Thursday, 18 April 2013

REFLECTIONS ON THE GERRY ROGERS AFFAIR

Many people, including some not normally preoccupied with political issues, were forced to take notice of the shoddy treatment of the St. John’s Centre NDP MHA, in the House of Assembly, on Tuesday. As much as I tried, I am unable to remember another political event that arose as suddenly or as forcefully; such was the magnitude and immediacy of the firestorm. Of course, the Gerry Rogers Affair was all backlash. 

Over forty thousand people responded to a VOCM on-line Poll, two-thirds of whom expressed a view that was unfavourable to the Government’s position. Thousands took to Facebook and Twitter, too, using their favourite social media to communicate with the like-minded and to give rebuke to the Premier, the Government and to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.  
How could I not think: if only such a reaction had erupted over Muskrat Falls?
Now that the dust has settled, there can be no doubt that the Government has suffered a severe blow to its fast declining credibility.

What can we learn from the Gerry Rogers affair? Most people recognize that the Facebook fiasco will fade quickly, but not without consequence.  Ms. Rogers has survived the attack and is politically stronger.  Her Party is gleeful that it has been cast under a light that is both large and favourable. People’s faith in politicians is poorer but it was not strong, to begin with.
More significantly, the public has been given a peek at the political leadership though a lens they can understand and on a basis they can grade. They are not impressed. The Government has truly embarrassed itself by offering proof, if any were needed, that it is fundamentally incompetent.

That is the obvious part; there are other results.
First, the Affair has eroded fast declining respect for the Government by the media.  The dismissiveness of The Telegram’s MacLeod on Twitter and the handling of Tory Paul Lane by Cochrane on CBC’s Here and Now Panel, which bordered on contemptuousness, suggest they are running out of patience with a leadership that is well out of its league.

Secondly, it proves that the Government is suffering mortal fear over the NDP’s lead in the Polls and that it will go to great lengths to tarnish the image of that Party. 
Thirdly, (and the social media sites confirm strong evidence of this) it has succeeded in galvanizing not just the NDP support, especially in the St. John’s area, but eroded the support of its traditional base.

Indeed, how can any person, of integrity and possessing minimal expectations of the same virtue in its elected Government, claim to support a group so badly misbehaved?

In short, the Government has been diminished. It has expended political capital it ought to have retained to help it through two more long years. The public’s poor perception of the Premier and her Administration including her hopeful successor, Darin King, and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, too, is far worse than it was on Monday.
For a public aghast at how poorly prepared were the Government’s recent restraint measures, they should not need reminding that this same Government, just a few months ago, sanctioned the $7.4 billion Muskrat Falls hydro Project.  Is it possible that Bill 29, a bungled “austerity” program, poor fiscal management and the biggest deficits in history, still leave the Government with enough intelligence to analyze the risks of the largest single capital expenditure in the history of the Province?

When will people recognize that there is a disconnect here?  Unfortunately, folks may not get their heads around this question, before it is too late, unlike the Gerry Rogers Affair. 
Yet, when descent people look back on this sordid episode, in the coming weeks, how can they not worry that they voted for a Government they truly do not deserve?

But, worry may not be the right response.
 

5 comments:

  1. The general population understand Facebook and Twitter. As a result the incompetence of this government is visible for all to see and understand. Meanwhile Muskrat Falls is very complex, but the level of government incompetence is the same. It is just not as obvious to the general public.

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  2. This government will be remembered as the worst in our history! It all started just after they were elected when the Premier refused to hold an inquiry into the death of Burton Winters. Then along came Bill 29. I can only assume that this was done to protect the privacy of what they are doing at Nalcor and Muskrat Falls. But the Premier has Joan Shea's boyfriend appointed as Chair of the Board of Director's for Nalcor. Therefore just a phone call away from telling him what to do next! Then a whole bundling of things since June of last year that confirms for me that we have people running this government without regard for the residents. It's their way or no way. What happened in the HOA with Gerry Rogers was wrong. Just for the record I supported this government in 2011. Had great expectations of the new female strong government. Sadly, I have to say, that support is no longer there. People see through people like this. Adults acting like spoiled brats and the whole province watching in bewilderment!!

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  3. The problem with the populace and Muskrat Falls, as I see it, is the that the Churchill Falls deal has been vilified by every politician since Smallwood and the Quebec boogeyman has become a part of our psyche.

    Let me elaborate: The day Danny Williams announced that Muskrat Falls was a go, I felt that we had finally achieved something worthwhile, and I recall thinking, "I will be happy if we can do this, even if it costs a lot more than going through Quebec again.!" How silly and naive of me!

    Scant days later, upon sober reflection, and as the details began to emerge, I realized we had been played for fools! Typical Danny propaganda! Vilify the enemy(Quebec) and tout the benefits of this wonderful deal! How so very very stupid and naive we all are, if we continue to believe in his BS and his persona.... as the perfect Premier. Sadly, though he is gone, many people still have been sucked in by his propaganda machine and think he was the greatest ever.

    I say this now: history will record him, and his administration, as having foisted one of the biggest financial disasters we have ever seen upon this province. These people in power right now are his cronies and supplicants, and they are still afraid to challenge his vision. So, too, are many otherwise intelligent and reasonable people!

    What we are witnessing, Mr. Sullivan, is Danny's last stand....unfortunately, it will take us all over the fiscal cliff and into financial ruin.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, I meant to publish my name but inadvertantly left my name out.

      I wish it to be fully understood that my comments are always acknowledged as my own and I take full responsibility for them.

      I am the author of the above comments.

      Cyril Rogers

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    2. Unfortunately I believe your comments to be accurate. As a conservative voter my entire adult life I voted against the last two "so-called" conservative administrations. In fact I voted "dear I say it - liberal". Since 2006 we have seen desparately poor leadership and fiscal public policy and we will pay a dear price in the future.

      As Brian Lee Crowley (AIMS) stated in 2006..."I weep for Newfoundland."

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