Sue's Blog

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Been a while

Sue's Blog is back online and looking forward to shake it up a bit in 2015.

See you back here next week for the new start.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Premier Davis is in denial or worse ...

Premier Paul Davis wants to know what the problem is. He wants to know why people are not supporting his government.

I think these musings by our Premier are misleading and I don't believe him.

He has to know by now that the electorate of Newfoundland and Labrador want an election. They want an election before the spring. If he does not know this - he is unfit to be Premier. Why? Any person watching and listening to anything political in our province over the past few months who does not recognize the people want to vote - is in denial or in a cave without electronics.

I believe Paul Davis and the entire Tory caucus know that - therefore the problem is denial (if not something worse) - not knowledge. Why deny? Well power and benefits affect some people in a way that hanging on by the fingernails is almost an involuntary behavior. Unfortunately - many of them are politicians.

Here are the problems Premier Davis:

1. The people want an election and you won't call one,

2. People are extremely worried about Muskrat Falls and you appear not to care,

3. People do not trust their energy/power system anymore and you keep sending out Smiley Martin,

4. The price of oil and your budgetary guesstimates,

5. Rural population/employment decimation,

6. Giveaway policy for our natural resources,

7. Everything is under review, reassessment and analysis,

8. We have liabilities where the amount of those liabilities are not known,

9. You continue to spend like drunken sailors with no clue how we will pay for it,

10. Your caucus and Cabinet are arrogant,

11. Bill 29,

12. Lay-offs and then rehiring (don't know what you're doing)

13. You get rid of family violence prevention court but contract PC connected lawyers,

14. Debt, deficit, unemployment, population loss and aging,

15. Patronage,

16. Extreme partisanship,

17. Loss of manufacturing and processing industries,

18. Appointment of unelected Minister,

19. Your attack on small local business,

20. Your continued attempt to blame the people for not understanding the good you do - instead of wondering whether the people just don't like your policies and decisions.

21. Allowing the federal government to erode their presence in our province,

22. Burton Winters enquiry,

23. Focusing on the Avalon economy instead of the entire province,

24. Continuing to pillage Labrador without growing Labrador

25. Lack of transparency and accountability.

This is a short list - and I'm sure many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have more to add.

The only way to deal with this is call an election and put out your own platform - not just a continuation of the Williams platform. This also would demonstrate integrity instead of preservation of self (Party). Most importantly this would prove you are a man of your word - when you claimed - "I will listen to the people".

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Charlene's finest hour?

Sometimes it takes the worst of times to reveal the character of a person.

Please take the time to watch the interview with former Finance Minister Charlene Johnson at the CBCNL website click here.

Charlene should have used the results last night as a time to reflect. She should have immediately respected the people's choice - but that did not happen.

As you watch the video clip note some of the commentary:

1. I am completely dumbfounded.

I am sure she is - that is because they were not listening to the people as they claimed they were. That is because the people of Newfoundland and Labrador did not see the progress the Tories claimed was happening.

2. There's mayors here in this room tonight cause this government did so much for these communities.

I am sure Charlene forgets or never did listen to people saying that mayors and councillors in many communities felt intimidated by the Tory stranglehold and feared that bucking this government in any way might hurt chances for a fire-truck or pavement. Johnson will not recognize the partisanship of her government. Fortunately mayors - councillors - and residents have a secret ballot.

and then this beauty

3. There’s mayors here can’t believe it that we did so much for them and this is what happens in return ... And I can say all of this now because I’m not a politician anymore.

We did so much for them? Excuse me what? Charlene was very fortunate to be chosen by the people and paid by the people for public service. The former Minister forgets - she and they were spending our money - our tax dollars. She nor they did anything for us. They did not create the wealth nor did the put the oil in the ground or control the markets. In return she was paid generously and has a pension from us - the people. Instead of being humbled by past election victories she says:

4. Councillors and mayors here can’t believe that this is how people voted for all we’ve done for their town – it says a lot. 

