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Thursday 6 March 2014


The Tory Leadership Contest is slower than a cold engine on a frosty morning.

The field remains crowded only by Bill Barry.   

Senator Manning has bowed out; Derrick Dalley has done himself in. 

"All Hale Premier Frank Coleman" , posted last week, spoke not only to the fact that Danny Williams has placed his velvet glove on Coleman’s shoulder.  It confirmed that the whole Caucus is gazing west for signs of white smoke. 

Only Steve Kent remains a potential contender from Cabinet; but, even he is just pretending.

On the outside Shawn Skinner and John Ottenheimer are still mulling it over.  The price tag of running a credible campaign still daunts them; if Frank Coleman confirms his candidacy, both will fold. 

According to insiders, they are emboldened because rumours abound Coleman is having second thoughts. 
Coleman is not comfortable with the extemporaneous demands of public speaking.  Unlike Shawn Skinner, he has not been engaged in public policy issues for many years.   Neither has Bill Barry.

Barry is unfazed either by policy or potential challengers.  He telephoned this Blogger recently just to confirm he is in the race to the finish.

Sources report Coleman did not make a big impression on attendees to a cocktail reception hosted while the Cabinet met in Corner Brook.   He was present for 90 minutes; Bill Barry is reported to have stayed until midnight and left in the company of several Ministers.

Another insider reports that the term of District Association executives, in 28 of the 48 Ridings, has lapsed. That means all 11 riding delegates (rather than just 6) will need to be elected leaving Coleman at greater risk if he is out-organized by Bill Barry’s extensive fishery connections.

It is not clear if John Crosbie was trying to give Bill Barry his personal endorsement in the Weekend Telegram.  Crosbie wrote that Barry “…is a man of character, experience, learning and fearlessness. He is not your ordinary businessman…”  Will he say the same of Coleman? 

The guy you should not completely discount, just yet, is Shawn Skinner.

Skinner is an experienced politician and media savvy, too.  I don’t know if he and Danny Williams get along; in the current political vacuum Danny is the gatekeeper.  While Bill Barry wants to be Pope, Williams prefers to play St. Peter.  If Coleman gets cold feet Danny could still allow the white smoke to settle on Shawn.

One strike against Skinner is that he had a couple of whacks at the Dunderdale Government,  as a CBC On-Point commentator, especially over the former Premier's handling of January's power crises. Such commentary ought to have been to his credit.   
But, in a Caucus of closed-rank, a single word of criticism is akin to blasphemy.  The Caucus does not take criticism well.  It does not see its survival linked to ‘change’ either.  Tom Marshall’s weak start, as Premier, confirms as much.   

Evidently the Caucus believes Dunderdale’s departure is as much change as it needs.   The next Poll might change that view.

Then, there’s Virginia Waters.

It seems the Tories were not planning to give Dunderdale a Muskrat-sized send off.   A surfeit of pique has been once again confirmed as the former Premier’s legacy.

Cathy Bennett, former Nalcor Board Member, is seeking the Liberal nod in the District. Recently she told the Telegram that “she pushed the government to add expertise on the Nalcor board for megaproject management, but the government ignored her.” 

During the three month campaign for Ball’s job, Bennett never mentioned the word ‘oversight’ though she did remind us the folks at Nalcor were international ‘experts’.  The critics, she told Paddy Daly on VOCM Back Talk, didn’t understand the ‘business case’ for Muskrat. 

I’m betting Cathy also forecast that this would be a hard cold winter; she might even have told Nalcor, last year, to fix up Holyrood else the Province would suffer those ‘black-outs’. 

With Danny trying to play St. Peter for the Tories, why shouldn’t the Liberals be permitted a prophet?    

Stay tuned.