The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician. - James J. Hill
The worst thing for a politician is to try and cling to power by every possible means, and focus only on that. - Vladimir Putin
With the announcement today that Bill Barry has withdrawn his candidacy from the PC Party Leadership race in Newfoundland and Labrador, the PC Party has just handed the next election to Liberal Leader Dwight Ball.
Bill Barry, devoted family man, world traveler (having been to over 40 countries), well-informed businessman and passionate Newfoundlander, has just discovered that when you bring a message of necessary change to Newfoundland and Labrador, you are considered the enemy and certain people will do whatever it takes to prevent said change.
God forbid that anyone disturb the trough that MHAs (and the people who support them) feel blessed to feed from. The idea that someone would have the audacity to suggest that serving the people with courage and transparency was the real reason for public service was too much for the descendants of the merchant-mentality to deal with and so they rose up against anyone daring to suggest such change.
They remind me of this scene from History of the World – Part 1.
Intelligent, courageous, unselfish leadership is needed.
As I noted in posts such as Newfoundland–Should We Just Shoot It And Put It Out Of Its Misery? and Newfoundland–A Leadership Crisis, Not An Energy One, I mused about how the leadership of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government had seemed out of touch with both the people and the financial realities it faces.
A change is needed within the Government and the PC Party of the Province. It needs leadership that recognizes the value of the people, the need to serve the people and the importance of making difficult decisions to benefit the people in the long run (not just until the next election). This is essential in order to return the Province to a place where it can harvest its unlimited but unrealized potential.
When Bill Barry noted that a Government under his leadership would be that change, the MHAs quickly rose up against him and threw their support behind Frank Coleman, someone who promised to not rock the boat as noted in this article by The Telegram.
I don’t know about you but when I am taking over an organization that is trailing in the polls, indicating that I will “stay the course” doesn’t sound like much of an effective strategy to me.
It is clear that the MHAs feared change.and in throwing their support behind a candidate who promises to continue the current Government’s mandate and approach, they identified what was important to them:
- Their political party
- Their job
Somehow the people of the Province never seemed to enter the equation. Public service in the Province seems to be like a red light at an intersection in New York City – both are merely suggestions.
And while playing it safe seems somehow reassuring that all will be well in the future, the move in fact condemns the Party to a loss in the next election with many of the MHAs going down with the Party’s futures.
The Bottom Line
Newfoundland and Labrador needs a cranial defibrillator in the form of a leader who knows that difficult decisions are needed in order to create success and a leader who has the courage to make those decisions.
Instead, the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador likely placed the defibrillator on their own head and electrocuted themselves.
Frank Coleman will win the PC Party Leadership process uncontested although if I were a PC MHA I wouldn’t get too excited about this given past experience with acclaimed leaders.
In fact, when Mr. Coleman is ready to move into the official residence of the Premier, they might as well just give him a camper trailer in the backyard. He won’t be Premier long enough to move in and get settled.
There’s an old joke about a doctor who tells a patient that he has good news and bad news. The patient asks for the bad news first and he is told that he has three months to live. He explodes in anger and asks “If that’s the bad news, what’s the good news?” The doctor replies, “Did you see that gorgeous receptionist out front? I’m having an affair with her.”
And so it is with the MHAs of the PC Party in Newfoundland and Labrador. In their desire to protect themselves and those who support them, they have potentially condemned the people they claim to serve by denying the people access to a leader who could have led them out of the conundrum they find themselves in. There is good news and bad news contained within such actions. The good news is that the MHAs will move on to lucrative contracts, pensions and the like no matter what happens in the next election.
The bad news?
Well … I guess that’s up to the people to discover, isn’t it?
In service and servanthood,
PS I was going to title this blog post “Newfoundland MHAs Flick the Bird at the People” but then I thought “now that wouldn’t be very fair, would it?”. But then again, fairness is a two-way street when self-serving greed overrules the desire to selflessly serve the people.
On a side note, I interacted with some of Mr. Coleman’s people (including family members) on Twitter regarding his candidacy and they insisted he was not running even though I told them that his actions said otherwise. After he announced his candidacy, they deleted their tweets indicating that he was not running. Sounds like same-old, same-old in Newfoundland politics. Truth and honesty in politics are as easy to find there as a living member of the Beothuk people.
Addendum – A Leader Without A Vision – April 19, 2014
But when he spoke to The Telegram Friday, the premier-in-waiting was still counting on somebody else to tell him what to do.
“I’m going to wait for some direction from the (PC party) executive. I don’t want to kind of get in anybody’s face on Day 1,” Coleman said. “I don’t want that to sound like I’m not willing. I’m certainly willing to do what is required of me at this point, but I’m not trying to elbow anybody aside earlier than what the party wants.”
Sounds like the kind of leader I would want for a political party or a Province.
There’s not an iota of strategy, vision, passion or energy in his message.
Who wants that in a leader?
Or ….. maybe the rumor is true that the selection of the PC Party leadership was fixed and that he’s merely a puppet for someone else. If that’s the case, someone needs to slip their hand in a little deeper so that he has more things to say in order to incite excitement in the people.
Ahhhhh the stuff of conspiracy.
Addendum 2 – A Leader Without A Vision – Part 2 – April 21, 2014
I guess I’m not the only person concerned about the new PC Leader’s vision … or lack thereof as explained in this article Frank Coleman coronation turning into ‘train wreck’, prof says care of CBC.
I wonder if he has already written his resignation speech – the one that will be delivered after the PCs lose the next general election.
Funny thing about that is that I am a Conservative by nature.
But I’m also a realist by practice.