Wednesday, October 25, 2017

THE NUMBERS SAY

The sky is falling, the Provincial Liberals will never be re-elected.

If I had a loonie for every single time that I heard that refrain in the past 18 months, I could pay Aidan's tuition! In politics they say a week can be a lifetime. Politicians like to pretend they don't follow polls. The party on the decline likes to say they are just snap shots in time, the only poll that matters is on Election Day! The party in assent normally smiles, says something about being pleased with the trend and reminds the public that the only poll that counts is elections day. Than they nearly choke up the internet getting the polls and the good media stories out to the faithful.

A poll released today shows the Liberals have rebounded with a spectacular jump in decided, and leaning support,  of 17 points since  MQO Research's quarterly poll in July. That is majority government territory.

Last month, on September 13th, a poll showed the Liberal Party had pulled ahead for the first time in months. 

The Corporate Research Quarterly Poll showed the Liberals were the most preferred political party in Newfoundland and Labrador. According to CRA, "Four in ten decided voters backed  the governing  Party (40%, compared with 34% in May 2017).) The survey was conducted from August 9 to September 2, 2017, with overall results for the province accurate to within ± 4.9 percentage points in 95 out of 100 samples. 

The Liberals are climbing at the expense of the Progressive Conservative Party whose support is clearly dropping like a stone. They will learn who their new leader is on April 28, 2018. The Tories just lost their Wonder kid and leadership hopeful Steve Kent whose read of the political tea leaves was to get to higher ground. He resigned on October 10th. Coincidentally, the Liberals called the by-election yesterday, setting  November 21 as the day voters in the  district of Mount Pearl North will elect their new MHA.

It is a seat that is blue as blue gets around these parts, but the recent polls have certainly put the wind in the governing parties sails. A good showing in the by-election would be victory enough for them after the chaotic first half of their term in office. Winning the seat would cement a rebound.  

It is difficult to say who will benefit from the sobering dire recent pronouncements from the Auditor General and the Memorial University Economics doomsayer Dr. Wade Locke. One thing is for certain - the Progressive Conservative reign over the most prosperous decade of our existance  and mismanagement of our oil revenues and the Muskrat Falls Project will weigh heavy on peoples minds.

The NDP was first off the mark nominating unknown Nicole Kieley to bear the orange standard. The Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives  are in the midst of  deciding who will represent them/ Tories Jim Lester and Chuck Nurse are vying for the PC nomination. Real Estate mogul and philanthropist Jim Burton and Mike Kelley are seeking the Liberal nomination. 

It would be unfair to consider a by-election in this staunch Tory seat a referendum on the current Liberal Government but it will certainly be viewed as a litmus test for the Progressive Conservatives. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

RENEWAL, RECONNECTING AND RE-EVALUATION

It has been a while, a long while, since the last posting.  My last post was nearly a year ago, on January 31st.  That is the longest that I have been away. I have not yet decided if my blogging days are over despite the consternation from close friends about putting your neck out there for what.  As one of my favourite politicians likes to say "Where has it all gotten you?"

It's a lot easier to keep at something without seeing a return if you really enjoy it. 

Life gets busy. Sometimes one has to pay a little more attention to things that pay the bills. Getting drawn into social media debates with folks who just want to banter without any substance is also a real energy drainer. 

However, the fact is that you don’t have the right to speak freely. The combination of intense political polarization and the limited opportunities here equates to a hefty price tag for those of us who want to stir-up a discussion or advocate on issues. You might win over your friends—but those same opinions can also cost you a job.  Political beliefs have cost me a few contracts and opportunities that have resulted in out of court settlements. I know that every utterance is on the public record from my early letters to the editor, the newsgroup chats, Twitter, ICQ, Messenger and of course my blog posts.

I recently read that 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. Over 50% of the time employers reconsider hiring after scanning your internet presence. Here is something else to consider, 66% of hiring managers hold poor spelling and grammar in social media against candidates. That thought just makes me cringe.

On the average day I have a routine of checking some of my favourite media outlets and blogs to get my daily fix of politics, opinions and interesting news of all sorts. The media play a central role in informing the public about what happens. With the advance of the alternative facts industry, the public is fed a daily menu of propaganda, particularly in areas they do not possess direct  knowledge of experience. You see these stories parroted across Facebook all the time. The construction of public beliefs and attitudes are often shaped by  so called "fake news."

Than there is my approach of trying to step outside the issue and look at it objectively or argue a side that I might not support in the hopes of generating a discussion or understanding opposite points of view. My aim is to foster public interest through presenting articles, perspectives and arguments in the hopes of focusing readers and informing public debate.

