What do we really know about Frank Coleman other than he was chosen by a large cog in the PC party machinery while others were either dissuaded from or disinterested in the job?
Terracotta warriors for sure.
His being proclaimed as the PC party saviour is eerily similar to former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois announcing Pierre Peladeau as the one who would cement the good fortunes of the Parti Québecois.
At first there was the stunning realization that the PQ, devoid of political vision, was taking the high-risk gamble of pinning its electoral success on the banning of outerwear religious insignia. Then followed the shock they might actually win a majority by inserting an anti-labour, heavy hitting business mogul into the campaign.
Peladeau, being our version of Danny Williams, signalled that the PQ had now acquired business heft. The rewards of nationalism and trickle down-economics would carry the day. Oops! was the general sentiment expressed by perennially dozing federalists.
But then Peladeau, whose great wealth allowed him to wax philosophic in a demonstration that his issues were not those of the struggling class, made the unfortunate decision to bare his soul and announce that he was a sovereignist. This, of course, as we know, put the PQ campaign into a tailspin from which it never recovered and allowed the Liberals, previously detested due to allegations of corruption, to win a majority government.
The more Quebecers got to know Peladeau, the less they liked. He will now likely be relegated as a footnote in Quebec history.
This may not be unlike the situation with Frank Coleman. He also came from the top down with no previous political experience.
We know nothing of him other than he knows how to make money and may not have paid all his bills. He is extremely cautious and not particularly articulate as determined by his propensity to have hired talent write his news releases.
He is strongly attuned to his religion but quickly willing to bail previously avowed tenets that get in the way of his ambition.
So we know he is a typical politician who, to this point, has decided not to cast his pearls among swine and to keep his light well hidden under a bushel.
Like Williams, Kathy Dunderdale and Tom Marshall before him, he reached the pinnacle of NL political success (not to be confused with democratic attainment) without first going to the people and yet we know less about him than we know about what happened to Malaysian Flight 370!
Does he see the province as a business to be run based on getting to the bottom line?
What needs to be fixed? What new ideas or processes is he bringing to the table? What is his take on our already eroded pension and social programs? Will some products no longer be carried in aisle four?
Now, Frank may turn out to have the wisdom of Solomon, the integrity of Ulysses and the purity of Caesar’s wife, but his invisibility and silence is as much a conundrum as the sad spectacle of the promise of the Net Zero home in Flatrock.
Quite possibly providing all of its own energy requirements, it could contribute excess generation to the Nalcor grid were it not for the inexplicable PC law that makes that illegal.
Perhaps our general lack of a thoughtful and measured response to Coleman’s emergence as our unelected leader can be attributed to the two winters we just experienced within a single season? Or maybe it’s the result of Dunderdale burnout, or perhaps we are just busy preparing for the possibility of spring?
In any case, we seem to have become even more complacent than usual.
Not to worry, though. The issue could resolve itself, Peladeau-style.
Without a significant change in his modus operandi, Frank will be leader, all right. Of the opposition.
Unfortunately, that eventuality is a year and a half away.
Prepare for more lost opportunity and a long winter of political discontent.
T. F. Hawco