Aiming for something better

Brian
Brian Jones
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Maybe I hang around with the wrong sort of crowd, but I’ve yet to hear a parent proudly proclaim that their child plans to go into politics.

There are so many other, better things to steer your teen toward:

sciences, engineering, architecture, music and art get a lot of discussion at our house.

Gentle guidance is best, with encouragement to follow their interests, but accompanied by objective, practical advice. Such as: “Being an artist would be great, but it will probably be a long time before you’ll be able to afford that convertible you like.”

Youth programs often boast about “the leaders of tomorrow.” Hardly anyone points to the example being set by the leaders of today.

Any kid, or parent, following the political news this week — or, really, any number of recent weeks — would have received an unsavoury lesson about politics as a career choice.

Corrected by court

In Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, the town council kicked one of its members out of office a year and a half ago.

A majority of council members decreed that then-councillor Doug Neary was in a conflict of interest over a vote on land rezoning, because he allegedly owned some of the effected land.

The no-I-don’t, oh-yes-you-do aspect of the issue aside, what should have been obvious to everyone from the outset is that kicking out a democratically elected representative is a drastic measure.

Whether it takes place on Tahrir Square or on Thorburn Road, the principle is essentially similar: the people choose; the chosen govern. Any removal by other than electoral means, to be legitimate, must have an indisputable, provable rationale.

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador — in ordering Neary’s reinstatement as a councillor — ruled that the Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s council did not follow proper procedure, and did not even grant Neary a fair hearing before voting for his removal.

Money for nothing

Down the road in St. John’s, city council was reaffirming the adage that a central aspect of so-called public service is getting your clutches on tantalizing entitlements.

Up until this week, the boys in the bunker didn’t even contribute to their own pension plan, which was entirely publicly funded. Look around and try to find a plan like that in the real world.

This week, council voted for change.

Henceforth, current councillors will either pay six per cent of their salary towards the pension plan, or — alternatively, if they choose — receive six per cent of their salary to put toward an RRSP.

Sometimes, public disgust has to reach a critical point before politicians will budge.

Taking a hike

Up on Confederation Hill, Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy is fulfilling his role as a one-man wrecking crew for the provincial government.

Kennedy, with considerable assistance from Premier Kathy Dunderdale, seems intent on ensuring that, come October 2015, the Tories are sent on a long hike into the political wilderness.

Only this can explain Kennedy’s truly bizarre assertion this week that the Tories’ so-called Blue Book from the 2013 election did not contain promises, but merely hoped-for policies the PCs would try to implement if the province could afford them.

What an attitude. It is halfhearted and revisionist, and its preposterousness is obvious if you apply it to other aspects of life.

“Do you, Jerome, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, for richer or poorer. …?”

“Only for richer. The day we hit poorer, she can sleep in the shed.”

It wasn’t a promise, you see. It was only an iffy maybe possibly. Anyone who thought otherwise wasn’t listening. You may now kiss the finance minister.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at

The Telegram. He can be reached

at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Tahrir Square, Thorburn Road Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Harvey J
    July 12, 2013 - 09:34

    A good article Brian. I especially liked your comments about the PCSP council. I live in PCSP and the treatment the mayor and his 3 stooges gave Mr. Neary is not significantly different than the way they treat other residents and taxpayers who have the audacity to ask questions or request services. PCSP is an awesome place to call home and its good people deserves far better than the current mayor and his 3 stooges have delivered.