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BRIAN JONES: Is Dr. Furey Newfoundland’s scalpel-wielding saviour?

Dr. Andrew Furey announced his candidacy for the Liberal party leadership at the Alt Hotel in St. John’s on Tuesday evening. DAVID MAHER/THE TELEGRAM
Dr. Andrew Furey announced his candidacy for the Liberal party leadership at the Alt Hotel in St. John’s on Tuesday evening. DAVID MAHER/THE TELEGRAM

A dissatisfied reader writes, “That’s kind of reorganizing past columns about the same issues … think we’ve got the message by now.”

It is undeniable. Three weeks ago, there was criticism about cronyism, nepotism, patronage and favouritism, and then last week — too soon, according to the rankled correspondent — more criticism about cronyism, nepotism, patronage and favourtisim.

But “got the message”? Hardly. If that were so, the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives would both have a real and persistent fear of being sent into the wilderness for a term or more. Instead, they each know — rightly — that their turn will come around again, no matter what.

 

Thus the brazen gall of dishing out patronage, nepotism, cronyism and favouritism.

Did I forget something? Oh yes, rewards. Dishing out rewards.

Another reader gently chides me for overlooking Roger Grimes, the former Liberal premier who now chairs the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

So little space, yet so much patronage.

We can only wonder whether the Liberal rot will be any different under Dr. Andrew Furey.

John Abbott? It’s doubtful a former civil servant can provide much competition for Furey, who has been in the public eye for years as the founder of Team Broken Earth, which has provided medical assistance to people in Haiti since earthquakes devastated the country in 2010.

Even more impressive, Furey is apparently palsy with Newfoundland superstar Alan Doyle (see: A Dollar A Day foundation). Really, he has already done more actual good in the world than all Newfoundland’s previous premiers combined, not counting Joey Smallwood.

Although, upon hearing of Furey’s intention to seek the premier’s job, you had to ask: why so quick to abandon the Haitians?

Indeed, why so quick to abandon patients who need surgery?

In addition to being a renowned humanitarian, Furey is, of course, an orthopedic surgeon. There aren’t many of those around.

It will be such a waste. All that talent and ability, replacing hips and fixing wobbly knees, alleviating pain and suffering, restoring health and mobility to those who don’t have it.

“Why was my surgery cancelled?” a tearful patient inquires.

“I’m sorry, but Dr. Furey is in the House arguing with Ches Crosbie.”

You can’t be two places at once. Either you’re a doctor or you’re premier. Which brings more good to the world? So far, the score is Doctors 13, Premiers 0.


What we need to know is, why would a guy who can do so much good as a doctor and surgeon want to give it up for politics?


Many political aspirants blithely claim their motivation for seeking office is a desire to “serve the public,” but they could do much more by seeking a seat in the nearest medical school.

So, what are we to make of Dr. Furey? Is his ambition for doing good so great that he feels compelled to abandon doctoring to better serve the masses by pulling up the premier’s chair?

Perhaps with all his cutting and stitching, he hasn’t had time to read the news, other than the occasional headline out of Haiti. But he should know that people in power serve power. This has been the case since the first ballot was cast in ancient Athens. It is especially so in Newfoundland. (See: Newfoundland, history of, 1497-2020.)

A reader recently sent an email with the subject line, “Am I too poor to be premier?”

Unfortunately, yes. Most of us are.

Never mind the $25,000 fee to enter the Liberal leadership race. Politics is a moneyed game, and if you don’t have it, your chances decline cumulatively with every dollar you lack.

But I digress. What we need to know is, why would a guy who can do so much good as a doctor and surgeon want to give it up for politics? Is the prospect of power so enticing?

Time after time after time, voters hear candidates declare they will do politics differently. So far, the main person to have fulfilled that promise is the wretched president of the United States.

Newfoundlanders should hope Abbott makes a real race of it. The province doesn’t need another heralded saviour, no matter how many miracles he has accomplished with a scalpel.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.


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