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Some things should stay off the table

Dear Editor,

Last week’s article on Central Health’s proposed closure of Lewisporte’s after-hours clinic has me feeling sick.

I try to avoid getting too heated over things in summer. It’s warm enough outside – when we actually get summer - without getting too hot under the collar.

However, recent news on the proposal from Central Health to close Lewisporte’s after-hours clinic as a possible cost-saving measure, is just the latest example of how the provincial government is mishandling the crisis our province finds itself in, and it has me burning.

I am glad to see that our MHA and our Health Minister have pushed back and denied the request, and that the town has formed a healthcare advisory committee to examine how to best deliver health services to the area. I am even happier to see that our MHA has promised to work with this committee to ensure the best possible outcomes.

What has me upset is that this is the latest example of how saying “everything is on the table” is such a dangerous and irresponsible policy.

We have heard this from our Premier and Minister of Finance, and other members of this government, in some form or another, multiple times over the last few months. Everything from taxes and fees, to education, health care, public sector layoffs, and so on.

The fact that our clinic, such a vital part of our community, was even proposed as a casualty of government cuts, shows how badly this way of thinking fails the public good.

It is a firm belief of mine that a government with strong principles can point to certain vital programs, services, and other segments of the public sector, and say that these are not on the table. They say that, even though our province may be in a bad spot, their values as a government, as community members, and as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, dictate that certain segments of our public sector are too important, and should be preserved and protected.

Even though the clinic has (at least for now) been spared the axe, the question that gets at me is, why was it on the chopping block at all?

A government that has core principles of caring for its people, should have limits to what they are willing to cut. Even if the government didn’t directly recommend cutting services like our clinic, and even if they denied the request, the environment of “everything is on the table” they have created clearly led to the thinking of trying to close the clinic in the first place.

A government that is willing to put everything on the table, to me, is one that admits that it stands for nothing. The people of our district, and our province, deserve better than that.

Tim Peckford

Lewisporte native living in St. John’s

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