Musician and producer Andy Moor’s
lyric “Undeserved” lacks little contextual ambiguity when offered as counsel to the Provincial P.C. Caucus.  
“Remember when you still believed in everyone” is a line that evokes melancholy and the certainty that there were better times.  But this stanza contains a message of foreboding:   

It’s a
lonely place to dwell

Remembering when you still had your future

No one ever comes out quite the same

They’ll never trust themselves again

With anyone

Give no
one your faith


I don’t know if the Tory Caucus has ever been described as authentic in the way fans describe Moor.  For this piece to make its point, even if a few Members are genuine will be enough.  Let’s turn
up the volume for them.

Few, but
the most hard of hearing, would disagree that this Government awaits deafeat in the next general election. 

While a
year is said to be a lifetime in politics, it is tough to imagine any
opportunity remains for Tory redemption.

The Leadership
contest was supposed to reinvigorate the Party and calm a bewildered public
following Kathy Dunderdale’s ghastly leadership.
 But, if anything, matters have worsened.  Frank Coleman was possibly the worst outcome
of a non-race even if he can’t be faulted for Bill Barry’s premature withdrawal.

The race,
from the beginning, revolved around Danny Williams’ choice (for a second time).  The obvious implication is that the P.C.
Party has been hi-jacked by him.  His overbearing
influence, at minimum, constituted a warning to Bill Barry and a message to
others that the Race was already closed. 

Except for
a General Election, on what remedy can anyone rely to affect a change of leadership?  The question is peculiar for a peculiar

The party
system, which supports British style parliamentary democracies, is well known for
its ability to facilitate the election of Leaders.  But for a few like Britain and Australia most
systems, including Canada’s, possess an inability to dispatch leaders when they
become ineffective or out of touch.    

That said, while far more difficult for a host of reasons the
lack of a formal mechanism does not restrict any Caucus from taking an action
when one is essential.  They do so for their
own survival.

Very likely,
it was the Tory Caucus that messaged Kathy Dunderdale as she enjoyed a southern
vacation.  When she met the Caucus, on
the morning of her resignation, it was merely to inform rather than to engage them. 

The Premier
of Alberta, Alison Redford, was likely told by her Caucus to move on when she
became embroiled in a spending scandal; her predecessor Ed Stelmach received a
similar instruction. 

Why do we
need to entertain this discussion when a new Tory Leader is on the way?
Because, as this scribe submitted in a prior Post, Mr. Coleman is DOA – dead on

Coleman’s default to victory has imposed on the Party a Leader who can only
drag it down further; one who cannot possibly inspire the electorate to be merciful.

Hence, we
are right to ask if the Caucus will again assume its historic role now that the
Convention has been robbed of its essential function.  Is it ready to perform what may well
constitute a ‘first’ in the Commonwealth and invoke a coup d’état in advance of
a coronation?

departure of Dunderdale, ahead of her own schedule, could well embolden the
Caucus to take action again.  

Last week’s
Liberal Party Dinner at $500 a head suggests a new slant on an old invocation:
“follow the money”.  The contractors,
engineering firms, and other business types who crowded the Delta Hotel
Ballroom to sup with Dwight Ball were chiefly the same faces who attended a
similar affair for the Tories just last year. 
The men and women in suits sense change is in the wind.

The March,
2014 CRA Poll placed support for the Liberal Party at 53%.  Now consider that the Tory Leadership process
has miscarried; add in cost overruns at Muskrat, a devastating PUB Report on
Nalcor’s incompetence regarding DarkNL and the Humber Valley Paving affair, the
next CRA numbers can hardly be expected to turn around.

The Caucus likely
suffers no illusion that the Report of the A-G, regardless of its conclusion, is
a fix for the Tories’ ills.  On the
Street the verdict is already in.

The larger
issue, right now, is whether the Party can recapture a shred of dignity even if
it needs to be banished until it is renewed and repaired.

The Caucus
can begin by insisting that the July 5th Convention count for


First, it
should tell Frank Coleman that they have no faith in him, that his services are
not required.

Second, it
should insist that the Convention be used to give effect to much needed change
to the Party’s Constitution.  Such change
would permit the substitution of the delegated leadership process with a direct
election system recently used to good effect by the Provincial Liberals.  While it is far from a perfect system, it is
less subject to unwarranted influence by power brokers like Williams.

Third, start
the leadership process again. 

The cost of
the direct voting system may actually be less expensive and more financially controllable
than a delegated system.  It might also attract
some solid candidates who were scared off by a ‘fix’ in which Caucus solidarity
was used as a weapon.

This recipe
is no guarantee of anything.  After all,
fallout from the legacy of Dunderdale, and now Marshall and Coleman continues
to pile up.

Still, doing
nothing is certain to guarantee the Tories’ obliteration. 

To echo Andy
Moor:  “You know it’s not easy…It’s a
lonely place to be”

a new plan to replace one destined to fail will take some courage, but not a lot.

to the P.C Party’s Constitution must be filed 30 days prior to the Convention
which will also constitute the Party’s AGM.

The Caucus doesn’t
have much time to get its dance steps right. For that reason they might take a moment to reflect on Andy
Moor’s sure-footed warning……….

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


If a Big Mac costs McDonalds $10 to produce and it is sold for $1.50, McDonalds will go out of business. They would not declare a profit!


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


  1. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on how the current mess should be dealt with. The problem however, is there isn't enough intellectual talent within the PC caucus to see the light of day. Why any of them could not see the blatant error in judgement by allowing Sir Danny to once again use his influence in trying to run the party from the backroom. Wasn't the whole Katy Dunderdale affair enough proof for any party member to see his failure to move the party in the right direction. For any former premier to take such an unprecedented interest in trying to govern from the backroom is a mystery, that perhaps some day we will better understand.

    Then there's the ordained Mr. Coleman who if he has any common sense, should do the right thing and walk away. If he can't see the writing on the wall, god help us all if he remains for the coronation in July. The most recent article by Bob Wakeham "Cry me a bucket" says it all. As was so correctly summarized in the article, Frank Coleman should stick to paving roads and selling carrots.