Yes Charlene it sure does - you were the government - using our money and our resources. What did you expect in return for that? You have a pension - you received wonderful pay-cheques - and benefits. Loyalty to what Charlene? Should the people have kissed your feet - or perhaps they should have curtsied or bowed. 

And then in response to a question of the discrepancy in what Charlene said was support at the doors versus what the vote count was the "retired" politician said 

5. I wish they would have told us that...

Johnson is upset that people withheld information from them. Imagine that! I suspect they invoked Bill 29 and decided to keep that proprietary knowledge to themselves. 

In final exasperation of the situation - she talks about visiting Beaumont Hamel and understanding that the voter is always right. 

Charlene's finest hour? or Charlene unscripted and sooky? 

But wait Charlene is going to give some thought to running again. You do that Charlene - thanks for the pavement and fire-trucks.


Kent reveals Tory problem

After seven by-election losses in a row - the Tories are on their way out. Many of them understand what the people are saying and are planning their retirements in one way or another.

What happened to the PC's?

Media and some pundits credit the loss of public support to Danny Williams departure. I don't accept that reasoning rather I credit the downfall to Danny Williams leadership style and policies.

In my opinion - Williams enjoyed being surrounded by weak people (those who would not dare defy him) and eliminating those who might. (Beth Marshall, Paul Shelley, Tom Osborne and Fabian Manning) Danny did not build a strong leadership pool nor did he take the time to consult or include grass-roots Tories. I believe it was after all - all about him.

Danny's policy choices - most importantly - Muskrat Falls - have not been embraced by the people. Williams pot of money for governing was huge - oil revenues galore and let's not forget the benefits of Voisey's. These were Liberal deals and timing made it his administrations money.

How he spent that money - on behalf of the people - did not equate into anything more than quick wealth on the Avalon and a wonderful market to build houses in.

We are in debt trouble, we are in deficit trouble, we are in demographic trouble, and we are in free fall. Highly doubtful that his Galway community is going to be the golden touch project he thought it might be.

People are very concerned about Muskrat Falls - the cost - the purpose - and most importantly the giveaway. Our resources should be used to grow our population - create long-term well paying jobs. It was Danny who was champion of this concept while in Opposition. Then how do we explain his fisheries, forestry, mining, and hydro policies? We can't because - once Premier - the giveaways were okay.

In what I refer to as Danny's decade - the province has not enjoyed growth in any real way. They all pump up the GDP - but who cares if that indicator is in isolation from other meaningful indicators such as population growth and age. Growth on the Avalon is attributed to shrinking in rural populations.

The former Premier got out before the crap hit the fan - but before he did - he groomed weak people to continue his path. His first was Kathy Dunderdale. The joy and pride of being Danny's chosen one was evident from day one. She would carry the Muskrat torch to the end - while he would carry on with his business interests - power to the Avalon and mining in Labrador.

His other political weaklings included Kennedy, Marshall, Kent, Johnson, Sullivan, Shea, and King (essentially the Cabinet base) were somehow of the belief somehow that they had a crack at the top job now.

When the day came however for a leadership race - they ran away - hid under Danny's coattails once again and allowed an "interim" Premier who did not want the job (supposedly) to actually win - uncontested. The beginning of the end.

As all political weaklings do - as party fortunes were changing - they pointed a finger at somebody else - not them - no not them. A bunch of children standing in front of a broken window.

Eventually their finger pointing and whispers caught on with an uninspired media and we were advised that Kathy Dunderdale had problems communicating the "really good" things they were doing.

As with gutless bullies in packs - they worked on Dunderdale until she left. There they sighed - all must be good now right?

Onward to a leadership election - while nice man Tom kept the Williams adoration embers burning. Minus their political guru Danny - the  guys and gals did not know which way was up - they did not know which way to go. We had speculation on a dozen or so within the PC caucus who were thinking about it. One by one they dropped off - as the collective wisdom determined they needed a fresh face - somebody from outside. So Wayne Bennett and Bill Barry stepped forward while Danny's Cabinet flourished being followers. Barry came out bold - aggressive - unpolished while Bennett annoyed the Party brass.

