Beside the still waters

Ed Smith
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Perhaps I’m not paying attention. But it seems to me that the political waters in this lovely province are amazingly unruffled these days. I mean, considering everything such as that little “almost-crowning” of a new almost-premier … there was considerable concern about that little almost-incident.

Then the almost-premier-unelect decided for his own good reasons to depart the premises, leaving the local PC crowd in greater confusion than the local NDP caucus.

Cannot blame Frank for that, of course. Every man knows his own know best, as my father used to say, so bless ’im and ’is family.

The problem with not having him in that high position is that every time the price of groceries goes up we can’t blame the premier or even the government.

In the States, every time someone loses a job, or their house, or runs over a squirrel in his driveway, or the price of a can of beans in molasses sauce goes up by five cents, they blame the president.

Suppose Obama owned Walmart, or a dozen shares in McDonald’s. He’d be impeached every two hours and 44 minutes. Makes for great television entertainment. Not much fun for the president, unless you happen to be Bill Clinton. Lots of fun in the run of a day for that man.

Don’t think Obama is into that sort of thing. Perhaps he should talk to Bill.

As far as the two new candidates are concerned, I don’t think there’s much opportunity for hanky-panky of any kind.

I know John Ottenheimer slightly and know that he belongs to a good family — mine. If he turns out to be as hot for the opposite sex as John Kennedy and Frank Moores combined, I would like you to remember that his relationship to my family is by marriage.

Other than that disclaimer, I think he’s a decent sort.

Young Steve Kent is young enough to have the hormones that John O probably lost several years ago. People often tell me about what it’s like to be in your 60s. I assume they’re telling the truth. Sorry John.

On the other hand I don’t have any reason to believe that young Kent would be chasing interns around the premier’s office. I don’t even know if the premier’s office has interns. Perhaps someone should check it out.

Personally, I think Stephen Kent has a better than even chance of becoming somebody important to the rest of us one of those days, but whether that’s now, or whether it includes the premier’s office is anybody’s guess.

The political scene in the U.S.A. is proving that isn’t how much potential you have as a politician or a person to do a great job.

What matters is how quickly one small mistake can really screw you over. Witness one Hillary Clinton.

If she wants to be president, she has more going for her than Billy Graham would if he wanted

St. Peter’s job on the Pearly Gates.

She makes one silly mistake in one sentence and now her whole credibility is at stake.

So good luck John and Steve. Let’s see if you can rile up the waters.

Then there’s Dwight Ball and his closest advisers, assuming he has some. Every time he opens his mouth, they go “Shh, don’t say a word!”

When his mouth opens to snore at night his wife digs him in the ribs with “Shut up Dwi baby, remember Hillary!”

Mr. Ball et al are very interested in keeping the waters calm and unruffled. Everyone’s afraid of making one deadly mistake.

But don’t worry about it, gentlemen. We are so used to our politicians and wannabes making stupid comments that one or two more won’t make any difference.

You can wax eloquent all day and all night on Muskrat Falls and no one will know if you’re making any sense or not.

The only thing you could say that might land you in trouble would be the truth as you see it, something like, “I really don’t have enough information in front of me to say anything enlightening at the moment.”

Everyone will brand you a stupid fool and reject you at the polls. Better to say something you can really grab onto such as, “In 50 years your power bill will be roughly 100 times greater than it is now. How you feel about that, dear voters, depends entirely on whether you’re PC or Liberal. If you’re NDP, by the time the electorate figures out what your comments had to do with Muskrat Falls, we’ll be supplying power to the Kremlin.”

You should win in a landslide.

This is why the waters are so quiet. Even the Open Line shows can’t get anything stirred up. Every barbed verbal hook they throw in anyone’s direction is met with, “I’ll have more to say about that in the next few days.”

Then they rush to listen to see if their opponent(s) has said anything pouncable, but of course they haven’t.

The most you will hear is if some political underling not running for anything, through sheer stupidity, starts making the most outlandish and silly comments about the other crowd.

But no one pays any attention to their ranting anyway, so the waters remain almost perfectly still, almost as if waiting.

But waiting for what?

Why, for candidates to start getting dirty and vicious and mudslinging and getting us involved in a proper Newfoundland and Labrador election.

The fact is, however, I despair of anything so soul satisfying happening at the party level.

The people running for high office seem almost to be without a vindictive bone in their bodies.

Only yesterday I heard someone say of one of the candidates, “I’m afraid he’s almost too nice.”

Of course, that was said by someone in his extended family — by marriage.

Still, you have to take your support where you find it.

Editor’s note: This column was written before Paul Davis announced his intention to run for the PC leadership. Since then Steve Kent has also confirmed his candidacy.


Ed Smith is an author who lives in

Springdale. His email address is

Organizations: PC, NDP, Walmart

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Springdale

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