Friday, October 23, 2009


"The decisions in Flower's Cove and Lewisporte are final decisions, They won't be changed." - Health Minister - Paul Oram
"We can't bring every service to the doorstep of every home in Newfoundland and Labrador, if in fact they want us to build new hospitals and they want us to provide pharmaceuticals and that. You know, there's only so many dollars to go around," - Premier Danny Williams.(03/09/09)

What would happen if your kid told his teacher "The dog ate my assignment", or if at work you failed to deliver on a contract because someone else failed to send you the information to finish it. Yea Right! The provincial government is now engaged in a bit of blame game and a reversal of policy related to health care clinics and services in rural areas, after being hurled into a couple of unanticipated by-elections.

The excuses offered up by the government do not pass muster with the public. Trevor Taylor's hasty resignation was the catalyst for a reversal that has nothing to do with responding to the health care needs of rural residents and everything to do with winning by-elections. If it was about catering to the concerns of rural residents the cuts would not have been made and local MHA's would not have been marched out to humiliate themselves publicly in defense of the GOVERNMENT LINE! The new Minister of Health, Paul Oram, said in response to protests and concerns that the government would not back down from the decision to cut X-ray and laboratory services to clinics in Lewisporte and Flower's Cove. Wade Verge must be wishing he had stayed his original course and backed his constituents.

The Progressive Conservatives are in damage control mode, throwing everything they have at this by-election. I have not seen so much interest in one little seat since Tom Burgess held the balance of power as the New Labrador Party member in 1971. At that time Joe Smallwood's tenuous hold on power was at stake. The results of this election will change very little in the House of Assembly. The opposition has the potential to grow from 4 to a big 5 up against a government of 43 or 44 members.

This by-election will not impact the balance of power one iota. For the people of Flower's Cove and Lewisporte, and St.Alban's, and the other communities that were told to prepare for changes, it has meant something. Clinics and services will remain as they were. Not because government was sold on the merits of keeping these services in place - those arguments held no water when there was no seat up for grabs - but because the government will sell its soul to win.

If you've read this blog at all you will know that I've been accused of a lot of things. Often folks chide me for supporting initiatives of this government. I am guilty as charged. Sorry, I am not colour blind. However, I could respect the government reversing policy in normal course, or even respect them following the original course, but this waffling, pandering for votes, is vote buying at its worst.

I ask myself, how important is winning? Is holding all the marbles worth your integrity? Do people care? Do politicians think people are too stupid, or are they too arrogant to care?

Whatever the outcome of this by-election, the Progressive Conservatives are a lesser party and Danny a lesser politician.


Winston Smith said...

"This by-election will not impact the balance of power one iota."

I beg to differ. More than any other government in NL history, the power of this regime depends on its image of popularity, not the actual seat count in the House. As commentators have pointed out in different ways, Williams is powerful because he is popular, and popular because he is powerful.

For Williams, it's never just about winning. Simple winning -- i.e., having a solid majority of seats in the House -- is never enough. For Williams, it must be total victory and total control. This is because this regime is not only the most poll-focused government in NL history, but also the most thin-skinned.

In a political climate where popularity and omnipotence are so vital to the governing party, this byelection is unusually important. Resignations can be explained away, but an actual rejection at the polls could puncture the popularity bubble, if only a bit.

But once the popularity bubble is punctured -- once people see that Williams may be vulnerable, if even in a small way -- then the political calculus will change.

Politics is about perception and momentum. If the public perceives that Williams is no longer in total control, then the momentum will begin to shift. We know that Williams' support is a mile wide, but soon we'll find out how deep it is.

Peter L. Whittle said...

The Telegram story today tells it all

Blech said...

Lose, as in to be deprived of something, fail to keep or to maintain, or cease to have, has only one letter "o".
Loose means not tight. Confusing the two makes you look illiterate, and, therefore, less credible.
But Autonomy Williams probably won't mind, as long as you continue to support him.

Peter L. Whittle said...


I am not sure that the loss of the Straights - a traditional liberal seat, with an obvious protest issue - could be seen by anyone but the most partisan as the Premier's bubble bursting. A loss of a seat like Kilbride or Baie Verte , yea.

I think though that the Premier's scramble to win this one does show that the government is paranoid about loosing a seat. The particular emphasis they have put on this seat, the influx of cabinet ministers, the reversals of the health care issues in Springdale and Flowers Cove have made this a much more important byelection than it need be.

If they were to lose now, your right, it could be very easily be said that all the kings horses and all the kings men could not put it together again.

I am hearing from some local sources that the NDP are not out of this race. That could be interesting to watch as well.

Either way I stand by my thesis that win or lose, the PC's and Williams have been hurt by their approach to this election.

Peter L. Whittle said...


I can handle and even appreciate criticism. Indeed I often seek it out. Criticism can give me a different and often needed viewpoint. Sometimes I accept it - after contemplation. Other times I reject it.

I would rather someone tell me something is wrong so I can fix it then have a thousand other people see the mistake. I also want to know if a link isn't working so that can be repaired also.

What offends are "put-downs." The "critic" who is primarily playing one ups on me. Such can quickly become a battle of egos. And blurs any valid criticism that otherwise might be absorbed.

Do you have anything to add to the discussion, or a comment on the original post, or t you'd just dropped by to chastise me? One should focus on the overall meaning and leave off the technical critique.

I often my self out there out there and in a rush, since I don't employ an editor, I appreciate a little constructive feedback. Rants and raves against one's work are not helpful, thoughtful comments, even with criticism, can be beneficial, and I think most welcome. Comments on spelling, typos and the like in my comment section are not needed or particularly helpful.That borders on nit-picking.