by St. John’s South MHA, Tom Osborne’s to join the Liberal Party, contains
elements of surprise, risk and intrigue.
We’ll get to those in a moment.
feels emboldened. He believes the high vote that his St. John’s South
District awarded him, over the past seventeen years, is a personal achievement;
that it is not connected with his Tory affiliation. He may be correct; but,
only in part. The Party Leader, the Party, the prevailing issues, the opposing
candidates, as well as timing, all play a role in any electoral outcome.
Opposition Party likes to steal an elected Member from the Government. Though Osborne had already left the Tories,
either Party he joined still had something to gain. For the winner, it is a public display
of strength and credibility. For maximum effect it is best to get the timing
right. Tom didn’t or couldn’t. Likely,
he had received a higher calling and decided to make his move now.
Liberal Party, far too long in the political wilderness, for its own good, is in
no position to contemplate more effective strategies or to say, no, to anyone.
different perspective, Osborne could have waited until mere weeks or months
before the next election. By then, the
very open question, as to whether Dunderdale will exit the Office of Premier, will
have also been answered.
would have demanded a logic that did not fit immediate political demands.
too caught up in matters of political ideology, either, or any argument that
the NDP was far too left of center for the MHA. When you spend public money, as
have Williams/Dunderdale Governments, piled up large deficits and undertaken
the largest public sector involvement in the economy, since the construction of
the Reid Newfoundland Railway, any talk of right and left wing is, of
necessity, moot. Osborne was a part of that group. Who is kidding whom?
Osborne’s decision include surprise, risk and intrigue?
surprise? Because St. John’s South, like the balance of metro St. John’s, is not
exactly known as a hotbed of support for the Liberal Party; in 2011, the
Liberal Candidate won 3% of the vote and just 9% in the election prior. Surprising, too, because Osborne made this
move in the midst of the Liberal Leadership contest; he would have had nothing
to lose had he waited to see which of the five leadership contenders won. He could have given the winner a large boost heading
into the House of Assembly, in the fall.
risk? Because, notwithstanding evidence
of a nascent revival of the Liberal Party in recent Opinion Polls, there is, as
yet, no basis for the suggestion that any of this change is occurring in the
St. John’s area. While, in politics, as
much can change in one week as in two years, the NDP juggernaut, in the Capital
City, stands a strong chance of being solidified. Osborne will not just be an ‘island in a
storm’; he will be a target.
last election. Little wonder, as Osborne
acknowledged, on CBC Here and Now, last evening, that he attempted to negotiate
not being challenged for the NDP Nomination, next time, but that Leader
Lorraine Michael refused.
The answer is only somewhat speculative.
The very fact that Osborne could not contain himself, until after the
Liberal Leadership contest is over, is a key to understanding that ‘the game is
Leadership Candidate needs Osborne’s endorsement; just as badly, the Candidate
needs Tom Osborne’s considerable organizational skills and those of his large
extended political family.
have no idea the skill-set that has just been unleashed to take possession of
its open selection process.
a group of old Williams’ Tories, lawyers and businesspeople, have lost faith in
Premier Dunderdale’s ability to regain the enormous political capital she has
squandered, and are up to their armpits supporting a particular leadership candidate.
voted for Muskrat Falls.
sent Brad Cabana packing, at an earlier time, when they determined that
that leadership hopeful was from another nest. They should have done the same with
Cathy Bennett, who had no affiliation with the Party, and only wanted the top job. But Cathy had the $20,000 nomination fee and powerful friends.
were right to want to accept Mr. Osborne’s offer of joining up. But a more
prudent Liberal Party would have informed him that his application would be
processed as soon as the new leader is chosen, who having been given a minute
to size him up, would present him to the Liberal caucus.
possess that reserve.
leadership contest is, yes, so wide open, as to permit a good hi-jacking by outside
leadership candidates needs Tom’s endorsement and organization.