Thursday, February 20, 2014

THE COLEMAN FACTOR


I have only met Frank Coleman on a couple of occasions, I have never had a conversation with him. I have never heard a bad word about him over my twenty odd years of working in media and politics on the West Coast. I know he is well respected and believes in supporting the arts and the community.

As a successful grocer, Frank Coleman knows a lot about servicing the needs of consumers and making a profit in very competitive and saturated markets.

The Coleman success is the result of a strong work ethic, innovation, self-help, charitable work, and personal truthfulness. The Golden Pencil award winner is highly respected nationally and provincially.

He knows the value of a brand, how to stay relevant, innovate and appeal to even more to consumers. He has thrived in a time when many independent businesses from book stores to sports shops have closed shop because they could not compete with the international and national chains. He knew that to survive and grow the family business he had to abandon old business models, re envisage what they stood for.

He understands how to provide great products and great value. I imagine that he would bring all of those attributes to what ever political entity he was prepared to lead.

All of these attributes are easily transferable to politics.

Good Leaders are created by the challenges the times throw at them. This province is in need of leaders with business sense and a social conscious. Who are not afraid to be truly accountable and innovative. Who understand where the opportunities and challenges lie. We do not need career politicians. We need proven leadership.

Coleman, like Danny Williams and Clyde Wells, would fit comfortably into the Liberal or Progressive Conservative parties. I do not sense a partisanship as much as a genuine desire to improve our province.

Of course, Coleman is shrewd. He has to look at the Progressive Conservative Brand. Their market share has dismissed, the best-before date close to expiring. The fish is three days old and starting to smell. Is it salvageable?

How much of the current decline is attributable to cumulative erosion of support that comes with decade of governance? Can a new face willing to innovate, change and reimagine the PC Party's approach to governance and resurrect the brand?

What about the strength of the Liberal brand. Dwight Ball has taken the libs out of a decade long decline. He and his party are leading the polls by a substantive margin. Can this gap be overcome?

On the positive side, The government's public satisfaction numbers are good and growing, the party has a massive war chest, many entrenched incumbents and all of the resources of government.

They are also ripe for renewal. The deadweight can be cast aside allowing for a fresh energetic team team to emerge in time for the election.

They are far from dead in the water. One could argue that with the right leader, the Progressive Conservatives could easily be in the pole position going into an election, the timing of which they control.

In closing, I can not resist pointing out that one of democracies greatest Conservative leaders, Margaret Thatcher learned much of her common sense business approach from her independent grocer father. That business played a large part in forming her political convictions.

I think voters want conviction, work ethic, honesty, a strong business sense, a substantial plan and integrity.

If Coleman does decide that he can reform the Tory brand it will make for a much more competitive electoral race in 2015, or dare I suggest even late Fall of 2014.

I hope he is in.

It will be the shake-up the Liberals need to stop taking the outcome of the next election for granted.









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