Friday, February 7, 2014


“There is tremendous excitement throughout our Party in the leadership process. We are looking forward to convening a meeting of the entire convention committee in the days ahead to work out the logistics of this major undertaking.”

Tommy Williams,
2015 PC Leadership Convention

The governing tories are holding a leadership convention to elect a replacement for Premier Cathy Dunderdale on July 4th & 5th.

The winner will be determined by the assembled delegates of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. The first candidate to secure 50% + 1 of the votes cast will become Newfoundland and Labrador's next Premier.

Delegates are combination of ex-officios and elected delegates. Amongst the core group of ex-officios are the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and one other member of each of the party's 48 district associations. Each district will elect six more "leadership delegates" at public meetings.

The timing of this Leadership Convention just happens to coincide with the party's bi-annual district association elections. This means that even the district association delegates are in play. As winning the leadership is a numbers game, potential leadership candidates will be competing for every potential vote. The energy and enthusiasm should be evident at each and every opportunity to select a delegate.

If a photo of last night's election of officers for the St. John's East Progressive Conservative Association is any indication, interest in those district association's automatic delegate spots is anything but  indicative of "tremendous excitement" amongst the party's extra-parliamentary wing.  If the photo posted on Twitter by Telegram reporter James McLeod may explain why candidates are not rushing forward to apply for the vacancy created by Premier Dunderdale's poll driven sudden departure from the job.

It would appear initial interest is very low.  Where is this "tremendous excitement" that  the brother of former P.C.Premier Danny Williams and Leadership Convention Co-Chair Tommy Wiliams boldly claims?

If I were considering a run for the job, I would be stacking district association meetings to win as many coveted delegates as possible. There appears to be no party machine, let a lone candidate machine in play. What an opportunity for a special interest to seize control of the party while the gatekeepers are asleep? What an opportunity for an outsider to put  guaranteed votes in the bank for safekeeping!

If a picture tells a thousand words, than the story of this leadership race is extreme disinterest and entropy. If polling numbers are are just a snapshot in time, this snapshot is a picture of electoral fortunes to come.

The party had better start coordinating these executive meetings and filling rooms if they hope to make this leadership process dynamic and "tremoundously exciting"

As for the potential leadership candidates, these early meetings are low-hanging fruit, the easiest delegates they have a chance of picking-up. How can you just miss the opportunity? Where are the Skinner, King, Barry, Dally and Kent machines? Even if I had not made up my mind to run for sure, I would be locking-up every delegate I could get my hands on.

At this rate, timing the convention around the availability of Mile One was a real wasted effort, they could have booked the Royal Canadian Legion down by the Lake or the Lantern and still have lots of room.

No wonder Dunderdale bolted!

It really has the feel of defeat written all over it!

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