The only thing that surprised me about the departure of Tom Osborne from the Dunderdale Party was that it took so long.
Tom is one of the hardest working constituent M.H.A’s to ever have been elected to the House of Assembly. There is a great deal of admiration and respect for him throughout his district and the city.
His disenchantment with PC Party politics goes back quite a ways. The nexus appears to be the day in Cabinet when he learned he had been misled by his own colleagues about vital matters related to the Breast Cancer Scandal. His subsequent demotion from cabinet and alienation within the caucus led to a disengagement that has been obvious to political watchers for a couple of years.
The fact that PC MHA's and staff that I have spoken to over the past year admitted that Tom was "punching time" proved that there was potential for a blow-up. When I suggested he may just quit or join the New Democrats led to scorn. Tom is a team player. He is solid.
If someone as solid as Tom, a team player who would stand up and vote for legislation like Bill 29 despite his reservation, can walk away - what other unestablished players feeling the pinch of the polls - might be considering other options?
The lesson for the Premier, and her nasty acolytes, is that you can not suppress backbenchers from having meaningful roles in the policy and legislative process. Individuals are elected to have a voice, to be legislators. The heavy handed Kremlin approach of the past few years has created much internal dissension. The only thing holding this all together is machine politics, intimidation and a few suck-ups looking for promotions.
While the best course of action might be to step back, reassess and empower backbenchers – the Dunderdale administration seems intent on further retention.