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Thursday 22 May 2014


Musician and producer Andy Moor’s lyric “Undeserved” lacks little contextual ambiguity when offered as counsel to the Provincial P.C. Caucus.  
"Remember when you still believed in everyone" is a line that evokes melancholy and the certainty that there were better times.  But this stanza contains a message of foreboding:   

It’s a lonely place to dwell

Remembering when you still had your future

No one ever comes out quite the same

They’ll never trust themselves again

With anyone

Give no one your faith


I don't know if the Tory Caucus has ever been described as authentic in the way fans describe Moor.  For this piece to make its point, even if a few Members are genuine will be enough.  Let's turn up the volume for them.

Few, but the most hard of hearing, would disagree that this Government awaits deafeat in the next general election. 

While a year is said to be a lifetime in politics, it is tough to imagine any opportunity remains for Tory redemption.
The Leadership contest was supposed to reinvigorate the Party and calm a bewildered public following Kathy Dunderdale’s ghastly leadership.  But, if anything, matters have worsened.  Frank Coleman was possibly the worst outcome of a non-race even if he can’t be faulted for Bill Barry’s premature withdrawal. 

The race, from the beginning, revolved around Danny Williams’ choice (for a second time).  The obvious implication is that the P.C. Party has been hi-jacked by him.  His overbearing influence, at minimum, constituted a warning to Bill Barry and a message to others that the Race was already closed. 

Except for a General Election, on what remedy can anyone rely to affect a change of leadership?  The question is peculiar for a peculiar reason.

The party system, which supports British style parliamentary democracies, is well known for its ability to facilitate the election of Leaders.  But for a few like Britain and Australia most systems, including Canada’s, possess an inability to dispatch leaders when they become ineffective or out of touch.    

That said, while far more difficult for a host of reasons the lack of a formal mechanism does not restrict any Caucus from taking an action when one is essential.  They do so for their own survival.

Very likely, it was the Tory Caucus that messaged Kathy Dunderdale as she enjoyed a southern vacation.  When she met the Caucus, on the morning of her resignation, it was merely to inform rather than to engage them. 

The Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, was likely told by her Caucus to move on when she became embroiled in a spending scandal; her predecessor Ed Stelmach received a similar instruction. 

Why do we need to entertain this discussion when a new Tory Leader is on the way? Because, as this scribe submitted in a prior Post, Mr. Coleman is DOA – dead on arrival.

Frank Coleman’s default to victory has imposed on the Party a Leader who can only drag it down further; one who cannot possibly inspire the electorate to be merciful.

Hence, we are right to ask if the Caucus will again assume its historic role now that the Convention has been robbed of its essential function.  Is it ready to perform what may well constitute a ‘first’ in the Commonwealth and invoke a coup d’├ętat in advance of a coronation?

The departure of Dunderdale, ahead of her own schedule, could well embolden the Caucus to take action again.  

Last week’s Liberal Party Dinner at $500 a head suggests a new slant on an old invocation: “follow the money”.  The contractors, engineering firms, and other business types who crowded the Delta Hotel Ballroom to sup with Dwight Ball were chiefly the same faces who attended a similar affair for the Tories just last year.  The men and women in suits sense change is in the wind.

The March, 2014 CRA Poll placed support for the Liberal Party at 53%.  Now consider that the Tory Leadership process has miscarried; add in cost overruns at Muskrat, a devastating PUB Report on Nalcor’s incompetence regarding DarkNL and the Humber Valley Paving affair, the next CRA numbers can hardly be expected to turn around.

The Caucus likely suffers no illusion that the Report of the A-G, regardless of its conclusion, is a fix for the Tories’ ills.  On the Street the verdict is already in.

The larger issue, right now, is whether the Party can recapture a shred of dignity even if it needs to be banished until it is renewed and repaired.

The Caucus can begin by insisting that the July 5th Convention count for something. 


First, it should tell Frank Coleman that they have no faith in him, that his services are not required.

Second, it should insist that the Convention be used to give effect to much needed change to the Party’s Constitution.  Such change would permit the substitution of the delegated leadership process with a direct election system recently used to good effect by the Provincial Liberals.  While it is far from a perfect system, it is less subject to unwarranted influence by power brokers like Williams.

Third, start the leadership process again. 

The cost of the direct voting system may actually be less expensive and more financially controllable than a delegated system.  It might also attract some solid candidates who were scared off by a ‘fix’ in which Caucus solidarity was used as a weapon.

This recipe is no guarantee of anything.  After all, fallout from the legacy of Dunderdale, and now Marshall and Coleman continues to pile up.

Still, doing nothing is certain to guarantee the Tories’ obliteration. 

To echo Andy Moor:  “You know it’s not easy…It’s a lonely place to be”

Trying a new plan to replace one destined to fail will take some courage, but not a lot.

Amendments to the P.C Party’s Constitution must be filed 30 days prior to the Convention which will also constitute the Party’s AGM.

The Caucus doesn’t have much time to get its dance steps right. For that reason they might take a moment to reflect on Andy Moor’s sure-footed warning……….