Ethel Cockrane, often referred to as the mistaken senator, celebrated her 75th birthday over the weekend.
I have always had a lot of respect for the former school teacher from Lourdes. She worked hard to assist provincial and federal politicians of every stripe. She was an active senator who always worked diligently for her province. She brought a vitality to the job that many others neglect.
She was the first
Her birthday on Sunday past, September 23rd, created a vacancy in the Senate. Yes, Conservatives throughout the province are salivating at the prospect of being rewarded by Darth Harper for their loyalty to the empire in during the William's uprising, and after!
It would appear to me to be no coincidence that Darth Harper finally granted his 2011 top Newfoundland cheerleader an audience the day after the vacancy opened up. Did Premier Dunderdale and Harper discuss the senate seat? Did he offer her the job? Of course there is the door prize, the job of Lieutenant Governor - but that is only a four year gig!
Lets face it, we all know that Dunderdale was a pinch hitter, a one termer. She was the right person at the right time. Chosen to prevent a ruinous contested leadership in the vacuum of Danny William's departure. She was not supported because she was the brightest, the smartest, the most articulate, the most passionate, the strongest or the hungriest. Like leftovers or an old bag of chips for lunch, she was meant to tide them over. She is like one of those spare tires, meant to get you through a pinch until you can get a replacement.
The polls reflect the hangover that has become her term at the helm. It is cruel, but true. United they stand but out of the reach of the eighth floor, away from the spotlight, the talk is all about moving on before it is too late to right the ship.
An appointment to the sleepy chamber would be her reward for digging the old colors out of the mud, washing the Conservative flag and foisting it on provincial Progressive Conservatives.
Darrin King is prepared to take over the reigns of power. He might be contested by Steve Kent, Kevin O'Brien, Keith Hutchings, Paul Davis or David Brazil. The convention would be an opportunity for renewal as the old guard (Burke, Marshall, Jackman, Kennedy & Henderson) makes room for a new generation of Progressive Conservatives determined to make us even prouder and more determined.