Andrew Parsons, MHA member for Burgeo-Lapoile as well as minister of Justice, Attorney General and Government House Leader demonstrated a rather uncharacteristic arrogance in a televised CBC interview earlier this month.
It pertained to approximately two dozen Marine Atlantic employees possibly being transferred from headquarters in St. John’s to Port Aux Basques based on his assertion that an economic case might be made. Not incidentally, Marine Atlantic board chairperson, Kristopher Parsons, is Andrew Parsons brother. This potential conflict of interest certainly muddies the water.
Without expanding specifically on potential savings as a formal review currently underway is not yet complete, Government House Leader Parsons stated his unequivocal support for the move.
In relation to employee concerns that families would be uprooted (homes sold, children changing schools, spousal careers derailed, extended families disrupted, recruitment and retention issues created, etc.) Parsons with eyes bulging stated “Frankly I don’t care. … I think that’s a baloney argument.”
Wow! Such lack of sensitivity and empathy in a man considered by many to be a potential future leader of the Liberal Party and likely premier in an “if Port Aux Basques is good enough for me it’s good enough for them” parochial huff.
Such vehement disregard to personal impact does not bode well for a party nose-to-nose with Ches Crosbie’s Conservatives in the face of an imminent election not to mention an electorate expecting empathy from government in the face of doubling electricity prices.
A cruel Marie Antoinette-type response of “let them eat cake” and a poignant reminder of a government who early in its mandate unabashedly raised income and gas taxes, placed a new tax on books and introduced a punitive income levy.
If I were the premier at this stage of the political game “I just don’t care. Too bad!” is not a message I would want to see conveyed by one of my senior ministers let alone a potential successor.