Thursday, November 15, 2012



 "It is a mark of wisdom not to kick away the
 very step from which we have risen higher.
 The removal of one step from a staircase 
brings down the whole of it." 

Mahatma Gandhi 

$850,00 in the hole with no leader apparent!

It must be a tough day for provincial Liberals who were looking forward to the potential of Dean MacDonald as a leader of the once competitive party.

MacDonald has always played a backroom role in the party.  In the 90's he was one of the parties biggest fundraisers. Obviously, there was a period when he was pretty much excommunicated by the mandarins in the party for his stance on a flawed hydro project that the Grimes' government was forced to abandon.

The gang on the 10th went to great lengths choosing to discredit their former rainmaker, instead of accepting his advice as chair of Newfoundland Power to negotiate further with Hydro Quebec. Further negotiations did not fit the political time-frame for an administration that needed some oomph and legitimacy for the campaign ahead.  

Despite the revisionist history, he made the right call.

Despite the character assassinations, he stayed the course. 

Over the past couple of years MacDonald has contributed greatly in terms of fundraising, organization and party renewal. He spent hours on the road attending meetings, hearing liberals concerns and making recommendations to a party that has lost its way & perhaps its relevance.

Dean's presence offered the possibility that the party might not just bounce back in 2015, but offer an attractive policy agenda. That momentum came to a screeching halt yesterday. Liberals and the public are now in a daze, now what? 

Can the Liberals mount an alternative to the Progressive Conservatives or the New Democrats? Will anyone contest interim leader Dwight Ball for the poison chalice? Will the Liberals be able to tackle their internal financial and organizational issues?
The Liberals have struggled to prove their relevance. They have acquired some good staff. Carla Foote has been a tremendous asset as Communications Director, replacing  Peter Miles who was in the wrong seat on the bus. He is shining in the role of Senior Policy Adviser where is experience is shining through. There are a few other top notch researchers, but the pickings are slim. The latest return to the opposition office has tongues waggling, and I can see why!

An effective opposition should offer constructive criticism, accompanied by well prepared and sound alternative policies and strategies. The propose nothing, oppose everything approach is flawed. Where is the competition on policy and ideological alternatives? Official opposition parties are supposed to “governments-in-the waiting” or “alternative governments”

The Official Opposition office and the party need to be in sinq. Playing both sides against the middle has created chaos, confusion and planted the seeds of frustration. Instead they have tarnished nearly every positive effort. They remain engulfed in a decade long zero sum game that has seen leaders come and go. The result, a self-serving approach has led to very little advancement by the parliamentary wing or the extra-parliamentary wing.

Those reading this on the fifth floor will continue the refrain that I am bitter. A former staffer with an axe to grind!

What I am is angry because the Official Opposition has not performed to a satisfactory level to attract winning candidates or financial contributors.  All I have seen is a desire by a small group of people to hold on to a little bit of power – and access to funds. This small group does not care about the party or the public’s well being and the democratic consequences of their actions.

A news alert gang:  The Liberals received 19.1% of the popular vote in the last election. The distribution of seats provided the party with one last chance to get it right. You are blowing it!

The staus quo reigns supreme, garbage-in garbage-out.


Anonymous said...

Peter, Dean's departure from the leadership race (although he was never really in it), will in itself provide this party with an opportunity to grow even further. The fact he led the renewal tour was a mistake, renewal was about how to appease the old liberals, not embrace the true opportunity that exists as you've indicated. With Dean out of the way, now it might be an opportunity for some new blood to actually step up, to shine and present a clearer alternative that isn'r wrapped in conservatism or neoliberalism. It might be something that's more socially accepted, and embraces what the people truly want, a government that is more in tune with the needs of the people, supports the ways of a cleaner, rural living and allows for businesses to flourish next to the oil. As for you being a bitter ex-staffer, no one could ever think that could they? What reason have you given them to think that way? Yes, that's steeped in sarcasm.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Like all the anonymous comments from you - I expect some sarcasm.

I hope that you are right about some new blood and clearer alternatives.

There are very few of the caliber of Dean MacDonald. The business mix with traditional liberal values. I can think of a few. I hope they come forward. Time will tell.

As for the glass half full spin, that is what it is - spin!

I also hope they are not chased of by the self serving group that continues to mess this up.

Your comments would have a lot more credibility if you did not hide behind anonymity.

Any theories on why I might be bitter?

Anonymous said...

Oppositions oppose. When they stop opposing, like they did in the post 2003 Grimes era, they lose their relevance.

Your hero Danny opposed everything. He was a negative, non-constructive opposer. Didn't hurt him.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Whittle's take on the Liberals. There is no way the liberal party will grow or become more attractive to the voters with the likes of Dumaresque, Efford and the others playing spoilers in the backroom. McDonald at the helm would have likely attracted some new faces to vie for a seat at the various districts, that won't happen without a leader that could possibly win. Let's face it, people are more likely to get behind a strong horse in a race. I will watch with intertest to see who runs for the liberal leadership, and for who will finally take the reigns. The status quo will not cut it.

Anonymous said...

Who said they should not oppose?

Opposition for the sake of doing it does not breed credibility. Opposition with alternatives does.

That is how Clyde Wells unlocked the doors to government.

Measured, well presented opposition builds political currency that gains interest. Self-serving and loathing leaves you poor and broken. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Actually, it was said that Clyde Lied

Anonymous said...


Long time reader, first time poster.

I read you blog on a regular basis and have to agree that there is / has been some bitterness that's come out in your posts. You have turned against a party, criticize, demand better from those involved but have done nothing to offer any real suggestions on how to do this. You criticize for the sake of criticizing. Perhaps you should join Ms. Reardon in her current state of bitterness after being "forced out" as she has indicated. You both seem to have a lot in common.

You know of a few alternatives to Mr. MacDonald I'm sure. While I don't profess myself to be an insider, there are some great people that are on the outside, who are contemplating stepping forward for the Liberal Leadership. Not a political bone in their body, but they are steeped in social values, fiscal conservativism and are more than capable of leading the party. Ask around, they're available, on the West Coast and in the St. John's area. They are passionate, care about the province & the party. They are openly critical but you know what, they do something that you don't, they offer suggestions from within the party on how things should be and offer real alternatives instead of holding onto the old liberal ideals.

Step back from it, put you bitterness aside, ask around, work for the greater good, it's much more rewarding.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Holy Shit! Are for real?

The greater good? The greater good, what drivel.

Bitter about what? Seriously what would I have to be bitter about?

Shannon Reardon said...

Actually, "Anonymous", I am pretty stoked by the turn of events, no "bitterness" here! It was obvious what they were lining up for, and he pulled the plug pretty abruptly, didn't he? I heard some bitterness went down in Gander, though! Did that have anything to do with the quick departure?

Peter L. Whittle said...

Anonymous 11:26:00 PM:

On reflection, the tone of your writing exposes who you really are.

I do wish that you would show some leadership and deal with the internal issues you have created on the 5th floor. Seriously how do you continue to allow that circus to continue,unabated?

If you would, please explain why I would be bitter? Disappointing & Angry, yea but bitter...

Besides, my post was balanced. I did not indicate that there were not others that could lead the party. What is the mess you have continued to propagate is the problem.

Peter L. Whittle said...

and for the record, you may want to check the record. I left when Jim Bennett was leader - because I found it untenable that the caucus refused to accept the new leader and the party was not preparing for the next election. Spending my days listening to grumbling about what sports car the premier was driving or if his plates were outdated was not worth the mental anguish.

No one forced me out!