Thursday, March 8, 2012

POLITICAL DRAMA: WHO WON

I am pretty certain that I would have let the Speaker, and the Government members, play their partisan game to the finish rather than apologize to the House of Assembly for forcibly advocating on a behalf of a constituent.

Imagine, a Member of the House of Assembly not being able to get a reply from a minister, or her department for two weeks related to an urgent cancer care case. Leaving a couple of exasperated messages demanding a resolution to a problem - that needed to be decided before the close of business that day, appears to me to be an example of how strongly and passionately Jim Bennett feels about his constituents being ignored in their time of need.

What was the threat? To paraphrase, Bennett he said that after two weeks of stonewalling  enough is enough, if this is not resolved this afternoon, than I am going to ensure the minister wears this next week. What is wrong with that? 

Some politicians might have let the issue slide, to milk it for all it was worth on Monday. Bennett was more concerned about his constituents than headlines! He wanted to ensure they got the treatment they deserved.

This has got to be the most twisted political charade to ever play out on the floor of the House of Assembly. The public can see right through this crap.

Why weren't his constituents legitimate issues resolved or investigated prior to these calls? Would a government member have had to wait so long? Legitimate question.

Let's face it nothing Bennett could have done in the House today would have made a difference. The Progressive Conservatives have the majority, if they say he is in contempt - he is in contempt. If their speaker demands an apology without explanation, he has to apologize that way. They control the House. End of story.

Bennett's apology is much like the assumption that all of the members are honorable.

The Progressive Conservatives may have just ensured Bennett's re-election.

I'll let the public decide who was bullied and who was intimidated! 


25 comments:

Wm. Murphy said...

Peter...I think you have lost it!!

This nothing to do with what Kennedy or the gov't has done.... it is about Jim Bennett being an arsehole and bully and that he was outed for this behaviour. His defense: He was frustrated and a new MHA!! You got to be kidding. You are completely missing the point and deflecting. For instance, the issue of a constituient with cancer. So what? The issue concerning the constituent has nothing to do with the inapropriate behaviour.

If it was land issue compared to an issue involving chemo...would it be differen? Of course not....Bennett was a bully and he got caught. Just imagine trying to defend his comments because he is a new MHA. The man is in his 50's and he is an arsehole and bully...unless he is "new" when it comes to dealing with people.

Also, this has nothing to do with who has the "power" in the HOA....nothing at all. It has nothing to do with what day it was brought up or how it was brought up. If I was in the position, I would milk this for weeks in showing that we have a bully and arsehole from St. Barbe.
Stop drinking the Kool ade Peter and admit that Bennet was wrong. He used inapproprite language and intimidated gov't employees. This has nothing to do with Kennedy and everything to do with outing a complete idiot.

I also find it interesting that you flicked out this comment...If their speaker demands an apology

Wiseman has been in the House for 3 days and you hvae him labeled as bias. Is that so? I gues you might as well get rid of the Speaker too

End of story

Anonymous said...

Understood that Bennett is still practicing law together with his job as MHA...If this is the case and I don't know it to be, frustration doing two jobs could be getting to him...To act in the manner that he did under any circumstance is certainly not called for.

Anonymous said...

Just listened to Benntt voicemail posted on the Telegram..An apology is not sufficient.

Peter L. Whittle said...

I think it has a lot to do with who has power in the House of Assembly because right or wrong, in this case contempt, would have been decided by a vote. The party line would have carried. They are in a position to frame the issue and they have.

The bottom line for me is that the guy fights for his constituents in a province where open line hosts are more effective in getting patients surgeries, where CBC stories open up the doors to MRIs and the list goes on and on.

If an elected official can not get answers for weeks, not hours, or days...it has to be frustrating.


I am not drinking anyone's kool aide. He was doing his job and lost his patience with a system that was non-rsponsive.

As for the speaker, he will turn out to be as partisan as the last. person that sat in the chair. Listening to the story unfold today, I felt a certain structure to the tory assault.

Look at our own exchanges, they get hot and heavy over a lot less.

You have made your opinion clear.

You have also been very clear on how you feel about Bennett in the past.

People's lives and needs are not a game. You make it sound like this was his first call on the matter.

I look forward to listening to other opinions on the matter and determining how much I am outta of touch on this issue.

Anonymous said...

YOU NAILED IT WHEN YOU SAY IT AS NOT THE MEMBER'S FIRST CALL ON THE ISSUE. THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE OF CONCERN FOR SAFETY, OR ANY THREAT BEYOND EXPOSING THE EMPLOYEES FAILURE TO ADDRESS THE LEGITIMATE CONCERNS OF AN ELECTED MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. WHERE WAS BURKE WHEN HER OLD BOSS SAID PEOPLE SHOULD BE SHOT? THAT IS A HECK OF A LOT MORE THREATENING.

Anonymous said...

STOP SHOUTING AT PEOPLE

Anonymous said...

