Monday, 13 May 2013


So, the voters have informed Peter Penashue his services are no longer required. Whom it will shock is uncertain; possibly, only the P.C. Party of Canada.

The entire spectacle is tough to comprehend.  Peter was feckless, as an MP and as a Cabinet Minister.  In the briefest of tenures, he has etched a place among the ‘weakest of the weak’ sent to the hallowed halls of Parliament.
That the National P.C. Party did not consider a Nomination Meeting in an effort to suss out other, possibly more electable or more suitable candidates, is inexplicable. It’s as if they didn’t really want Peter’s Labrador Seat all that badly. 

The current Majority Government forgets its near death experience when it was a ‘Minority’ player in the House of Commons.  A busy PM and non-stop Cabinet Ministers, seemingly, don’t have time to weigh the importance or the long term implications of one loss.  A Justin Trudeau may be a featherweight now, but, politics is a fickle sport and such wins exact a price. Remember Danny’s ABC Campaign?  Now, the Province is completely shut out of the Federal Government.
On the other hand, if a large Tory Party bureaucracy was out to impress the PM with its political skills, it failed abysmally. Trench warfare is hardly only about stuffing envelopes or facile attack ads. Politics is not fought in a single war; winning demands victory in a host of battles.  A well-oiled political machinery is structured to ensure that the Party has an even chance at each one.

Still, having erroneously determined that it owed the former Minister a second shot at his Labrador Riding, the Party ought, at the very least, have offered him basic supports.
How does one explain the ‘misspell’ in the opening advertising?  Was there no effort to help him devise some Campaign lines and a strategy?  His pronouncement that, as a Cabinet Minister, he had held up expenditures for the Island, until approval for his Labrador priorities were approved, should not have been allowed to stand; yet, they were repeated with delight.

Even if Penashue’s claims were true, did he and his Team really think that such actions would curry favour with Labrador constituents or that the comments had the power to illuminate himself as “Labrador’s Man”?  Is it possible he thought the gambit to be tactical?  Did the P.C. Party really think Labradorians would fall for that?  This is the nonsense of a neophyte and a puerile organization.  Fortunately, its cure has just been quite rightly assessed by Labradorians, themselves.
Even with a Party’s best efforts, it can still lose. That’s not just the ‘game’; that’s democracy.   In this by-election, the federal Tories cannot even make the claim of having tried.  Just, perhaps, Peter Penashue and the Province were simply not worth the trouble.

So who won the by-election?
The Chief Returning Officer will enter Yvonne Jones as the victor; not that Labrador was given a real choice.  That is to take nothing away from Harry Borlase.  As a first time Candidate he will have learned more than he realizes; if his faith in human nature is not too blunted, after five weeks of grind, you might see him again. 

Yvonne, deserves to be congratulated.  Having won the support of over 51% of voters, she has to be credited with being an effective warhorse.  Politically, she should never be discounted.

But, with respect, Yvonne is not the big winner.  That is not to take anything away from her or her huge victory.  The big winners are Peter McKay and the Province of Nova Scotia. Though democracy has been served in the Labrador by-election, the obvious corollary is that NL emerged the biggest loser.
Weak Cabinet Ministers, like Penashue, are one thing; when there is absolutely no one, at the Federal Cabinet table, to represent NL, it simply means we are forgotten. It’s not just that the Federal ‘goody bag’ is closed.  The Provincial Government is shut out of any ability to seriously influence issues, or even be informed of those emerging, that are critical to this Province.  This is exactly the condition that magnifies the shortcomings of the Federal legislative structure.  

Don’t forget, though Yvonne Jones opposed Muskrat Falls, sort of, she was always willing to support Muskrat Falls, for the 'low, low price' of a power line to a couple of communities in her Provincial Riding.   This means she can be bought.  This does not make her a girl from whom one should learn the moral high ground! Justin Trudeau only thinks he has learned from the seat of the ‘Master”.

Who else lost in the by-election? 

The Prime Minister. 

In Labrador, the P.C. Party displayed, in full view of the media and a Canadian public, serious weaknesses in its determination, its organization and its skill.   

Yes, some house cleaning, at P.C. Party Headquarters, is overdue.

But, Prime Minister, remind me again the skill set of your newest NL Senator.    


  1. One of Danny Williams many introverted decisions which turned out to be a large disaster was the ABC campaign. Why was it done? What did it accomplish? It removed Newfoundland and Labrador from the decision makers in Ottawa. Nothing is gained from this type of divisive action, in business or in politics. Newfoundland needs a diplomat, who can work between parties. But this individual needs to be in the Harper government.

  2. Rick Mercer should be made king of Newfoundland and Labrador.

  3. I can't say I objected to Danny's ABC campaign, mainly because I hoped that Harper would lose. When he won, I knew we had a difficult few years ahead of us because, like Danny, he is petty and small-minded when it comes to dealing with opponents.

    The art of being an effective politician is that you are able to compromise strategically but some, like Danny Williams and Stephen Harper, cannot get over themselves. Unfortunately, given the fractured natures of our electoral system, we are allowing these petty despots to divide and conquer.

    Having said that, all political parties are into self-absorption, so I do not expect the Liberals or NDP to adopt a more statesmanlike approach and act for the good of the country.

    It all points to the need for self-sacrificing leadership that will act on behalf of all people, not just their cronies or political supporters.