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BRIAN JONES: Don’t expect things to change just because it’s 2020

There will likely be many familiar faces seated in the chairs of the House of Assembly after the next provincial general election.
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By now, a full week into 2020, thousands of New Year’s resolutions are already floating belly up in the great ocean of self-improvement.

Exercise bikes that on Christmas morning shone bright with new chrome and new hope will be sent to the landfill before the year is out.

Vows to “read more” will be defeated by the habitual lure of Facebook and Twitter, which in this high-tech Dark Age cannot in any way be construed as “reading.”

Among the higher-ups, promises to “do politics differently” will fool the public but send backroom strategists into fits of sidesplitting laughter.

Such assurances were emanating from the House of Assembly even as 2019’s days were running out.

Premier Dwight Ball, for instance, said the political parties would co-operate for the betterment of the province and its people, rather than pursue their own popularity, as is the usual case.

Hearing this is akin to coming across moose droppings on a hiking trail.

“Bullshit!” you’d say.

“No, I’m pretty sure it was a moose,” says your partner.

Two things prove that nothing will change just because it is 2020: as of the latest reports, Gerry Byrne is still in cabinet, and Carla Foote still has her executive job at The Rooms.

In the first instance, slimy politics still stands. In the second, patronage and nepotism remain the modus operandi of provincial politics.

A hand is up at the back. Yes sir?

“What about those dirty feds? Didn’t they just appoint former Liberal premier Roger Grimes to the Order of Canada?”

Indeed they did. I stand corrected. Patronage and nepotism remain the modus operandi of federal and provincial politics.

I’ve been writing about Newfoundland politics for almost 30 years. Admittedly, that’s not in the same league as Wakeham and Wangersky, but I can say with confidence that Gerry Byrne’s accusation of racism against NDP MHA Jim Dinn during the fall sitting was one of the most despicable episodes ever.

It was crass and baseless. It was pathetic and vile manipulation. Worst of all, it was an insult to anyone who has ever been victimized by racism, and to all those who work against racism. It was an embarrassment to Newfoundland voters.

Look for no different in 2020, when truly awful and detestable behaviour by cabinet ministers will continue to be encouraged and tolerated for the sake of partisan gain.

Did Ball give Byrne the boot? Of course not.

Look for no different in 2020, when truly awful and detestable behaviour by cabinet ministers will continue to be encouraged and tolerated for the sake of partisan gain.

Opposition MHAs demanded, and got a small measure of, punishment for Christopher Mitchelmore regarding the installation of Carla Foote into an executive job at The Rooms that was already filled and required the firing of the person who was in the position. So much for Liberal promises of job creation.

Ball, speaking to reporters, uttered an unintentionally hilarious statement along the lines of, 'We wouldn’t even be talking about this if it weren’t for Carla Foote’s last name.'

Well duh, Dr. Rocket Science.

The Foote family is doing swell. Mama Foote was royally rewarded by taking up residence in Government House as the province’s most recent Liberal-Governor, er, Lieutenant-Governor.

Baby Foote, for whatever reason, landed a $132,000-per-year gig at The Rooms, and people who wonder how she can have the face to show up to work every day reveal how wide the chasm is between the peasantry and the ruling elite.

(Editor’s note: for future reference, this is 2020; there is no longer such a thing as “the ruling elite.”)

In 2020, the ruling elite will continue to ride roughshod over the commoners, caring not a whit for decency or fair play.

Start an office pool: how long will Carla Foote remain in her job at The Rooms?

Never mind Mitchelmore. Given all the evidence that has become public so far, it is reasonable to surmise Foote’s appointment came from the top, or, in the least, from the Pharmacist’s Office on the eighth floor.

So, for the office pool, as long as Foote remains in that job at The Rooms, Newfoundlanders accept and endorse the patronage and nepotism that has characterized Newfoundland politics since before any of our grandparents were born.

Yup, things sure are going to be different in 2020.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at


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