Just read your comment on Twitter. Well done Jim Bennett! Big deal - he threatened to call open line. I wonder if the public servants who work hard everyday to ensure that policies within government are carried out were prevented from dealing with this case because an opposition member was asking questions?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bennett let his emotions get the best of him. He was being ignored. He should not have left those messages, but he certainly did not threaten anyone in the way the government is portraying it. It is Burke and Kennedy that are playing politics with this issue. Any distraction from the real work of the house ill do!

Anonymous said...

Kennedy shouts about bullies and sitting next to him is the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture who told Earle McCurdy to shut up or have have funding cut? The issue here is that Minister Joan Burke's department refused to help a constituent in need of cancer treatment and they are attempting to vilify Jim Bennett for calling a spade a spade. Give me a frigging break.

Anonymous said...

Arrogant and pushy!

If that recording is an example of how he treats people than it might be time for some anger management courses.

Anonymous said...

CBC radio reporter David Cochrane just said that Bennett was stupid for leaving the message but he and other reporters have gotten more threatening messages from politcians and staffers. I wonder if they saved any!

Tom

Wm. Murphy said...

Peter

My previous comments about Bennett have nothing to do with this. If anything it just substantiates my previous points about the man...err, arsehole!!

So I guess your issue has to do with the moral indignation and historonics of gov't and not Bennett's actions. Okay then!!

You sound almost as bad as Jones in her laughable attempt to explain and defend the behaviour.

Jay L said...

Had the government handled this with any intelligence at all, Jim Bennett would have ended up resigning.

As it was, the PC's made such a dog and pony show out of it, that everyone's BS detector blew up from an overload!

If the Minister or her staff were intimidated, insulted, or anything of the sort, this would have come out on Feb 4th, and Jim Bennett would have been hung up by his fingernails.

Instead, on International Women's Day, poor helpless Joan Burke had to get big bad Jerome Kennedy to defend her from bullies. Not the message they intended, I think.

Jerome's master plan to hold onto the incident to exploit Women's Day backfired badly.

Who is giving political advice on the hill these days? A chorus of "YES SIR", no doubt.

As you like to say, no one up there has the gumption to tell "truth to power".

Peter L. Whittle said...

Wm, ironicly, I had done two post on Wed night that were posted yesterday, previous to the Bennett Call issue focussing on bullying in the House of Assembly and Mr. Bennetts approach to the minsiter of fisheries.

I think the government is going to wear this issue because of the way they handled it and the fact that they exploited International Women's Day for a very partisan game.

I think Jim was much more verbal than he needed to be, however in the same circumstance, knowing my short fuse for bullshit, the reaction might have been similar. So no, I am not going to be hypoctrical on an MHA who was being ignored on an important issue.

Obviously the system failed had failed the client or they would not have goen to their MHA for assistance. That is frustrating enough. When political appointees refuse to assist, or take a matter seriously for an elected offficial that frustration goes up.

If that MHA had been any of the government MHA's do you think the issue would have went unresolved for so long?

Sorry, Jim never threatened anyone. He said there would be public exposure of incompetance. He also did not call carrer public servants but a politcla office, staffed by political operatives who are manipulative as proven by the way this issue rolled out weeks after it occured.

Tony Ducey said...

While I can understand Bennett being frustrated the fact of the matter was the guy bullied Burke's office when it appeared he wasn't going to get his own way. His behaviour was unbecoming of a MHA and I can't see why anyone, including you Mr.Whittle, partisan or not would condone this.

Wm. Murphy said...

so there you have it...when someone is frustrated and unable to do their job in a timely and effective manner then it is okay to be a bully and intimidate those that you are dealing with.

My standards are different and respectful even when I am dealing with people that are less than forthcoming. It appears that my view is not shared by you....that's okay but I will take my approach any day

Peter L. Whittle said...

Tony:

First off, thanks for reading and participating.

I just want to preface my reply by stating that I do not have a horse in this race. My commentary is not based on any political bias or partisan positioning.

As a former political staffer and continuing observer of politics, I think is absolutely disgraceful that the government would choose to exploit international women's day to try and make a couple of misplaced political points.

This is an issue of piss poor service for an individual that needed assistance to get to his cancer treatment in Corner Brook. He had tried for weeks, without success to have the issue resolved. He contacted his elected member for assistance. For some unexplained reason, right up to the Friday before the Monday treatments ( keep in mind gov is closed on weekends) this individual had not received a response regarding the assistance, nor had the member.

The member did not vent on a career civil servant, he vented on the political support staff to the Minister responsible for the department that had not bothered to address his legitimate concerns about his constituent. What you call "unbecoming", I call passion.

Sure it was rough. Build a bridge and get over it. I have had rougher conversations with political staffers, ministers and bureaucrats.

The stress and feelings of this individual, facing cancer is paramount to anything else at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon.

This was never about getting his own way. The issue was that a legitimate need was not being addressed by the service provider.

