This is the way of government largesse these days. If you want it then you are going to say something nice. It is not that odd, governments have done this for years, pulled in third party validaters or the people receiving the funding to say what they will be using the money for. Yet there is something different about the announcements these days.
"When the provincial Liberal government issues a press release announcing new funding for whatever, standard practice includes quoting the happy recipient of the cash thanking the Liberals for their generosity."
- Dee Hon, Terminal City
There is no real excitement about the news release. I recall early in the Liberals term of office, working for a respected non-profit community organization and the Premier was about to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony, for a project that looked like it may be delayed or even cut. The host agency was beside itself in that their project had been halted by the new government and was under a review. The project was revamped somewhat and then allowed to proceed providing the agency with a great sigh of relief.
The difficulty then came after the project was allowed to continue. There had to be a ribbon cutting ceremony to tell the community the project was going ahead afterall. The Premier was invited, the guests were invited. Just one major difference this time out. It was a community event and with any other government it would have involved community. It was not this time, in a carefully controlled gathering the Premier and new local MLA made their lofty speeches, careful responses followed from the recipients of the funding and the project went ahead.
Agencies that receive provincial government funding are careful these days, very, very careful. Never before has there been such feeling in community. Frontline workers and board members rail in private about the government policy, the cuts to funding, the holes being created in the safety net. Not a peep is heard outside the inner circle, least the Liberals hear about it.
The agencies are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The services they deliver today are a far cry from what they did only four years ago. The numbers of people requiring assistance from these agencies has gone up, yet they have less money from government to provide the service.
The column in the Terminal City with which I began this space with today, tells it clearly. Not only must an agency today suck it up, they are expected today to say something positive about the little bit of money the Liberals are giving back. Money that no where meets the amounts the Campbell Liberals slashed from these community service budgets.
The only people who feel safe to speak out today are those that have had all their funding eliminated. Yet it is the essence of that fear that should drive these agencies to speak out. They know there is real measurable pain and suffering being done to people by the decisions made by the Campbell government. They see it first hand day in and day out.The question now for these agencies is this. Are you really helping people with your silence? This government may win the next election, they will for sure if you remain silent and sign onto the nice little press releases. The least you can do is to not participate in the governments annoucements.
Read more on this issue at the Terminal City online here.