All eyes are now on veteran Liberal MP and former Cabinet Minister Gerry Bryne.
No surprise, Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls M.P. Scott Simms is not going to throw aside his secure seat for the helm of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Simms is no slouch. He had to let those "party insiders" give him the pitch. He had to take time to weigh the options, or at least be seen too.
He is on top of his game, close to the rising star of Justin Trudeau, enjoying the job and the security of his pay cheque. The opportunity to lead the provincial Liberals will come again. Ask Brian Tobin, he dodged the poison chalice through the 1980's, taking up the mantle after Clyde Wells made the transformation a cake walk.
$750,000 in debt, organizationaly challenged, displaced by the New Democrats in the polls.
The Liberal Party is not even a fixer upper at the moment. The timbers are rotted, the foundation is floundering. No simple patch-up job will suffice. The property is worth something, but the structure needs to be hauled down all together.
The Liberals continue to search for the one.
The one who has the magnetism, charisma, profile and access to financial resources.
The one who can deliver rural and urban seats.
The one who can turn it all around in one swoop.
What they really need is a builder. Someone who appreciates the mess for what it is. Who is willing to get out on the hustings and take advantage of the souring support for the current administration.
When Danny Williams became the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2001 some said a townie could never be premier. The party was a shell of itself. Williams went on an unprecedented charm offensive. He toured the province in his camper. He shook hands, hugged babies, recruited candidates and rebuild the Progressive Conservative Party in his image.
The Liberals could learn a thing or two from how Danny William's built his PC party. It was much more than timing. It was much more than waiting for the people to throw out Grimes.
It was about planning
and a unified approach.
He was hungry.
He knew what he wanted
and how he wanted to do it.
With the leadership convention just nine months away and the election
several years after that, who from outside the caucus has the time,
money and dedication to take on the job? Can anyone trust the powers
that be at the helm of the parliamentary wing and the non-parliamentary
wing to play Ball?
The Liberals need that kind of focus. Instead of chasing off talent like
they did in Gander this Fall, the need to start showing candidates that
the executive and the caucus can be led. That they can follow orders.
That they can deliver on simple commitments without making a mess of them.
Now Liberals will wait a few weeks in nervous anticipation for the next great hope to bask in the warmth of the adulation while he mulls over what is best for him personally at this time in his life.
If Gerry thumbs his nose at it, than what?
- Peter L. Whittle
- A former journalist, broadcaster, political staffer and policy adviser, Peter has studied political science, journalism, public administration and Canadian politics. He has grown weary of partisan politics but remains engaged in public policy issues and community activism. Father to three teenage boys,he is committed to teaching them the values of cooperation, volunteering and caring for each other. All I want is for my children to be respectful and successful.