Pique n yer interest 

Double standards

Like many B.C.ers, I fear the current Liberal government and they’re Viking approach to running this province: The slashing and burning of waste and redundancy, and their ravishing of unpopular laws, plans and policies; The pillaging of budgets for every government ministry outside of health and education; The salting of the earth by favouring the interests of industry over the needs of the environment; The sacking of just about everyone that was appointed to their position by the previous government; The sitting around the feast table while planning the next conquest, drinking mulled mead out of the skulls of their enemies – metaphorically speaking.

But as much as I fear the Viking invasion, at the same time you have to admire the audacity of the Gordon Campbell government. There is no pandering to unions or special interest groups, or apologies for cuts to staff or programs. There is no middle ground.

They have made a lot of difficult, unpopular decisions that have raised the ire of doctors, patients, nurses, teachers, environmentalists, public and private sector unions, and Welfare recipients. And the list goes on.

They have charted a course that they believe will lead this province to prosperity, and they are following it to the letter. Like removing a band-aid, they believe it’s more painless in the long run to take it off with one snap than to peel it back a little at a time.

I can admire the Liberals, and secretly agree with a lot of their decisions because like most people I am a master of the double standard, one for me and one for the rest of the world, although I do try to hold myself to a higher double standard than others.

I feel for the teachers in this province, but at the same time I think they should be happy they got a raise at all when you consider the current economic climate within the province. I also believe class sizes should be larger, because I had big classes of more than 30 kids in elementary school and high school, and hey – I turned out all right. Besides, the last thing I need in 10 years is for the school system to start graduating a generation of super-intelligent whiz kids, with educational opportunities I never had, gunning for my job.

If I had a child of my own, I admit I might see things a little differently. I might expect the other taxpayers to spring for more and better teachers, plus the most up-do-date facilities and tools around, because the kids are our future after all.

I feel for the doctors, but at the same time I believe they already make a lot of money and should be happy to live in the top 5 per cent of Canadians in terms of wages. I also know that they’re overworked, and in short supply in rural areas, but I can’t believe that throwing more money at the problem is the only answer. I really can’t pay any more taxes than I’m already paying, and the bulk of those taxes are already going towards Medicare.

I should make it clear that I support free health care for me, but I think that all the baby-boomers that are bankrupting the system should have to pay a little for services and prescription medications.

I also think there should be a two-tier health care system, as long I’m working and fully insured to get the best care. If I were unemployed or retired, I’d probably see things a little differently again.

I support the Kyoto protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emission, and think SUV owners should pay more for registration and insurance to encourage a switch to fuel-efficient cars. At the same time, I think I could really make good use out of an SUV of my own.

I support the provincial government’s decision to allow post-secondary institutions to raise tuition, because it might mean lower taxes and encourage more people to learn the trades, where there is a chronic shortage of personnel, instead of earning useless arts degrees.

At the same time I resent the payments for the student loan I took out to earn my own arts degree. Sometimes I also wish that I learned a trade instead of going to university, but wouldn’t trade my university days for anything.

I’d like the banks to keep interest rates low so I can one day afford to finance a mortgage and an SUV. At the same time, I wished the banks would pay me a higher interest rate on my savings.

Over the years I’ve learned that there’s more to life than money, although I wish I had a lot more of it.

I wish I could have every powder day off to snowboard, although I would definitely resent it if every Whistler employee had the same perk because the hill would get too busy.

Sometimes I wish we had never elected the Liberal Vikings, although I can’t wait to see how all of their changes work out. At least they seem to be using a single standard getting the province into order. Maybe that’s what’s so frightening.

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