Thursday, August 29, 2013


The day after red tory Tom Osborne knocked off Liberal Tom Murphy in the 1996 provincial election he started knocking on doors beginning his 17 year domination of the St. John’s South seat as a Progressive Conservative.

He hit the trail running the very next day distributing a constituent card, by hand, to every home in the new district. It made a great impression. After all, he was shattering the accepted belief that politcians only showed up at your door when an election was on the go.

I took the card, which featured a picture of a very approachable Tom Osborne with a purple border, and wedged it onto my bathroom mirror to remind me every day that the opposition was hungry, dedicated and savvy.

Tom is with out a doubt one of the best district MHAs to ever be elected to the House of Assembly. He works hard building relationships with the community he represents. He has never take their support for granted, always assisting his constituents navigate the intimidation of the various levels of bureaucracy.

A former tory cabinet minister, Tom did the unthinkable last year. He resigned from the than popular Progressive Conservative caucus, citing issues with the leadership of Premier Kathy Dunderdale, to sit as an independent M.H.A.

The lesson for the Premier, 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 not rubber stampers.

After a year of consultation with constituents he has elected to join the Liberal Party giving the party with the momentum a beachhead in St. John’s.  Osborne pointed out today that the Liberals are lagging behind the New Democrats in the city, a trend he hopes to help reverse.

How quickly the tides of political fortune have turned for the Liberals who nearly lost their status as the official opposition in the last provincial election. The good news keeps on coming as the party enjoys the spotlight of a competitive democratic leadership race featuring a number of stellar candidates. After a decade long slump in the polls, the party has rebounded to become the top choice of voters to form the next government.

Is this a case of a leadership vacuum resulting from an administration that has defeated itself or will the leadership race result in a leader with a fresh approach to governing our province?


Anonymous said...

Peter. The liberal party is certainly in a time of renewal. The leadership process has been excellent. There is open debate in this province! Your readers should take the time to listen to the recent debate in Gander which is on James McCleods blog page. The level of debate was high, and most importantly people were given the opportunity to speak. All 5 candidates were very articulate, and presented good logical ideas. It was energizing to the political observer. People like Jim Bennett, and Danny D. may not being taken as serious contenders within the mainstream media, but they are both contributing to the debate. Bennett in particular wants to talk policy across the entire spectrum of issues. It is very healthy. People in this province (those whom are not tuned out) are yearning for open discussion and debate. It has been missing for an awlful long time. Tom Osbourne is no idiot. He knows the way the tide is turning. His organization in the city will truly help the liberal party. The big loosers today are the NDP. People are talking about Dunderdale's slide, but they should also be talking about Michael's ceiling. I would not be suprised to see both leaders resign in the next 3-6 months.

Anonymous said...

The NDP under the leadership of Micheal have peaked. They are a party that has nothing to offer the average voter. Osbourne knew that he was not going to flourish in an NDP caucus of 4 or 5. It's the dawn of a new day and the early morning sky is red not orange. Red sky in the morning Kathy's warning.