Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Newfoundland PC School of Politics

There comes a time in every government's life when it's usefulness has outlived it's welcome. A time when arrogance becomes so common place as to become the political culture surrounding it's operations. It's not normally a sudden thing that announces this transformation, but rather a number of instances that crystallize a perception that a government has become "old and tired". This has certainly become true of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, and more precisely the government they lead.

Just take the last few months - since Danny left to be exact. Parents losing kids over failed IQ tests. A botched appointment to the CNLOPB, and then the lies to try and cover it up. The Auditor General's Report with it's numerous points of governmental spending abuse, and general indifference to the rules governing it's operations. Of course there was the Parson's Pond fiasco,with a $25million price tag, when Nalcor drilled the two most expensive holes in this province's history. That little exercise made Ms Dunderdale's comments laughable when several weeks later she proclaimed "Nalcor knows what it does" in defence of the Lower Churchill development. The list goes on and on proving a week is a long time in politics, and three months can be a century.

As bad as those issues were, and remain so to this day, it is the comments of Ministers Jackman and Wiseman that have really blown me away. Mr Jackman's remarks on the MOU studying the long term feasibility of this province's fishing industry were disgraceful. Remarks that in any other government would have instantly resulted in his resignation. His callous comments that the government need not put any more money into the fishery as most fisherman will lose their boats in the next seven years was cold in the extreme. Then last week he proclaimed that shrimp and lobster fishermen should really get their collective act together as he was getting really tired of their protests. He actually referred to them as a "right of spring". He went on to say that what was really needed was "some leadership". What Jackman fails to see, but almost everyone else does, is that rural Newfoundland and Labrador is tied to the fishery. As the fishery goes, so goes the rural. So is he saying leave the rural areas to their own demise? That he's not about to even bring the issue to Cabinet because his buddies are far too busy discussing issues of real importance - like a dam and the black gold. That the poor old fishermen will have to die a slow and painful death, because frankly he has better things to spend the money on. That is what I call being out of touch with the rural part of the province, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.

Then there is Mr Wiseman. This week, as Minister of the Environment, he proclaimed that rural boil water orders in the province were the responsibility of municipalities, and his government was not to blame. He accused these small councils of not doing their part in treating their water properly - in some cases shutting off their chlorination systems. What he fails to grasp is that it is a provincial government's responsibility to ensure these systems are running. Perhaps the government's attitude is that "if we don't have to enforce it we don't have to pay for it". After all, if they were to insist it be done properly then they would be approached to give the funds necessary to make it happen. Out of sight out of mind if you will. That is also ignoring the fact that Municipal Operating Grants have been frozen since 2006, and were only given a one time increase this year of $6 million. Most of these rural communities have a disproportionately high number of low income families and seniors on fixed incomes. Their ability to pay huge tax increases to do the necessary infrastructure work in their communities is not there. With hands tied things slide. This is the story of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Blaming the victim is becoming the story of this government.

In a way it speaks to the above average ability of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to suffer at the hands of their own politicians. The part that turns my stomach is the above average ability of this province's politicians to treat their own citizens with such contempt, and then smile as if they are somehow doing us all a collective favour by gracing us with their presence. It is a height of arrogance you won't see in too many other parts of this country - well, not for long at least. When things get that bad governments get replaced. This coming October it is time to end the arrogance, and start a plan that builds the whole province for her people's benefit. Note to the PC Party and your way of doing things - school is out.


  1. As usual, I totally agree with your comments, Mr. Cabana. But over the past few months I have neglected over and over again to point out to you that you repeatedly make a mistake. You always write "it's" when you mean the possessive pronoun "its". So here is the error in Paragraph #2: "The Auditor General's Report with it's numerous points..." - again, it should read: "its numerous points..." Also, the correct phrase is "rite of spring," and not "right of spring".

    The "it's" problem appears in almost all of your blogs.

    But anyway, we're leaving the province for good at the end of the week. I'm sorry but we find all this Newfoundland business much too depressing to spend the rest of our lives here, as we had once dreamed about doing. Furthermore, if you think the LIBERALS will do anything else but more of the same, you haven't studied the record of past Liberal governments.

    "God bless thee, Newfoundland". But the writing is on the wall. Sadly, the people seem to have their genes programmed to be slaves to the merchants.

  2. Thank you for your grammatical correction. It's a bad habit that I will try to eliminate in future posts. I was very saddened to hear that you and your wife are leaving. As a couple that came here with similar intentions as your wife and yourself, I can sympathize with your hopelessness. Many are the days I look at the political scene, the culture, and wonder how it is that the people's greatest enemies are the very ones that are trusted to provide leadership. It's one of the primary reasons I ran for the PC leadership - to end this trend.I haven't given up and, likely due to my Newfoundland roots, won't. There is a stubbornness there that defies logic at times. That being said I have met many that have or are leaving. On a personal note I feel badly for you and your wife. I know you have been involved here for many years and it has to be a wrenching to walk away - cut your losses as it were. I hope that you will both find happiness and contentment where you are moving to. Thank you for all the years devoted to the province and to the way of life here. Brad


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