NDP MHAs’ letter to leader could have reverse effect
“So, you have the courage to say something on Facebook but not in person … cool. There is this thing called knocking. You should try it sometime.”
— From a Facebook posting in the 2010 book “Other People’s Rejection Letters”
Dear provincial NDP caucus members (excluding Lorraine Michael):
Remember back in 2006, when Britney Spears broke up with Kevin Federline via text message? That was so, like, totally not cool. Someone you’ve been with, in good times and bad, who has stood beside you and encouraged you, deserves so much more than that, don’t you think? (Even if K-Fed was a bit of a tool.)
Yet your leader — who did the tough slogging and laid much of the groundwork necessary for you all to be elected — returns from vacation to find a nasty “Dear John” letter waiting in her email inbox.
Dear Lorraine, “we recognize your significant contributions” and all, but would you mind throwing yourself under the bus so we can get some fresh blood in here? ’Cause, quite frankly, we think keeping you around hurts our chances.
I honestly expected much better of you, but your unfeeling little missive shows you are just another bunch of politicians who care about nothing, only winning. It’s all for one and one for all until someone starts to exude just the tiniest hint of vulnerability, and then out come the knives.
Sheesh! Even Jerome Kennedy did his “exit, stage right,” from the Tory caucus without trying to trip the premier on his way out. (And God knows, it’s not every day that Jerome Kennedy is held up as a model of decorum and diplomacy. I think even he would get a chuckle out of that.)
And then, to compound things, not only did you not have the courtesy of talking to Lorraine Michael in person and telling her how you feel — and I’m not saying you don’t have concerns — but then you spend the rest of the week fighting amongst yourselves, with the camp firmly divided between “gee, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea” and “we sent it, we meant it.”
What a mess!
Lorraine Michael deserves better. Something tells me she would never have signed her name to such a thing, had the shoe been on the other foot.
And don’t come crying to the party faithful now, saying it was all a mistake and you can’t believe you acted like such a collective horse’s ass. That’s even worse than standing by what you did. Because the truth is, Lorraine Michael was on holiday for a month — surely plenty of time for you to contemplate the best approach to take. Of course, it’s not easy to tell someone you think you’d be better off without them, but an email? Please.
What makes you think you’d be better off anyway, by the way? Are you saying Lorraine Michael is too old? Too tired? Past her best-before date? There are all kinds of nasty implications when you start talking about the need for “party renewal.” I would not take too kindly to someone suggesting that I was, in any way, an impediment to my organization’s ability to attract “quality candidates.”
Apart from the fact that this nasty debacle has sparked some wry humour (my friend and colleague Peter Jackson suggests the only way to settle this mess is a cage fight), what a sad and ham-handed attempt at coup-plotting this was.
So, a party that just last month had a leader polling at a 63 per cent approval rating compared to the premier’s 20 per cent is now in disarray — with caucus members upbraiding each other and pointing fingers of blame.
So much for solidarity forever, I guess, eh?
To recap, let’s look at what your cutting communiqué has accomplished.
1) It makes the Progressive Conservative caucus look like Family of the Year.
2) It makes the insipid Liberal leadership contest seem like a civilized competition between rivals who are at least respectful of each other.
3) It completely obscures any reforms, policies or ideologies your party might espouse or represent.
4) It conjures up painful memories of having watched one too many episodes of “The Gong Show.”
And, most important of all?
5) It sure has motivated a lot of folks to express their staunch support for Lorraine Michael and their disdain for your behaviour.
In fact, I suspect she’s marked your letter, “Return to sender.”
Pam Frampton is a columnist and The Telegram’s associate managing editor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: pam_frampton