So the numbers are out and the panic is in. Environics polling numbers place the NDP in first with 38% - the first time ever in Newfoundland and Labrador. The ruling PCs, who have enjoyed polls of 50-60-even 70% - are now behind the NDP at 35%. The Liberals, who were in free fall before the last election, and then stabilized in the high teens as the Official Opposition, are now registering a respectable 26%. Essentially, these are transitional times.
Yes, it can be argued that really the PCs have been in a constant decline since the leadership debacle that followed Danny Williams retirement. Issue after issue that has surfaced since that time has caused the government to trip over its own feet. You can go all the way back to the "near appointment" of Williams confidant, Elizabeth Mathews, and the government getting caught out in a lie. You can look at the endless, obvious propaganda put out regarding Muskrat Falls. There is of course the very public, absolutely suicidal Bill 29 filibuster. The one constant during this time, and remains to this day, is the sheer arrogance in how these issues have been handled. An arrogance born not of confidence, but of mission.
You could look at things in this way, and say it's just the natural result of an old government going into decline - that's the spin Dean MacDonald has put on it. That's how it is viewed by the public. Or, you could look at it as an ordered, backroom transition of power. To do so, of course, is to invite yourself to be called a "conspiracy theorist" by those that would prefer such things remain out of the lime light.
The basic thought in Newfoundland and Labrador politics is that governments are run by a "strong man". That all those MHAs that are elected with him/her are simply there to do as they are told. Of course that isn't true. It's a simplistic way to sell politics to the electorate - pure and simple. Never-the-less, that's how things have been sold. The trend of late has seen Liberal strong man Brian Tobin leave the Premier's chair. He was replaced by Roger Grimes - who was betrayed by Dean MacDonald. Grimes was then quickly replaced by businessman, turned sudden/reluctant politician Danny Williams. Williams left, and hand picked Dunderdale (his Grimes). Now, under Dunderdale's watch the Party is in a full death spiral. Coincidentally, sudden/reluctant Dean MacDonald has surfaced to take over the Liberal party in November of 2013 - slightly less than a year before the next election in October, 2014.
Where was Dean MacDonald during the last election? Why did he not run as a candidate, or step up for the leadership when the Party was left leaderless with the sudden resignation of Yvonne Jones? As a multi-millionaire, where have his fund raising capabilities been as the Party languished in $800,000 of debt? Quite frankly, he has been sitting it out. Waiting for Williams to finish so he can have his turn. In order for that to happen the once mightily strong PC party had to be brought down in popularity - a lot. This is exactly what has transpired.
The swing from PC support to Liberal support is clearly evident in the last poll. The NDP are doing well, but the Liberals are gaining more PC supporters than the NDP. While, at the moment that does not place the Liberals in even second place, a further decline in PC support will likely bolster the Liberals significantly.
The big question is how did Dunderdale manage to accommodate Danny and the boys? Was she a dupe/patsy that was used for her ego to be the fall guy for the Party? Likely yes. Has she been getting really "bad advice" to help the destruction of the Party along? Without question. Do the caucus members of the PCs have loyalty to her? Very Doubtful. Ms. Dunderdale has truly taken the poison chalice. She is getting bad advice, and being held in check by a Cabinet that is on board with putting the ship into the rocks. Their one and only primary mission, other than bringing the Party down, is to ram Muskrat Falls through at any price. It won't matter how badly they are viewed in public, or how severely the media brutalize them. The price won't matter. The terms won't matter. The plan is all that matters - right Danny?
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.
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)