It seems that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are on the verge of breaking the old rule : "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - Albert Einstein". Over and over again people vote en mass for one party, get royally betrayed and disillusioned, swap colours, and do it all over again for the other side. Each time huge majorities are given to the winning side, while the opposing side sits with a rump of 3-5 MHAs. The old saying is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Yet, here we go again.
According to all the polls the Liberals have between 70-80% of the decided vote. What that means is 40 seats for the Liberals, 0 seats for the NDP and ditto for the PCs. When that happens the Liberals must pick, from among their members, MHAs to sit as Opposition. Imagine that. We are just coming out of one of the darkest periods in oppressive government here, and yet we are prepared to set ourselves up for another.
Some of my fellow bloggers have railed against the NDP for bringing this matter to the public attention as an issue to consider when voting. Terms such as "fear mongering" are being thrown out there. Yet, isn't it just plain common sense? Of course it is. It's also good political strategy. Many people here say we want an effective opposition - just not from my District. That's another hang over issue from the political culture of "road politics" that still pervades the province's mentality.
The truth is the NDP are really the only party well suited for Opposition today. Firstly, and most importantly, they aren't the PCs. PC party politicians have been responsible for fiascoes ranging from massive overspending that's left the treasury bust, to unresolved questions over the killing of injured worker (and injured worker advocate) Don Dunphy in his home on Easter Sunday at the hands of Premier Paul Davis's good friend and bodyguard Sgt Joe Smyth of the RNC. They brought us Bill 29. They disallowed any meaningful public scrutiny of Nalcor. They created a financial albatross on Muskrat Falls. Just this year they committed to borrowing $2 billion to have a budgetary deficit of $1 Billion. Yet, as we all know, those figures were based on $63 barrel for oil. It's now $20 less than that. The list goes on and on and on.
Strangely, perhaps, it was the PCs own unbelievable arrogance that finally brought them down. It blinded them from seeing what they were doing was wrong. It led to an assault on the government by a few bloggers, and some local activists on radio shows and social media. A switch in the national political scene brought the death nail as Trudeau's arrival as Liberal leader 2 years ago marked the moment the decline began in a hurry. There is a lesson in that for Dwight Ball. It wasn't anything he did that brought an end to the Tory Tyranny. It was a combination of a hearts and minds war conducted by a few on the ground, and a final coup de grace with a switch in national fortunes. He would do well to commit that to the forefront of his memory.
With the PCs ruled out as Opposition, by any measure of common sense, the NDP ought to be the default go to party. They are in some ways ideally suited given their roots in social activism and claim to represent the "working man". The next many years, let's just say the foreseeable future, this province is going to see public service cuts, spending cuts, and unemployment that it has not seen in decades - at the least. Given the way the PCs spent, and committed future funds, there is no realistic alternative. It will be a blood bath. A social voice is needed in those circumstances in any case. So, the need for an effective Opposition and an effective social voice should cause the people of the Province to elect at least a rump of an NDP Opposition - although somewhere around 10 or so seats would be better. The odds of this happening are in the hands of the NDP, and to some extent the Liberals. Ball ought to be cautioning people against a 40 seat landslide. I know that sounds politically iffy, but it also sounds statesmanlike and mature. The NDP ought to be selling the need for an effective Opposition, and one that is not responsible for the financial disaster unfolding in the Province. It's a no-brainer, right? I guess we will see if Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have learned much from the last 10 years, or whether they enjoy the tyranny of the majority - the absolute majority.
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)