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Wednesday 18 June 2014


The resignation of Frank Coleman, as Premier Designate, has given the P.C Party another chance for change though Tory insiders report the opportunity already squandered. 

There is no way to categorize the Tories’ current circumstance other than to characterize it a mess.  While it seemed improbable, at first, that former Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s unsuitability could be outstripped, the grocer version of the gong show has surely upped the ante.    

We are asked by Frank Coleman to take his word that the reason for quitting was due to a matter “significant” and “challenging”.  Yet, he has no storehouse of credit with the public against which such a huge good-faith demand might be charged.

The P.C. Party is in disarray and he, personally, can claim a goodly part of the responsibility. His acquiescence to Williams’ meddling, in the Leadership Campaign and his own engagement in the Humber Valley Paving affair, leave a Province more cynical about its politics and its patience tapped out.   

Whatever one’s political persuasion, we are all citizens of this Province.  We collectively enjoy a responsibility not just to see it run competently but to ensure the behaviour of the political process reflects the dignity of civil society and the rules that underpin good governance.     

Mr. Coleman never once indicated he possessed wisdom for a job in which these matters ought to be priority.  Indeed, his paltry utterances served only to reinforce Government’s trail of bad decisions; insisting, as he has, that it should stay on the same path.

There are few who have entered any leadership race, since Confederation, as abysmally lacking political skill, policy preparedness or a facility for public communications, as he.  None were bestowed a “fix” by any former Premier, either.

Indeed, it must be remembered that Mr. Coleman entered the Race at the very last minute and vacated the position he won, by default, only days after HVP was permitted to abandon a second Publicly Tendered Contract; the first having been cancelled amidst great public fanfare and at public expense. 

Are we to think this confluence of events mere coincidence?  Why should anyone think his candidacy more about high office and less about him?

It is not as if he chose to be forthright over the Government’s release of the HVP Bonds and his personal attachment to them.

Indeed, it is not as if he has raised the bar on the standard of behaviour expected of public officials. 

Mr. Coleman leaves not only the briefest of tarnished legacies; he has succeeded only in forsaking a truly incompetent Government; one which has borrowed on its depleted credibility and public capital to lift him and his former company out of financial hot water. 

The irony of it all is that a few reporters and pundits keep giving Tom Marshall’s leadership high grades when, in fact, all he may be due is the courtesy of a call from the Mounties.

While the “fix” may have been in for Frank Coleman it is less than obvious that the therapeutic breath of fresh air his exit gives the Tory Party will cause any restoration of public confidence. 

If the news emanating from the P.C. Convention Committee meetings, now in progress, is accurate any Candidate seeking the Leadership will have to convince the current delegates, elected to support Coleman, they are worthy Contestants.  

In other words, no Leadership Candidate will have a chance to have his/her supporters vote, anew, at the District level.  The current delegate list will have to do and we know who controls that one!

It will mean that Leadership Candidates will be supplicant, again, to Danny Williams. 

News from the field suggests Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley is the new “fix”.

Senior Party insiders and former Tory politicians are incensed at this turn of events.

While The P.C. Party remains “hijacked”, it is patently silly to discuss whether Steve Kent or John Ottenheimer is in need of diaper change due to either youth or its contradiction. 

First and foremost, the public needs assurance the process of leadership is not tainted, that it is legitimate and above interference.

The Caucus has the clout to change this state of affairs; but it won’t.  It is destined to share the blame for helping destroy a once great Party.


Finally, would someone knock on the Auditor-General’s door and see if his clock is ticking? 

Surely he had planned to Report to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the HVP Affair, in advance of the July 4th Convention.