The Federal Conservatives fired everything they had at Liberal Scott Andrews leading into, and during, the 2011 election campaign.
The young upstart knocked off Liberal stalwarts Norm Whalen and Wanda Dawe to capture the party nomination in the Avalon Riding in February of 2008. He went on to slay a political giant in the October General Election. Pundits were forced to eat their criticisms when Scott trounced Conservative Fabian Manning. He won by more than 5,000 votes
Manning was subsequently appointed to the Senate in 2009, where, underwritten by the taxpayers, he embarked on a strategic campaign to unseat Andrews. For much of the period Manning was busy delivering federal largesse and cheques, attending press conferences and acting like the MP.
The official re-match began when Manning resigned his Senate gig to become the Conservative candidate in March of 2011. Andrews, the incumbent, handily defeated Manning - once again. The humiliated Manning was re-appointed to the Senate in May.
Andrews, a former executive director of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, maintains a commitment to assisting the provincial party. He has a very well oiled provincial network that has often been pumped to assist the provincial grits with fundraising and organizational support.
His thanks for that dedication and loyalty. The interim leader of the party picks nepotism, and rewards a person who campaigned against Scott for Fabian Manning in last year's federal election to be his Executive Assistant.
Now, let me be clear, I have always said loyalty and ability make the best combination for a political staffer but have the Grits not learned the impact the hiring of former Conservative candidates and workers has had on the morale of able Liberals.
Look at the damage that has been done. George Murphy, a high profile, and able Liberal communications person tossed aside. Not worthy for a communications directors job, or any other position. Other qualified staffers, with years of political and communications experience were passed over to hire former Conservative Party of Canada candidate Craig Westcott.
I like Craig, a very capable and politically smart guy, but he was a Conservative. The decision was demoralizing for a lot of active liberals who changed their minds about waiting for the Liberal Party to get its act together. They showed their disdain with their feet and sat out the last campaign. George Murphy, now sits as an NDP MHA.
I can't help but ask how did that work out for you, guys?
There are many other examples.
If this is how the leader is going to go about rebuilding the party, than go to it sir? Continue to piss off those that actually have given years of service and commitment to the party you inherited. Renewal indeed!
Adding insult to injury, the federal party in the form of Justin Trudeau, just raised a wad of cash for the depleted liberal coffers. Talk about a slap in the face.
Why would any of them want to invest time, talent and money into a party that has so little respect for it's own supporters and talent.
Liberals are seeing red alright.