Chris Callahan opines on Westcott, ABC
This has been a hectic week for me. I've been too busy with client work to keep the blog up-to-date, and I do apologize for that. I enjoy this outlet tremendously, and it becomes frustrating when other pressures divert me from it.
I received a note this morning from regular reader Chris Callahan, offering a guest commentary to use at my discretion. Callahan talks about Craig Westcott, in the context of the ABC campaign, so it's appropriate to post here. I particularly like Callahan's take on the "big scheme of things," from boil water orders to rotting schools to a health care system in chaos. "For a soon to be have' province," he points out, "we sound like a third world country."
I have the rough outlines of some new posts "in the can" and almost ready to go, and promise to have more soon. In the meantime, here's a little something from Chris Callahan:
Craig Westcott would add an informed voice
Premier Williams has stated that there are no divisions within caucus in his fight against Stephan Harper and the federal Conservatives. If that is the case, why did he need written confirmation from his MHAs?
Williams does have the public backing of all but one of his caucus members. Privately? That's another story. With more than a few disillusioned Conservatives, at both the federal and provincial levels, there are bound to be some ABC skeptics.
Judging by his decision to enter the race, Craig Westcott was one of those skeptics. I applaud him for running and taking what can only be seen as a huge risk. He has come under fire from television and print media, bloggers and call-in shows. And just read some of the comments on the CBC website. You'd think he personally kicked all the naysayers in the groin. Some say he is a traitor for running and find his candidacy insulting to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
However, what it is truly insulting is being told by the Premier who to vote for. We can make our own informed decisions. Just as insulting is that provincial politicians - who we elected to the House of Assembly - are expected to act in accordance to what the Premier wants. I thought that a democracy allowed for freedom of speech. There are plenty of reasons to vote for or against any party. Danny Williams is not one of them.
The Premier may get his wish and the province could send seven ABCs to Ottawa. He would win the battle but ultimately, he loses the war. If the Conservatives form the government, the headlines on October 15th could be: "What Now Danny?" Without representation in the federal caucus, let alone cabinet, things are not going to get better for the province anytime soon.
We need a strong voice at the table. Based on his out-spoken criticism of all levels of government, Westcott could be that voice. Critics will say we had no voice in Loyola Hearn. Perhaps. But few would argue that John Crosbie was muzzled. The petty, ego driven feud between Harper and Williams is doing more harm than good.
In the big scheme of things, Danny and Steve's piss off does not really mean a hill of beans to the average Joe - those of us with bills to pay. The ABC campaign and Westcott's candidacy has added some colour to a normally bland, ho-hum, why bother vote, federal election. But the big picture should focus attention on things closer to home, things that affect you and me - right here and right now. Job losses, underpaid home care workers, seniors who go to the mall to stay warm, mould infested schools, roads that need paving, inflated gas prices, the health care crisis and the thousands who live in camps in Alberta. For a soon to be "have" province, we sound like a third world country.
The Premier and caucus have to focus on what is important - the immediate needs of the people in the province. They do not need to waste time knocking on doors for Liberal or NDP candidates. They have to use the time more constructively as they are supposed to acting as our elected representatives.
Who cares about some suit a thousand miles away? The argument that fighting Harper will benefit us in the long run is lame. Williams says that it shows us as strong, determined and proud.
Well, strong, determined and proud doesn't pay for groceries.
And that begs the question; can we really expect 10 billion dollars from the federal government? Any federal government?
Negotiation, not confrontation, appears to make more sense.
And Westcott would add an informed voice to that discussion.