Wednesday, January 22, 2014

THE MURKY ROAD AHEAD

There is no shortage of irony this morning as the media camps out in the lobby of the Confederation Building waiting for Premier Dunderdale to confirm her resignation.

The least popular leader in the country, her holiday in the Sun was cut short when her Caucus chair defected to the Opposition. Paul Lane's act of treachery or independence - depending on how you see it, moved up the timetable for the Premier's departure.

No one expected her to take the party into the next election. The race to replace her had already quietly began. The announcement was anticipated prior to the Spring session of the legislature.

As much as the public had grown weary of the Premier's leadership, or perceived lack of, the distain for Lane's conversion to the gospel of St. Ball is tarnishing the newly selected Liberal Leader.

From media feedback lines to the Open Lines, the public are just not buying what the former Tory attack dog is selling. Even Liberals like John Efford are questioning the strategy of accepting Lane into the fold.

The best thing, I would argue that the Liberals had going for them, was facing off against Dunderdale who had become a lightning rod for discontent. Her hasty departure sends politics in our province into the great unknown.

The Liberals will paint the caretaker administration with the same brush but I am not convinced that will be enough to guarantee electoral success against a new leader prepared to adjust the course.

The Liberals are no longer in the default position. The winds of change are going to force the party to be more accountable, offer alternatives and prepare for an election. The honeymoon is now over but it remains Balls election to lose.

Dunderdale may not have been a charismatic or savvy leader but she leaves her party very well financed and organized. The PCs are still driving the bus, it is up to them to keep it on the road or drive it into the ditch. They can regain the legitimacy to govern.

If I were, I would be making a purse out of a sows ear and attempt to define Ball's character by the choice to accept the rat within the grain. That message will define Ball and help even the playing field for her party.

No one likes a bully and there is already a sense of empathy for Dunderdale.

It will be ironic if Lane's defection defines Ball's leadership while the PC's get a new lease on life through a vibrant leadership process.


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