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)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Newfoundland and Labrador needs Crosby

Newfoundland is in a state. It had a very brief period of oil fueled hysteria, and then, as they say in Newfoundland: "the bottom fell outa her". It was sad really. Of course, the collapse of oil prices didn't just single out Newfoundland for financial mayhem - see Alberta, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, etc. The difference really is that these other places had great oil prices for a long period before the collapse, and were able to better sustain a price collapse. So, with a series of very poor financial decisions (see Muskrat Falls as an example), the collapse of the oil industry, and the corruption that runs rampant in the province, Newfoundland is in desperate need of a change in governing - that change could be Ches Crosbie.

Ches Crosbie is a very thoughtful, very successful lawyer from St. John's (okay he's a townie and a lawyer … so we'll have to look past that). His family is one of the most influential and wealthy families in Newfoundland (okay, we'll have to look past that as well). The difference with Ches Crosbie is that he is not a flashy egotist. That is a major difference - more than you might think. He is a reasoned man, and that is exactly what Newfoundland needs at this time.

Because Newfoundland is a place of very concentrated wealth, and very wide spread poverty, the provincial government there is used as a wealth distribution vehicle rather than an instrument of considered decisions. It is incredibly knee-jerking. The population is very susceptible to patronage, and panics when it thinks it may be out of favour for that patronage - in other words there are so few crumbs they will bare knuckle fight for them. That's the way they've been played for hundreds of years by the small establishment there, and the same remains true today.

Current premier, Liberal Dwight Ball, has the very appearance of the slick used car salesman from the movie "Fargo". Slicked up hair, and cowboy boots with his suits. His approach has been shockingly similar. He promised 3 inquiries on incidents that were very important to the people but failed to deliver on two: the Coleman/Humber Valley Paving scandal; and the Burton Winters tragedy (ironically both tied to Labrador). He promised to review construction of the infamous Muskrat Falls hydro dam. He didn't. He promised to manage the project better, and at last count it was 120% over budget - which puts those corrupt African dam projects to shame at their measly 65% average. He promised a democratic reform program, and just like Trudeau federally he broke it without shame. The people have every reason to reject the Liberal Party in this election.

So who should they vote to replace the disappointing Liberals? Well the NDP and NL Alliance rump parties are not an option. Newfoundland only has 40 seats up for grabs, but neither party could muster even that tiny number of candidates - not even close at less then 30%. They are not an option, and quite frankly they are a waste of a vote - with all due respect to the men and women who were brave enough to put their names forward to carry the respective banners. In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, the federal Liberals are on their way out after the callosal SNC Lavalin scandal. Newfoundland likes to have a close relationship with the feds when it needs money (like now), and it's hard to see that relationship happening with a Conservative government in Otta, and a Ball government in St. John's. That leaves the PC Party.

However, the PC Party was really the initial author of Newfoundland's current misfortune. As a governing party during the ten years or so that Newfoundland enjoyed oil prosperity the party was infused with corruption and cronyism. It spent every single cent of oil money it made, every single cent of regular taxation funds it raised, and then borrowed massively on top of that - a tradition the Liberals carried on with when they took over. The real question remains did the PC Party learn its lesson? Did the PC Party reform itself internally? The answer may be Ches Crosbie.

Crosbie, after all, is not a man of unlimited charisma. He is not the fire breathing dragon of say a Danny Williams. He is not the smooth, smiley Tobin or Ball type. He is not even the force of nature type like his father was. He is in fact his own man. A man who appears to value reason and sober thought over flash and dash. He is an intelligent man in his own right. This is exactly the kind of man Newfoundland needs at the helm to navigate the seas of financial disasters facing Newfoundland now - and in the future. The only question remaining is whether or not the PC Party has learned its lesson, or is it simply waiting at the trough to take its turn. Given the choice, and keeping in mind the very poor governance record of the Liberals, the balance leans toward Crosbie and the PCs. Whatever the election this week results in, it is very unlikely to be a major win for either side. A small majority is likely. That being said, and if the polls are right, Crosbie will be the benefactor of that choice.

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