Let's do an audit of the level of service that the individual received. Was the request dealt with in a time sensitive way? Obviously not? It should never have become a political issue in the first place. What about best standards? What about ease of access to the services needed? What about the response to the citizen in question?

I would suggest that we will never agree on this point. As an individual, I have no issue with Mr. Bennett. If anyone deserves to be apologized to it is the client ho was so stressed by a failed system that forces people to call MHA's, Open Lines and Newspapers to receive needed services, supports, surgeries and diagnostics.

I certainly feel that Jim Bennett has a heart of gold. He has a record as a champion of the underdog. I can not say that for the political actors involved in this farce.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Murphy:

I respect your approach but let's face reality, you never hesitate to heap scorn, insult or throw out some tough language when you want to drive home a point. You have used terms like idiot and asshole to describe people, even myself at different times.

Why are we holding Jim Bennett up to some sort of special standard when it obvious that he was passionately assisting a constituent who had not received a green light on some travel money to attend cancer treatments. A simple answer, a return phone call, a bit of respect for the office of MHA would appear to be a courtesy. Instead the Member was left to steam, to watch another human being be stressed for what reason?

I would argue that if one of your associates failed to respond in a timely way to a mortgage deal that jeopardized the closure of a sale, you would be all over them . Particularly if you had been trying to discuss the matter with out success, right up to the last minute.

If this was a case of "unable to do their job in a timely and effective manner", than a phone call explaining the road block would have been appropriate. Turning-up the heat, to make the client and the member sweat ,like some ministers are known to do in boardrooms, is unacceptable. That is intimidation.

I am sure, knowing my temperament. Having found unreasonable barriers for the delivery of services for clients in the past, that I have reacted the same way in the face of unbridled incompetency. There is a point where diplomacy is no longer much of an option - when the clock is running down and you feel like you are being ignored.

As for threats and intimidation, what was the threat, what was the intimidation? Make this right or I am going public? Give me a break.

Jim did his job, his constituent is better for it. I'll offer him a pat on the back for a job well done.

Anonymous said...

One word for this crowd and the publicity stunt...SLEAZE

Peter L. Whittle said...

I am attaching a quote from a Nf.general post from 2001. The author, Prez died two years ago.

He was a smart, articulate contributor to society who had been truly shafted by an uncaring system. His plight, was brought to me in part by his member, than PC MHA Shelia Osborne. She was at her wits end with the rules and procedures and narrow interpretations of officials. He was not a constituent of anyone I worked for, but his situation needed to be addressed. I waged war for this man, I yelled, I screamed, I called people idiots in an effort to see him "liberated". I was a political staffer fighting the people who employed me. Fortunately, I did not have to go public, fortunately no one came forward with tape recordings, fortunately, despite the fact that Osbourne was an opposition member, I was not blinded by partisanship.

The result:

"Clar, you owe this man a huge apology and he should expect nothing less than that. Don't be half ass about it as Grimes was, you have no right or justification to instill the notions of this nature in anyone's mind. Peter
is a great man, husband and father. He is a patriot in reference to how far he will go to help his constituents. He is a political martyr. Mr. Whittle
recently assisted a man who had been confined to bed and room for nearly three years, the mans situation had become critical in life altering living.
This man fought a system that denied a constitutional right to support and equipment that could at the very least provide him mobility. He lost his
battle on several occasions, until Peter joined the fight. To the amazement of family, friends and even foe, a man sentenced to death by a system that efused to listen or understand is now doing well and recovering. Thanks
Peter for your help. That man Is The Prez

The Prez"

I share this to make my point. Passion sometimes overwhelms. In the public service we are paid to serve not play politics with peoples lives

Anonymous said...

Politicians need to stop playing games with people's lifes.

Anonymous said...

YES, WHAT ABOUT JONES LOOKING OVER AT BURKE AND I QUOTE...IF YOU HAD DONE YOUR JOB THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAID..THE IMPRESSION I GOT FROM THAT, SHE WAS SAYING YOU GOT WHAT YOU DESERVE.....HARD TO BEAT THAT COMMENT ON WOMEN'S DAY. UNBELIEVABLE
.....WHAT IS IT COMING TO??????




.

Anonymous said...

I would rather have Jim in my corner than some silent backbencher that refuses to fight for his/her constituents. Burke is a former prison guard, timid and intimidated, Not a chance. The media has fallen for this hook, line and sinker.

Anonymous said...

What does any of this have to do with international women's day? except that Burke and company decided to try and tie the call to women and fear. For god sake why are the Status of Women not up in arms about this? The comments were not sexist, anti-women or threatening in any way. I can tell you why because Burke funds them and they know what happens when you challenge this government- you get cut off.

Peter L. Whittle said...

I am pretty certain that Joan Burke was not a prison guard. She was a social worker in the prison system. A real social worker with lots of education - degree and a masters..