I first got involved with partisan politics because of inequities in the distribution of government services when I was a kid. St. Bernard's was part of a very liberal voting seat that rejected the Moores and Peckford administrations of the 1970's, and it showed. The roads were not paved, the potholes were more like swimming pools and there was no water or sewer. I used to joke that Tory cabinet ministers would drop down here and kidnap a child for Sunday dinner, they held so much disdain for us.
Third world right up to the early 198o's. Something changed. The seat flipped and Don Stewart, a Progressive Conservative, won the Fortune-Hermitage seat. It was not long until we had water and sewer, the roads were paved and potholes were a thing of the past. The local community council could barely sustain the weight of the new found services. Those 60/30/10 grants sound great until a small town has to ante up its 10%.
From 1989-2003, St. Bernard's was represented by a government member. I always commented on the fact that the roads were in great shape compared to other roads I found myself traveling on like in the Codroy Valley or Bay St. George South.
Something happened again in 2003. The government flipped and this area failed to get on the bandwagon. The roads are now in the worst shape I have ever seen them. Certainly, I will complain about the potholes in St. John's again! Is the side of the House of Assembly a factor in the condition of roads? Is paving machine politics still a factor in Newfoundland and Labrador politics?
The residents of the district saw the light and voted for a Progressive Conservative in the last election. Pavlovian politics is alive and well. How many broken shocks, springs and front ends does it take to change your vote?