Saturday, April 20, 2013

Does Premier Dunderdale Enjoy Pornography?

More than likely she doesn’t and frankly I don’t care what she thinks of it.

However, the scuttlebutt developing in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Premier’s interpretation of guilty by association when it comes to social media automatically implies that she does.

Doesn’t it?

Earlier this week, MHA Gerry Rogers was tossed from the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature because she was a member of an anti-Dunderdale Facebook group, a group in which a couple of stupid people made threats of violence against the Premier.

Threats against ANYONE have no place in society, especially against the men and women who give up many things personally and professionally in order to serve in public office.

However, because Ms. Rogers was a member of this group, she was informed that any comment by anyone in the group is considered to be automatically endorsed and condoned by all members of the group, including Ms. Rogers.

When the House therefore demanded an apology from Ms. Rogers for the threats she didn’t make (since she was considered guilty by association), she was removed from the House.

The Premier made a big fuss about how we should always be cognizant of who we associate with in social media, after which she had to deal with the embarrassment that she was following a porn account on Twitter.  Her embarrassment led her to close her Twitter account altogether instead of doing what most of us would do, blocking the offending account in question.

Now if I were to follow the Premier’s reasoning for punishing Ms. Rogers by association, I could state that one of the following is true:

1. The Premier enjoys pornography

2. The Premier enjoyed it for a time but stopped enjoying it this week

3. The Premier (and/or her handlers)  have no understanding of social media and the difficulties associated with managing one’s reputation in a world where anyone can state anything at any time.

Please make your selection now.

Regardless of whether Ms. Rogers was in the group wilfully (to monitor what others were saying) or she was enrolled without her knowledge, to place the words of an ignorant person into her mouth doesn’t make sense at all.

After all, heaven help us if we are all guilty based on a collision of the principles of guilty by association and 6 degrees of separation.

There wouldn’t be an innocent person left in the room …. or in the world.

As a proud Newfoundlander, I have heard many “Newfie” jokes.

But the worst (or best, depending on perspective) Newfie jokes of all are the ones where someone didn’t set out to make us laugh but did anyway.

As Premier Dunderdale did this week.

In service and servanthood,


Addendum – Leadership Observation

I could have titled this blog “Premier Dunderdale’s Favorite Porn Sites” or something nastier.

However, to do so would have unfairly associated the Premier with the subject at hand and judged her without data, without facts, without merit - unfairly and unprofessionally.

Most importantly, it would have unfairly judged her character.

I think we must be careful not to jump to conclusions or to intentionally sully anyone’s character before we know the facts.

What do you think, Premier?

Addendum – April 23, 2013

The Speaker of the House of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has now offered an official apology to MHA Gerry Rogers.


  1. Disturbing headline, Harry, about a thoroughly disturbing week. Well written! I'm thinking Premier Dunderdale probably has not enjoyed much of anything this week.

    I've never been at all political, but the actions and words from this week have made me move further from the Conservatives and the middle than I can ever recall. Thanks for putting a lot of these concerns into words!

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Lorne.

    Her actions this week are disturbing, childish, wasteful of resources and possibly provide a warning to anyone in social media.

    It also means that a soft underbelly within the Conservative Party of Newfoundland has been exposed, violating the principle of "never let them see you sweat".

    It doesn't bode well for the future of the Premier and the Conservatives in the province if this is the type of senseless, factless, disrespectful tact that is being taken.

  3. Sadly Harry, this all goes back to the Bill 29 idiocy of a year ago. It was a dumb idea to give Ministers the right to ignore any freedom of information request that was found "vexing". The assumption by many people being that it removes any responsibility for a job poorly done or left undone. If a department has skeletons to hide, Bill 29 allows a department to lock that closet. The major idiocy comes when these stories or facts eventually get leaked (as they always do).
    Similar again, was the desire to keep the P.U.B. from assessing estimates for Muskrat Falls. The P.U.B. was created with monitoring hydro projects: cost, expenditures and reasonable profits as the core reason for existing. Cutting them out of the loop when the reports finally were released looked incredibly bad.
    Then of course they have famously shown an inability to come even close on budget projections. In just over one calendar year, the Dunderdale government has taken a mountain of good will in the polls and pissed it all away with boneheaded or suspicious moves. Despite what some may tell you, there really is little credible opposition in the legislature. You may have 6 or 7 really effective MHAs in the entire legislature across all party lines. So it isn't the opposition that has brought them low. It is an "implode" of biblical proportions.

    In the end, I have little doubt that the kingmakers/queenmakers within the PC party are hard at work preparing a backup plan for the next election.

  4. Thanks for the comments, "Anonymous".

    I think the Conservative Party in Newfoundland is writing a how-to book for taking a relatively positive situation / position and throwing it all away - and doing it with arrogance which doesn't attract much sympathy.

    Bill 29, providing less access to information than many developing nations, was an incredible mistake, filled with hubris, lack of transparency, etc ... and was a warning of things to come.

    Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

    Create a great day!