The first problem in Newfoundland politics is frankly nobody here understands how a normal democracy is meant to function. That's the simple truth that most Newfoundlanders will be truly offended by, but it is what it is. The province has been held together by a few families, bolstered by every law firm that can get its foot through the door, and then sprinkled down to those willing to do anything for a few scraps of public money. That's what passes for politics here. Nobody gets that politics is an order, and the purpose of the order is to maintain orderly human existence. I should say they get that part, but they don't get the part that rules come with the order. The first, and cardinal rule of exercising power is:
"Power, use it, but abuse it and lose it."
That's the Golden Rule. It applies to the front room politicians, the backroom politicians, the gatekeepers, the mentors, and even the black side of politics. It applies to European Presidents and Canadian Prime Ministers. It applies. Their collective purpose is to support the order by doing their jobs in accordance with the above noted rule. Not in Newfoundland though. Here it's might makes right - or in other words the bully mentality. Codes of Conduct sworn to are ignored by MHAs and Cabinet Ministers alike. Blatantly lying to the public on a daily basis is so obvious, and so insulting to the intelligence that it's hard to fathom. It has all devolved now into one gigantic mess with zero public accountability. A mess caused by political corruption, political stupidity, and allowed to happen by the bully mentality.
The seeming inability of Newfoundlanders to understand how badly their system of government has become speaks largely to 500 years of political bully mentality. It's the norm. It dates back to the "merchants" and the "fisherman". That however is no longer an excuse. There are now plenty of educated young Newfoundlanders who can step up and make a difference. No doubt many of them are sitting in their political science classes and observing the implosion of their province. And it's not all about oil. In fact, very little of it has to do with the collapse of the oil price. The political implosion began well before the oil implosion began.
Over the past five years a political revolution has been happening in Newfoundland. It's been happening on the airwaves to some degree, but mostly it's been happening behind the scenes. A dark war, a quiet war, where the political and economic casualties just keep piling up publicly - yet nobody here seems to get it. So here it is: The political families, and their cohorts, have abused their power and now they're going to lose it. In fact, that is already happening between some families, and has for a short while now. You are either onside with the change to a proper democracy for Newfoundland or you're on the side that needs to be destroyed for the betterment of all Newfoundlanders. That's the bottom line. It blows me away that so called "credible" people in this province haven't been able to see what's been happening over the past five years - let alone where it's coming from. Of course, "credibility" in Newfoundland politics is defined by the clique and broadcasted by the local media. The days of the Codfather are over, and a new order based on the rules is coming.
So, if you're one of the fat cats in Newfoundland politics that thinks democracy is just a vote every four or five years, and you can do what the hell you want in between, your days are over. Get out the sun tan lotion, and enjoy your retirement in Florida. See if you can pull off your bullying routines with the locals down in the trailer park down there.
And for everyday Newfoundlanders, start to understand that you are entitled to dignity, respect, and the truth. Demand it. It's your right. Stop watching politics as a soap opera that you can bitch about, use as a form of entertainment because you're bored, and insist on a form of politics that respects you and respects your governmental institutions. Don't worry about being made to look stupid or wrong. Worry instead about the consequences of what you are witnessing now.
Truth is, the so called backroom in Newfoundland has been getting smoked badly for awhile now. Their little clubs are being torn apart and their powers eroded. They skate on very thin ice. Now their power to intimidate people has been taken away they don't know how to make the system work. They don't have an ever loving clue. It reminds me of a time when I belonged to a weekly breakfast club of backroom boys and they couldn't understand for the life of them how Brian Mulroney wasn't worshiped for everything he had done. That constantly brought to mind another old saying: "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see."