"I’d prefer to be right than consistent"
--- Winston Churchill
Two former Liberal Premier's who both faced some tough times trying to right size the public service have offered Premier Dwight Ball some diplomatic, but urgent advice - get on with it.
Former Premier Brian Tobin was in town to donate $1 Million to the Rooms on Monday. When asked about the province's current financial situation he said it is bad and it is not going to go away.
Quoting Winston, Churchill, the veteran of the 1990's economic turbulence, told reporters that Ball needs to do what is right. "Deep in their hearts, the people of the province know what the challenges are, they no what the problems are and they know pretty well what the solutions are. You will not surprise them by doing the right thing."
Today, while discussing the 15th anniversary of his controversial win as the Leader of the Liberal Party, former Premier Roger Grimes advised Ball to stop the soft sell and act now. "Right now they're looking a little bit hesitant — leave it with us, we'll work through it — well, I think they should grab the bull by the horns,"
A long time critic of NALCOR's Muskrat Falls Project, Grimes said it was time to pull funding for the project. He has been consistent in his criticism in the past arguing the deal would be ruinous for taxpayers.
Ironically, the current minister of finance, Cathy Bennett was gung-ho about going forward with the project in the past, despite concerns about ring fencing the project as the best cost option and gouging tax payers.
She led a hight-profile business group that lobbied public support for he hydro deal. In fact, she served on the NALCOR board of directors from from 2007 to 2012. It was an appointment made by Premier Danny Williams.
Tobin and Grimes are echoing a refrain that has grown louder within Liberal and business circles over the past few weeks. The Liberals look like a deer stuck in the headlights of an oncoming train. The finance minister says all options are on the table, while the premier says not really. A 15 month consultation process has been met with much scorn and incredibility.
The province is in crisis.
We need REAL LEADERSHIP!
Decisions must be made in the best interest of saving the province from economic collapse. In some cases it would mean cramming awful tasting medicine down the patients mouth.
Take heed of Fyodor Dostoyevsky when he wrote " “Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others."
The reality is the government does not have any flexibility,not a bit. Dwight Ball faces the single most important financial crisis of any premier to occupy the role in our province's history. He has to reduce services, reduce expenditures and increase revenues. There is no room for maneuvering. He must shed the unsustainable, cut the government garment to fit the revenue cloth and introduce a fiscal hypothermia to protect the core in the hopes of future survival. It is that serious, that scary!
The official opposition, that refused to make the "tough calls", who squandered our resources while governing can go whistle dixie. They created this mess by trying to avoid the political fallout of trying to trying to set the ship of state back on course. It is a shame that willful blindness is not a punishable crime when it comes to governance.
As usual, it will take a LIBERAL premier to clean-up the mess. The Liberals were elected to lead. They must demonstrate the "necessary ruthlessness", despite campaign promises made with the most sincerest of intentions, required.
We are all in this together Mr. Premier. The least of your worries should be who will like you at the end of the day. It is time for consistent communications and approach. You must risk the ingratitude of the greedy voter. It is time for leadership.
As Winston Churchill said " If you're going through hell, keep going."
The province will respect you.