Thursday, 11 July 2013


Yes, they’re off!  Finally. The second ‘natural’ governing Party in the Province wants your attention. The ads will start soon. Don Cherry has already tweaked a well-worn script for Kathy Bennett.  It goes something like:

She may not know Liberals

But, she knows the Tories

And here’s the kicker:

My friends at the Board of Trade know her, so check her oout!

(This paid political message brought to you by Nalcor. “We’ll keep you in the dark”.)


Now, will Dwight Ball please tell us what he stands for? I hope so.  It’s hard watching a martyr not knowing if he has religion; though he does look like a fellow with a lot to confess.

If he couldn’t get a Coronation he should, at least, have been canonized, except you’re supposed to be dead for that particular designation.   

If he were in earshot of the Vatican, Dwight would have already nailed miracle number one; god knows, he’s had a saint’s forbearance to suffer Liberal policy guru, Dean MacDonald these past two years. Imagine being forced to watch that guy attract crowds of Liberals, in the SINGLE DIGITS!  My guess is that he would prefer to have been locked up in a church basement.

That Dean’s arse wasn’t kicked over a stage head, long ago, suggests amateur hour is still pretty popular…with amateurs. Imagine, letting the conscience of the Party declare the Liberal prize unworthy to fight for! I suppose if Kathy Dunderdale can make a Coronation look easy, Dino could accept no less!

Leadership Conventions attract a variety of contestants; from the overly partisan to the simply ebullient, from those who offer more brawn than brain, to the oddity who succeeds only in misaligning the Party’s greater interest, with his own. I am referring, of course, to a former Liberal Leadership Convention. John Efford is sitting this one out.   

The Liberal Executive will send him a movie pass and agree to super-size his popcorn, a fitting tribute, too, for his stint as a Federal Cabinet Minister.  Superman might still be in the theatre by then and, anyway, Efford is a lot safer living vicariously.  Besides, John wasn’t going to be invited to Danny Dumaresque’s beer tent.
And, look at Jim Bennett.  Talk about the movies; even politicians can come back after they have been killed off!

It is difficult to be nice to the Liberal Party Executive…no, no, no, I don’t mean because they allowed Dumaresque and Jim Bennett into the race; someone has to be first to drop off (just kidding, boys).  No, I am, referring to their decision to opt for the safe pasture of internet voting. God! What a boring lot.

What political Party, worth its salt, would not sacrifice an excess of democracy for the cliff hanging moment, the sweat, tears and betrayal of a third ballot? And, anyway, don’t they know, from using Facebook, the excitement is over in a millisecond.  Instant gratification is for the young crowd, it takes someone, of my generation, to keep anticipation sustained.

Yes, that’s exactly what I mean: on-line voting is like sex without touching.  It’s a Poll. Everyone gets to have their say without ever meeting the person that turns you on.  In this Province, that might work, if the subject were Steven Harper.  But, we are talking about potential Premiers, for godsake…what’s the point if they can’t be poked and prodded; you’ll want to see if they have a brain.

I remember running a Poll for Frank Moores, prior to the 1979 Tory Leadership Convention. In those days we had a real fishery; a popular Minister of Fisheries usually had an edge over other Candidates polled.  The guy, who ‘gave away’ millions of dollars, as the Minister also Responsible for the Fisheries Loan Board, topped the Opinion Poll, even coming in ahead of Brian Peckford.  But, the Tory Delegates were looking for someone with more ‘je ne sais quoi’. If you read Brian Peckford’s book, "The Sun Actually did Shine and Danny Williams Too All The Credit", you’ll find out who won (that not really the correct title, but it could be).

Ah, yes! A nice smile may work well on Facebook, but you can never be sure if it’s right out of Photo Shoppe, can you?

Did I just say ‘je ne sais quoi’? How rude of me! Imagine having used the essential qualities of leadership and not applied them first, to Kathy Bennett! I know. I know, you’d find better table manners at a MacDonald’s!!! 
I may be as salty as a French fry but I didn’t miss the rush of hot air sweeping over the City in the latter days of last week.  And, it wasn’t from all the forest fires in Quebec, either.   I saw the motorcade (dear, dear, should I use whizz or whirr?).  I felt the anxiety.  I was so overcome! Thankfully, comfort food could still be gotten.  I was barely minutes away from Hamburger Heaven when, swish, Kathy Bennett’s parade shot down Topsail Road. The ketchup stains were barely washed out of my shirt when….whizz…I saw Paul Antle barrelling down the Street like a mad man.  Hurry! Paul, I shouted, without the faintest idea what triggered the impulse.  Taking out my watch I wondered if the Liberal Party might have to employ that old legislative trick of stopping the clock!  But, he made it with not a carbon free minute to spare. 

Then there were five; it is amazing what one single good Poll can do, isn’t it!  The Liberals, down on their luck for years and one Poll causes enough commotion to decimate the leadership of the St. John’s Board of Trade.  In business, we modestly called it, AMBITION!

No, don’t wait for the more scientific types to check the dictionary spelling of ‘anomaly’. Not enough time for that… whirr…..whizz. Did I say ambition; hell, man, this is politics, here we call it, what it is; how do you spell OPPORTUNISM?

Look you two, I understand.  You’re busy people. You’re used to making big and important decisions.  It five minutes to the hour and you decide: I think I’ll be the Premier.  It’s perfectly understandable. Having watched Kathy Dunderdale for over the past two years you probably think it’s a part-time job, anyway!

Say what you will, five contenders is four more than the Tories could come up.

Let’s watch them all closely.  They may have some ideas. I was going to add that any would be more than what we have heard from the Premier.  But, let’s not set the bar too low!    


  1. Is this your attempt at sarcasm?

  2. Des,

    I am very comfortable with TRUE Liberal policy. Therefor...I am A Liberal.

    I think you do an excellent job of stimulating much needed debate on leadership and politics. For this I thank you but may not always agree with you. Good for you and thanks for taking the time to be such an eloquent "stimulator."

    My take on Dwight Ball...he is yet another decent, well thought out, measured politician that society will overlook. Joe Clark, John Turner to name but two. When we chat around our armchairs, we want good, decent, honest people in politics but when we get them...they are boring. Do we want fireworks or do we want a long, slow simmering fire? I expect we think both of those qualities should exist in one person. Sorry... NOT. Can we at least ask some pointed questions before we judge? CBC gave Kathy Bennett great coverage cuz she had the moxy to make a splash in her announcement. Good for her!! But, substance is what we need the media to start looking for, not splash or the lack there of. Perhaps we could start with you as you are so eloquent and well informed...get to the meat of it. What do the two "front runners" stand for?
    Donna Thistle

    1. One thing I have always liked about you, Donna, is that you cut to the chase. In time, all the candidates will get a review.

      I think it is important to let them get organized, find their stride and then let's evaluate what they have to offer in terms of public policy.

      Frankly, I have a higher expectation from some of the Candidates than which they have exhibited, but they have to make strategic judgments, too, and that's fair. Let's give them that time, then we'll see.

      We do have a crises of leadership in this Province; the greatest in many decades. Hence, this is an important process, because in the next election, the public must have the best alternatives available.

      I would just add that politics, while serious business, cannot be appreciated in the absence of its entertainment value. Perhaps, we can't endure one part without the other; hence, this piece today.

      This Blog truly welcomes views, such as yours; as much as I get to have my say, the process is only meaningful when others chime in. So, please, do it often. This Province will be so much better off when people demand to be heard and tell government that real democracy is far more than the mere act of voting once every four years.

      All the best.