Sunday, October 21, 2012

LIBERAL RENEWAL: A CALL FOR REAL CHANGE


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 "Let them call me a rebel and welcome, 
I feel no concern from it; but I should 
suffer the misery of devils, were I make
 a whore of my soul"

THOMAS PAINE

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When I walked away as the Director of Operations and Policy with the Opposition Liberal's, it was with a heavy heart. I walked away from a good salary and a job that I once enjoyed.

I was frustrated with the lack of leadership, the failure to offer constructive & responsible opposition, the failure to plan for the next election and some staffing choices.  The biggest issue was our House Leader's behind the scenes wheeling and dealing with the Government House Leader over resources and passing legislation 

While resources were being cut for staff, the MHAs had come to an agreement on some new financial awards for the MHA's. The IEC approved a special payment of $2,500 + HST ($2,875)to MHAs beyond the established maximums of their constituency allowance limits. Only Danny Williams and Elizabeth Marshall refused to accept the "bonus".  These payments could be claimed without being supported by any receipts for actual expenditures incurred In the end. The Auditor General shammed the MHA's into returning the money.

I was forced to cut jobs, while the MHA's were getting a bonus!

It knocked the good right out of me.

So much for teamwork!

I was done in spirit, long before that Sunday evening when I cleared out my office to spend some time figuring out why I am here? and how can I make meaningful change.

Since that time, I have become the poster boy for many disgruntled dyed-in-the-wool myopic hangovers in the Liberal Party. Apparently, speaking the truth to the powers that be inside the tent was tantamount to treason, doing it outside the tent makes me a quisling.  

I am free of the shackles of Dogma, I am a Chretien Liberal baptized in Trudeau Liberalism.  I know my ideology, finding a political home ... now that is the challenge.  If Liberals want to hide the warts, dodge the tough observations and  to turn a deaf ear to what is really being said, than they do so at their own peril.

Do not count on me to be propagandist for those that have refused to listen, who have driven the Liberal Party into the ground.

Frankly, I feel the Liberal Party needs  workers more than they need the party. What is the Liberal Party? What does it stand for? What would it take to get me, let alone my  neighbors to vote Liberal again?

I don't have an answer for that, except to say that the angry, paternalistic, noninclusive approach of the past, needs to be left in the past.

The party's parliamentary wing and extra-parliamentary must be on the same page. That means finding an approach the earns votes on the urban vote rich Avalon as well as the rural areas.

I gave up pissing in the wind. Talking to walls and accepting the status quo. It was not serving our democracy well. Danny Williams huge popularity alone did not create this lopsided democracy, a decade of missteps, of greed, of egotism and misplaced priorities left the field wide open to the rise of the New Democratic Party and Progressive Conservative domination.

Today, I attended a Renewal Meeting. I have declined to attend any of them in the past, including one for former staff because I had felt to this point that the Parliamentary wing was undoing the sincere, dedicated work of the renewal committee. One step forwards, two backwards. The failure to understand internal/external communication and organization had been disastrous.

What I heard was a room full of people that believed in social justice, in responsible spending and who had been driven away from the Liberal Party. Disillusioned with failed processes, failed leadership, and disdain for what their party had become.

Any thoughts that I have to offer about renewal can be found on these pages. I certainly can not be accused of taking any back doors.

I just can not seem to get on-board because, frankly, I am still looking for that promised renewal where merit trumps nepotism, where double dipping is shunned on and conflicting opinions are discussed, not a reason for being blacklisted, and kicked to curb.

I left today's session knowing that I was not alone. 

I left hopeful for the future of a once great party... hoping that the Jurassic's will finally accept that they remain the obstacles to true renewal.

It is time to let go of the past and chance the future.

I'll keep the pressure on.

 


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a reader of both Bond papers and your blog, I find it interesting reading this post. Your battle with each other played out in the comments sections of each blog is a interesting parallel to the battle you talk of in the liberal party.

Anonymous said...

Renewal, how about recycling!

Tobin, Williams and now here comes MacDonald!

More of the same stuff from the same old gang. Nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

How many people were at the meeting? The Liberals have been very skilled in hiding how many people have been showing up at these events!

Anonymous said...

The party needs a leader, the rest will follow. I saw Dean MacDonald on the news. How will he square his support for Muskrat with the current leaderships opposition?

Wm. Murphy said...

Interesting Post when I just read a report in which Coady claims people are coming back to the Liberal Party in "droves"

Nothing like a morning cofee and a bit of humour to start your week!

Anonymous said...

Droves! I watched the story on CBC TV last night. The room was empty! Peter, how many people attended the big St. John's renewal?

Be honest, please

Anonymous said...

Two time reject Coady trying to reinvent herself. Danny Dumeresque was in the shot too. Lots and lots and lots of grey hair. I would wager there was more staff there than anything else. All the rejected staff/candidates. If that is renewal than the Liberals are going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

We want to form the government, they say. Earn it I say.

Why would anyone give them the keys to power after nearly bankrupting the province. The PC's have brought us to have status. We have never been better off.

Peter L. Whittle said...

There were about forty people at the session I attended. I understand that over 1000 took part in the virtual town hall last evening.

This session was one of several that have been held in St. John's.

I had not planned on attending or speaking but some old friends asked that I at least hear them out. I did. Got a personal blast from a former treasurer who thought my blog was too negative and non-helpful to the party. We had a little back and forth over my refusal to be an apologist or a propagandist for the Liberal Party. I enjoyed the session. Perhaps they should be calling it the truth and reconciliation sessions.

Anonymous said...

How did super Deans fundraiser go on Saturday. Did you attend? Did he explain his support for his buddy Danny's hydro deal?

Peter L. Whittle said...

The fundraiser was a success. Biggest gathering of provincial liberals in the city in a very long time. Classy affair!

Anonymous said...

This was just shown on CBC News. If you take out the Liberal staff and Danny Dumberesque there were very few people there.

Anonymous said...

I understand they have held a number of sessions here in the city, this was the last chance. I guess there was thirty people there including staff.

Anonymous said...

If the "Biggest gathering of provincial liberals in the city in a very long time" amounted to 30 bodies (including a dozen staff), the only thing that was renewed was their inability to draw people to support them.

Peter L. Whittle said...

It appears this thread has broken into two. Someone asked me about the Dean MacDonald event on Saturday morning which was filled to capacity, 300 or so people. That was what I was talking about regarding the most people at a prov liberal event.