Department of Common Sense

DCS-production still-6

When I used to work in government, I would often joke about ridiculous ideas or policies needing to be vetted by the Department of Common Sense. No such department exists — unfortunately — except in my first play.

I took one of my favourite stories from my time in government and I turned it into a play. When I would go to parties and tell this story, people’s jaws would drop, but, as absurd as it was, they did believe it because governments and bureaucrats can do some pretty stupid things. Sometimes, it can be enough to make you want a stiff drink, like the character of Adele Courage above in a scene from the play.

I took that story and built a play around it. It’s a fictional tale of a straight-talking, tequila-sipping government minister who gets two whip-smart women on his staff to take on a persnickety bureaucrat in a battle of wills and wits.

It will make you shake your head in dismay, nod your head in understanding, or seethe with anger. It might make you do all three, but it is sure to make you laugh. We have a fabulous cast including Lianne Perry, Mark Adam, Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons, Rob McIntyre, Neil Van Horne and Fiona MacKinnon. Nick Jupp did a great job as our director and had a hand in the development of the script when he acted as a dramaturge for me when I took part in the Theatre Arts Guild’s inaugural Playwrights’ Festival.

To learn more about my play, check out this link to the play’s blog or see our Facebook page.

It will be on stage for six shows during the 23rd Atlantic Fringe Festival. Check out the Atlantic Fringe and support local theatre. Hope you enjoy the show.

New Waterford jobs not exactly as advertised

On Monday, the NDP government announced it was moving jobs from the city to rural areas to fulfill the commitment that they had made in this spring’s Throne Speech.

In three separate announcements, they announced that 93 jobs involving three departments would be moving. Two of those were straightforward. Agriculture jobs were moving from Halifax to Truro while Fisheries and Aquaculture was moving some jobs from Halifax to Digby-Clementsport and some to Shelburne County.

Here is what the news release from the Department of Justice said about the transfer of its maintenance enforcement jobs to New Waterford.

Service is currently delivered online, via telephone and in five locations around the province.”

It boasted that 25 jobs would be moving to Cape Breton. When combined with the 11 already in Sydney, it would amount to 36 jobs for New Waterford. Left unsaid in the release is the names of the communities where those maintenance enforcement staff are employed and their current staffing levels — with the exception of the 11 staff in Sydney.

Here are the rest of the numbers:

  • Dartmouth, 11
  • Halifax, 8
  • Kentville, 8
  • Amherst, 6
  • New Glasgow, 3

The eight staff at the Department of Justice offices on Terminal Road in Halifax will not be moving as they need to remain in Halifax to be close to Finance staff.

The 17 staff in the rural communities of Kentville, Amherst and New Glasgow were part of a planned consolidation with the 11 staff in urban Dartmouth. Premier Darrell Dexter said consolidations such as this have — in the past — normally involved staff moving into the city.

So, of the 47 maintenance enforcement jobs in the province, 36 will be in New Waterford. Of those 36, only 11 are currently in the provincial capital.

That the NDP chose to make a planned consolidation take place in New Waterford instead of the Halifax Regional Municipality is fine. The only people who object to this appear to be the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, but the government should have been more forthcoming with the details.

Sometimes, PR people are reluctant to “get down in the weeds” by providing too many details. In this case, because the consolidation of the maintenance enforcement jobs had not been previously revealed, these details were relevant and should have been part of Monday’s announcement.