Falls-Windsor town council to court about 10 years ago when it decided to borrow $1.6 million in the name of our taxpayers to erect an IT building for an American company.

I could not believe our town council felt so omnipotent that it would dare do such a thing .We definitely need more Henry David Thoreaus in our midst.

Aubrey Smith

Grand Falls-Windsor

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