Monday, November 17, 2014

RISING TO THE HERCULEAN TASK

The House of Assembly has re-opened with a new Premier and a much larger official opposition. 

This time last year  Kathy Dunderdale was Premier, the Liberals had an interim leader and seven less members of caucus and the NDP were in shell shock from the departure of two of their five person caucus. 

The dramatic shift of seats in the House of Assembly underscores how much the political landscape has changed across the province

The Liberals have won five consecutive by-elections and are poised to capture two more. If the current polls and electoral patterns hold, the Progressive Conservative Party will be decimated in the 2015 Fall Election.

Premier Davis has a daunting task, rebuilding his party, advancing in the polls and recruiting candidates, not to mention governing in-between by-elections.  

His task was made more complicated with the brazen appointment of an untried young lawyer in the Justice portfolio who has no intention of seeking election to the legislature until the General Election. Many within the party blame the appointment for the recent tight by-election loss of the P.C Stronghold of Conception Bay South.

The opening shots in the legislature were not as eventful as anticipated. The government was not knocked of their game. In fact, Davis sounded and looked like a Premier, taking questions for a number of his ministers showing a command of the issues facing his government.  He was calm, collected, answered questions and even managed to project an "I am in charge" persona saying that his government will hold Nalcor accountable. There was no sign of the arrogance of the Williams and Dunderdale regimes.

The Liberals asked some good questions but they lacked the polish and passion exhibited by  Davis and his ministers.  The opposition seemed very scripted while the government projected confidence and knowledge. Veteran Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce showed his team the type of energy and dogged determination that will earn the party votes. He was great today.

As for the NDP. The impact of the great schism continues to reverberate. The NDP have been over represented with caucus resources and with time in QP. They have had already had to make do with less financial resources. Today they realized that their voice in the House will be a little less audible.  Without consultation, the third party has had its time allocation in QP cut back from 7 to 5 minutes.

I would argue that it was the first good day the PC's have had, in or out of the legislature, in quite some time. It was the morale boost that they needed - even if it is short lived.

Davis faces a herculean task and even Hercules had twelve years to complete his twelve labors.


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