As might be expected when the weak did not know what to do - Danny stepped in and proclaimed Barry unfit for leadership and indirectly pushed for a fellow named Frank Coleman. As with all good sheep the caucus followed and proceeded to prepare for a Frank coronation despite the presence of a formidable opponent (Barry).

We heard excuse after excuse from former wannabe leaders within the sitting rank and file - ranging from "not my time" to "health" to "family priorities".

Meanwhile Barry was fighting a losing battle in a delegated convention wherein his commentary to the people of the province really did not matter if the Party brass was orchestrating a winner.

Many people asked why Coleman - a political neophyte - by reports private family and business man would throw himself under the bright lights of politics. This was quickly followed by awkward appearances of a man who appeared quite friendly but out of his comfort zone.

Barry following the condemnation by the great one and in true gritty business style - weighed his odds and determined the risk was unfitting the unlikely reward. Barry quit leaving Coleman as an unwilling political deer in headlights. What followed was not able to be scripted. Coleman became Premier in waiting - even starting to put together staff for his 8th floor domain. Then like an unpredicted failure of a detonation test - HVP - came to the fore. I think it's fair to say the Coleman will be remembered in Newfoundland and Labrador for performance bonds related to a paving contract not for almost becoming Premier. As quick as you could say "cheese" for a photograph - we had the sad picture of Coleman's back as he walked away from his indescribably short political stint.

Now what? Well the wannabes who all had excuses they wanted us to believe just a month or two before - shed those reasons and came flying back to the leadership race. Once again we had the speculation of who was running - who was supporting - who had a chance. In the end - and after another stint with the nice man - there was Ottenheimer, Davis, and Kent. The once held idea of a new fresh face was replaced with the need for experience. Ironically the same weaklings who just a month before were willing to accept a fellow who had never sought political office before were now questioning the option of Ottenheimer because he did not have a seat in the legislature.

When Steve Kent started his political climb - I remember a young man tenting on the corner of streets with a sign - asking the people of Mount Pearl to support him for Council. It must have been a real power rush - some years later - to find himself a political traffic cop on the corner directing leadership. Here he was - a new man - at the heart of political power in the province - a kingmaker. Kent relished it - played it up - played coy - loved the attention and could not believe he was actually in a position to broker his own political pinnacle.

Ottenheimer claimed the fix was in - Davis and Kent denied it and then in a joyous coming-out paraded it on the convention floor. Shortly thereafter he became Deputy Premier. Did this new power go to his head? Unfortunately yes - culminating in Tweets last night after his party's loss of two more by-elections. Here they are:

1. What's next? You're going to see bold, progressive leadership from and the . We've got big plans for this province.

2. There was no honeymoon period for our new Premier. That's life. A lot can change over the next year. Things change fast in politics.

3.  Our Party still has a clear majority. We still plan to bring in a Throne Speech and a Budget. We will govern. We will lead.

4. The transformation in NL over the last decade has been nothing short of extraordinary. We're still the best party to govern.

Unfortunately his words represent what IS wrong with the Tories. The real problem. He in essence has concluded the following: we don't care what the people think - we are right, we don't care what the people say we will lead anyway, we own the province and we are going to do what we want - what we think is best, and in spite of the people we are in power and plan to keep it that way.

Unfortunately the tweets also have a ring of desperation in them. That is because Kent believes that politics is a career rather than a period of public service. Career politicians are not helpful - not insightful - not life experienced - and not leaders. They expect a leader to perform for them - to ensure the longevity of the benefits both financial and social that politics and the people have provided.

Kent personifies the Tory problem - imagine if he is the only Tory seat left after the next general election. He does not like the prospect and it shows.

I believe the real strings of the Tory machine are well above Kent's power level. While he might be seen as a pliable one of those strings the puppeteers simply want to keep power for other more tangible business reasons. That's a sphere than Kent will never be allowed to enter - but he can certainly man the coat-check for those entering the real corridors of power.