Top News

EDITORIAL: More window dressing

Justice and Public Safety Minister Andrew Parsons acknowledges there is a space crunch at HMP and says they’d like to be able to offer more training and therapy at the aging facility. — Telegram file photo
Government House Leader Andrew Parsons will chair a committee to review the democratic process in the province. — Telegram file photo

It’s either a sham or else it’s the kind of hubris that shows some politicians take the electorate completely for granted.

Monday, the provincial Liberal government lived up to a promise it made in the last election — sort of.

Well, hardly at all. What actually happened is that the Liberal government paid lip service to a promise it made in the last election and hasn’t bothered to do anything about.

As the provincial government’s news release put it, “the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Government House Leader and committee chair, is taking the first steps in convening a committee to initiate real change.”

The committee will review how the democratic process works — including how parties build war chests of donations.

“The All-Party Committee will review democratic processes in Newfoundland and Labrador with the goal of improving democracy to better serve residents of the province. The committee will examine, study, and consult with the public as it reviews campaign finance laws and considers changes to financial reporting by political parties and district associations.”

Well, there you go. Just in time for a check mark in the “what we achieved” column in campaign brochures, the government has gotten around to starting a process.

Andrew Parsons has essentially played rope-a-dope with the issue of democratic reform since the 2015 election, saying that while it’s important, the House of Assembly was busy. “There’s a tremendous amount of other work happening right now on a whole number of issues,” he told The Telegram in April 2017.

Also, people didn’t care about the issue, he said.

Well, there you go. Just in time for a check mark in the “what we achieved” column in campaign brochures, the government has gotten around to starting a process.

The offshoot? The Liberals have had all this time as a government to collect election cash under the old, admittedly flawed system.

Now Parsons has appointed himself as the head of a legislative committee to review the issue. The government Liberals, of course, have a majority of the seats on the committee, suggesting it is likely to come up with exactly what the government wants it to come up with.

But that’s not where the sham and hubris come in.

No, they come in because it’s virtually impossible for the committee to come back with a meaningful report until after the next election.

What that means is, on the sham side, that everything the committee does now (if it manages to do anything) could be overturned by the election itself. Who’s to say that the committee members are re-elected? Who’s to say that a new committee won’t go back to the drawing board?

What it means on the hubris side is that Parsons not only expects to be re-elected himself, but also expects the Liberals to be re-elected as government.

“But look! We put a committee in place!”

The people are restless. But, hey — that’s OK. Let them eat democratic reform cake.

Recent Stories