Outspokenness might embarrass decision makers to change course but it does not mean they forget who forced them to deviate from the their original plan. It all amounts to impeding your right to free expression. 

The big change, I turned 50 last week and the question that taunts me is where has all this advocacy and standing on a soap box gotten me?  The sand in the top half of the hour glass is diminishing, I am officially old! The question now is not if, but when? Growing old is a reality - I am not completely in control of my destiny. What I am in control of is how I feel about myself. 

In addition to renewing and reconnecting, I am re-evaluating and examining.  It is time to stop questioning myself and get on with what I want to do - experience and become. 



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NL AND PEI ELECTIONS OF 2015 IN REVIEW

As a geek for things political, I have to admit to growing a little tired of the Donald Trump fiasco.  It is all doom,gloom and anxiousness wondering what will come next. 

So, a little break from surfing the web and getting caught up in the facts, and alternate facts, being spewed by spinners, politicians, news agencies, bloggers and everything in-between.

I found a couple of good essays in the Canadian Political Science Review related to a pair of Atlantic Canadian Elections. 

The 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador Election: Liberals Have a Ball as PC Party Suffers from Post-Williams Hangover by Memorial's Alex Marland makes for insightful reading. Here is the abstract:

From 2003 to 2010, Premier Danny Williams maintained a tight grip on the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party of Newfoundland and Labrador and the provincial government. His chosen successor Kathy Dunderdale carried the party to a third consecutive majority government in 2011. But the new energy of her leadership masked serious cracks in the PC Party foundation. Barely two years into her mandate, Premier Dunderdale resigned, setting in motion further political instability as the party fumbled to replace her. All the while, Dwight Ball and the Liberal Party won by-election after by-election, public opinion poll after poll. That the Liberals would form the government after the 2015 general election was a certainty; that the opposition won so many seats in a smaller legislature was the surprise. Early in his tenure, Premier Williams often remarked that he was responsible for cleaning up the economic mess left by the previous administration. With growing budget deficits stemming from overspending, coupled with declining offshore oil revenues, the economic problems and difficult decisions awaiting Premier Ball and the Liberal government are just as ominous.

While not related to this province, the journal published a review of the 65th General Election that took place in the Spring of 2015 in Prince Edward Island. The 2015 Provincial Election in Prince Edward Island by Donald Anton Desserud, Jeffery F. Collins. 

While the Liberals won a third straight majority the outcome saw the NDP fail to win a seat while the Green Party leader won a seat in the legislature. Another interesting story that came out of the election that you might find interesting was 
a coin toss that decided the outcome of one seat! Liberal candidate Alan McIsaac's seat in the P.E.I. legislature was affirmed by a coin toss on Tuesday, after a judicial recount revealed a tie against Progressive Conservative incumbent Mary Ellen McInnis.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

STREET PROOF YOUR CHILDREN - PREDATORS ARE EVERYWHERE

A disturbing bit of news from home.

A strange man tried to convince a young girl to get aboard his truck for a ride. It's a small town, everyone knows everyone. Kudos to the young girl who showed her street smarts in refusing to comply with the man's request. 

This is not something we are accustomed to in small rural communities where folks leave their doors unlocked, trust their neighbors and rely on one another. These sort of things don't happen here. Until they do.

There are plenty of examples of shock, betrayal and shattered perceptions of safety in our rural communities. community leaders charged with sexual assault and the rare murder. 

The sleepy, slumbering small town full of god-fearing residents is a thing of the past. A romantic notion that allows the predators amongst us to strike because of our perceptions of safety. It is a safe community, nobody bothers anybody - for the most part.

The wake-up call that predators have infiltrated our institutions and our society. Priests abused alter boys for two generations, educators have run afoul of the laws and community leaders have been charged and convicted of sex - related crimes.

The harsh realities of our highly sexualized world and the impact of sexual predators is not new.  We want to believe we are safe, but it is not logical.

In this digital age, we have to worry about more than the walk home or the playground. There are message boards and chat rooms where they surf and chat in the hopes of finding victims.

In reality, the image of some creepy dude driving around in a van or truck trolling for kids to abuse for their perverse sexual gratification makes headlines. 

We don't like to envisage Uncle Sam or Aunt Lorraine, our neighbor's next door, the friendly pastor, another family member, or trusted co‐workers. These predators come from all walks of life and from all social economic groups.  They can be male or female, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, religious or non‐religious, or from any race. 
Sex offenders live amongst us. 

There is no “perfect” place, Sex offenders are in every community. The key is street proofing your kids.

Is anything more important to parents than the
security and safety of our children? Take precautions that help protect our kids from abduction and
sexual abuse.