Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alberta and Newfoundland Politics–Tearing the Rot Out

Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one. - Sam Rayburn

Every good carpenter knows that if rotten wood is found within a building, you need to tear out not only the piece that is rotten but keep tearing wood out until one has torn out all the rot and has finally reached strong, clean wood.

Only then can a building be properly repaired, knowing that no rot is left hidden within to eat the building out from the inside.

As allegations of obscene spending and elitism by former Premier Redford continue to make the press, the attention of many is solely on her.  However, we must be cognizant of the fact that many people participated in or condoned her behavior, either spending the money themselves, benefiting from the spending, signing off on it, knowing about it and turning a blind eye anyway, etc.

And it is those people who represent the real rot in a Party – those who benefit from participating, those who are not smart enough to realize it is wrong or those who don’t have the courage to speak up and question whether it is wrong.  None of these are desirable attributes in any official, elected or buried within a bureaucracy.

Premier Redford’s actions may have provided the indication that rot was present but the real rot was revealed once she stepped down.  Unless we keep tearing back the rot, we won’t get to the real extent of the problem nor to the nature of the solution.

Replacing the leader won’t help us repair the rot … it will only hide it.

Meanwhile in Newfoundland ……

Cathy Bennett is running for the Liberal Party in the district of Virginia Waters against her opponent Danny Breen who is representing the Progressive Conservatives.

It wouldn’t seem to be a big deal except that for years, Cathy Bennett has been a significant PC contributor and beneficiary of plum PC-centric appointments while Danny Breen last year signed a Liberal membership card for reasons that are weak at best (including indicating he did so because a friend asked him to).

Then you’ve got the likes of MHA Paul Lane who crossed the floor of the Newfoundland Assembly earlier this year, from PC to Liberal, and now loudly trumpets the ineffectiveness of the PCs for the last 10 years (somehow forgetting that he never voiced these concerns publicly in the past while supposedly participating in the creation of this alleged ineffectiveness).

Even interim Premier Tom Marshall, whom I understand to be a man of strong character, participated in the activities of the PC Party for years with great vigor but has suddenly “come to Jesus” and is espousing the importance of listening to the voter.  It is amazing how poor polling results can convert even the most ardent “atheist”.

The examples of political color blindness and “come to Jesus” moments in Newfoundland are many and demonstrate that candidates and incumbents care less about Party ideology and more about choosing whatever party color or message is convenient to get or remain elected.

Could the old merchant mentality in Newfoundland and Labrador be alive and well but be hidden in plain sight in their politicians?

I wonder.

And to make matters worse, try asking the average politician in Newfoundland and Labrador about the numbers I referenced in my blog post Newfoundland–Should We Just Shoot It And Put It Out Of Its Misery?.  For almost all incumbents and candidates, you will discover that they either don’t understand the question or don’t have an answer and yet they will still try to convince you that they have the solution to everything that ails the Province.

That’s when you realize that what is standing before you probably looks and sounds more like this:

Despair.Com - Propaganda

The Bottom Line

When a house is rotten and we cover up the rot with strong wood and fresh paint, it may look pretty but it is still destined to collapse.

When someone who is unaware of the rot buys the house and it collapses, then we must blame both the seller for misrepresentation and the buyer for not inspecting the house.

But when we know the house is rotting and we buy it anyway, then it is shame on the buyer alone.

The old adage “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) holds equally true in politics as in Life.

I wonder if “the buyer” actually cares anymore about the quality of politicians they elect.  On the flip side, sell them a phone that blows up once in a while or something as mundane as a loaf of mouldy bread and then the sparks will fly.

And it is curious that we will spend more time planning the purchase of a new house, a new car or a vacation then we will choosing the politicians who are influencing the quality of our future - the future of our children and in fact, the future of the world.

Oh sure, words of indignation, anger, surprise and the like flow easily and copiously when we routinely participate in an almost annual ritual of “skewer the politician”. 

But I don’t think that words alone can change the direction of many things nor will words alone get the rot out.

I also think that when we know what we are buying in a politician and we buy it anyway, then it is not the politician that needs to be gets skewered. 

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


PS I’m going to stop writing about politics soon and get back to musings on business, strategy, humanity and the like.  However, as politicians and the quality of our elected officials go, so goes the impact on our Life personally and professionally (to some degree) and recent events in our provincial political system speak loudly about how much we care (or don’t) about the future we are creating for our children.

It also speaks loudly to what our priorities are and it makes me wonder if we care more about today than about the future.

The future always arrives.  A future of high quality is, however, not guaranteed unless we wilfully create it.

On the upside, we can always take consolation in the fact that we can continue to complain on the radio, in coffee shops and in op eds, can’t we?  Whew – thank goodness.  I thought all was lost.

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