Some years ago, a very good friend of mine had this astute but skeptical descriptor of politics and politicians: “When looking for your vote, politicians will kiss your ass; after they get your vote, you have to kiss theirs!”
Given the sudden and totally contradictory attitude and rhetoric of this present Progressive Conservative government, my friend is both wise and perceptive.
We are clearly now in the ass-
kissing mode where the PCs are attempting to rewrite their own history to entice the voters to like them again.
I am utterly amazed and absolutely flabbergasted at the totally false and hypocritical about-face of this bunch of scoundrels.
No wonder people have such a poor and disrespectful attitude towards politics and politicians. No wonder there is such a low level of involvement by voters in our democracy.
No wonder our youth feel so distant and disenfranchised from the political system and represent the largest group of non-participants.
This party became the government under Danny Williams in 2003. Williams suddenly and unexpectedly resigned in December of 2010.
After initially expressing no interest in being in the position permanently, and after some back-room party politics, Kathy Dunderdale became the 10th premier absent a much expected leadership race. (As I write this, another sham leadership is unfolding where Danny’s most recent anointed one is about to be crowned.)
After winning a solid majority in the October 2011 election, the midpoint of Dunderdale’s tenure saw her party’s numbers plummet and her personal popularity slide to be the least popular premier in the country.
Her out-of-touch and insensitive remarks during the recent rolling blackouts seemed to be the breaking point for voters and her as she abruptly resigned in January.
Throughout the decline, supporters, MHAs and ministers defended the party and the premier (though some of the more spineless ones would cross the floor and/or lead a caucus revolt later).
It’s just poor communications, they would argue, and that’s what needed fixing!
As those same ministers and MHAs really know, the problem is not how you were communicating but what you were communicating.
What the voters of this province did not like was the government’s passage of Bill 29, its secrecy over Muskrat Falls, its job-cutting budget, its lack of attention on search and rescue, its reneging of promised whistleblower legislation (now being rolled out), its response to the blackouts and much more.
Perhaps even more damaging was the closed-minded, know-it-all, condescending, defiant and absolute hubris with which premier, ministers and MHAs communicated to citizens of this province.
Now, on the road to low polling numbers, you suddenly see the light. Now you want to be a listening government, to reverse budget cuts and decisions, review Bill 29, and take on a mantra of social justice. Give me a break.
Perhaps the biggest overall scam is the back-room strategy of back-stabbing Kathy Dunderdale to have her be the front for the collective decisions, actions and attitudes of this government.
Whatever her faults, Dunderdale was not the autocrat like Danny. She was more of a collegial leader and would have likely listened to the contrary collective will of her cabinet and caucus.
The thing is, there was no contrary collective will. All these present ministers and caucus members helped formulate this government’s decisions, policies and strategies.
They supported and defended every single decision and policy and looked with vile and contempt at media and citizens who might have a contrary opinion.
So let’s call a spade a spade here. This present lot of PC politicians is not some suddenly enlightened and born-again group of politicians.
They are the same lot of defiant, condescending and out-of-touch legislators who governed us to our present state, and they are now attempting to kiss our collective asses so they can continue to govern.
And, make no mistake, should we fall for this scam, we will be back to kissing theirs again.
Ken Kavanagh writes from Bell Island.