It's not often I would give advice to a PC member of this Province's government. In fact, a big part of me would be happy to see them all gone. However, that may not be good for our democracy in the long run. With the NDP flailing like near dead fish in the back of the boat, the political choices here have become uncomfortably narrow. Not only is a small or non-existent Opposition bad for the democracy of our province, it's also bad for the winning party - as Brian Mulroney found out. It's one thing to have the bragging rights to the "largest majority government ever", and quite another to satisfy all the egos that get swept in with it. Not everyone can be a cabinet minister, or parliamentary assistant, yet they all think they should.
So, in the spirit of the season, and bipartisan concern, here's a few words of advice for our erstwhile premier:
1. Drop Muskrat Falls like the dead dog it is. Use whatever excuse you want. It could be the court cases going through the system now with their impending damnation of the foolish actions of the Williams' administration. Be the bigger man. Own up to what every one else is already thinking. Put the people before your own ego. It's the ego that's killing you. Not yours specifically, but the ego hangover from the Williams' regime, the nagging egos of some of your long-time ministers, and back benchers. Be humble. Be contrite. Be honest. Stop the development for at least five years to get the Province's nightmarish financial and demographic position as righted as it can be. Do not govern with malice. Blaming Hydro-Quebec for everything is old. Everyone knows they're bastards, but nobody wants to sacrifice the Province or themselves on that alter. Stopping Muskrat Falls immediately is your only prayer.
2. Repeal Bill 29. It has come to symbolize that ego we spoke of above. The secrecy. The deception. The breach of trust. It is all the things that your government has been convicted of by the people, and for which you await sentencing. Even the press hate it, and that's never good for your business.
3. Ban corporate and union political donations. Restrict individual donations to $50.00 per person. The route of your entrapment is the dollars you take in and div out. So much so that one MLA, with uncommon courage in the legislature, commented publicly about a "stench of corruption". It's not news to us, but you could show leadership by addressing it.
4. Differentiate yourself from the past. Every time you say "our government has" you add another nail in the coffin. Guilt by association. People don't need to wonder if you are the same as the old crowd, because you tell them you are. While that kind of talk may get you a few slaps on the back by party hacks, those same hands, from those same people, will be thrusting that steel blade in your back the moment the party goes down in flames.
5. Know your limitations. You aren't super man, and there is nothing special about you. You aren't a visionary, and you don't inspire with your words. You are a retired cop who worked himself into the leadership, during an unprecedented party blood bath, and entering the kind of political hell that is not often realized by even the most deserving governments - which your's is of course. And you look that part. The glasses intended to portray a "smart premier" impression aren't going to do it for you, although it's a nice touch.
The only, and I mean the only, hope you have of saving ANY PC seats in the next election is to follow these simple words of advice. Are they difficult? Yes. But so is leadership. When Churchill's England was being bombed into oblivion, leadership was difficult. Freeing slaves in the US was difficult for Lincoln. Staring down Quebec separatists was difficult for Chretien. By way of example, the above steps are pretty tame. So, to save your party to the extent of opposition status, or perhaps even minority status, you need to show leadership on the things that matter. Not bike helmet legislation. Not this- that-or-the-other day proclamations. None of that. That only reinforces the idea that you've just "quit and stayed on". For what it's worth, in the spirit of democracy and bipartisanship, there it is. A few words of advice.
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)