June 2015, as a General Election beckoned, Abacus Data reported that only 3% of
those polled perceived Muskrat Falls/electricity as “the most important issue
facing NL”. Just 11% expressed concern over the deficit.
election gave vent to a public which had watched the P.C. Party languish in a
succession of “amateur hours”. They ran the gamut from Dunderdale’s #DarkNL
moment to Frank Coleman’s transparently self-serving attempt to become First Minister for all the wrong reasons.
Marshall left behind a legacy of deficits and not just those related to the
Budget. There was the Humber Valley Paving affair and the charade of Muskrat
public was forced to suffer bemusement with the Corporal Premier, Paul Davis,
as a confused mind miscalculated the preeminence of justice in the pursuit of public
safety. They saw a neophyte giving appointment to an unelected Minister who
wouldn’t run; an innocent advancing public policy which had been handed to him
by narcissists and connivers about which he feigned knowledge but didn’t
understand – and still don’t.
those events gave confirmation that the Tories were both intellectually and
morally bankrupt. Public opinion, while docile about the Government’s worst
manifestations, seemed seized only with seeing the arse end of that motley
Abacus Data has released
details of a January 2018 poll describing attitudes among the same — but far
less comatose — body politic. The firm reports that 53% “think it is likely
that NL will go bankrupt”. The deficit and the province’s finances top the list
of issues facing residents. Three years ago, 3% of those surveyed were
concerned about Muskrat — a figure that has now mushroomed to 62%!
were a variety of other questions asked in the survey, but most are meaningless
because political opinion is fluid now with leadership contests awaiting both the
Tories and the NDP.
one number — the one showing that the Liberals have failed to get traction at a
time when the other parties are in a sorry state — earns special interest. Voter
intentions, as indicated by Abacus, puts support for the Liberals at just 22%,
compared with 18% for the Tories: a spread within the margin of error. The NDP,
at just 12%, barely clings to the political radar. A whopping 48% are in the “undecided”
column, confirming — as much as it might anything else — that the Liberals are not
just weak, but that political rigor mortis has set in.
for this fact, voter support for the Liberal Party might be approaching the
fortieth percentile. Liberals should be enjoying the deafening sound of a
procession of culpable Tory leaders being run out of town. They should be
watching NDippers embarrassingly admit that they are irreparably lost. But the
Liberals can’t get a leg up on either the naked or the dead.
those “holed up” in the “bowl” that is the Premier’s Office think the Liberals are
opportunity, the public will hand them an anchor and allow them to be
mercifully dropped overboard. As unlikely as it might seem to some, the
Liberals can be tipped over by a featherweight. And they only have themselves to blame.
they hope that, when the Muskrat Falls Inquiry begins, the public examination
of witnesses — exposing the cabal of bootlickers and self-aggrandizers preying
on the tribe — will turn the tide. I think the Liberals are wrong.
Abacus numbers confirm that the public has no public sympathy for any group of politicians. All
they see — and who can blame them? — is a Liberal Administration indistinguishable
from the group that was run out of office less than three years ago.
high number — 62% — who believe we are headed for insolvency suggests that they
have not been persuaded by the “not a crisis” Liberal leadership. The strategy
employed to soft-peddle our financial predicament is not working. On the
contrary, a sleepy electorate has not only awakened. Voters feel threatened,
perhaps even cornered, by the sheer magnitude of our collective financial
insecurity. Just wait until they get mad!
is an environment that does not excuse the vacuous or the flat-footed. Left with
so few options voters could interpret any change, even Ches Crosbie (boring as
he is) as a welcome alternative to the status quo. And to that point, I have looked for signs that
Tory leadership hopeful Tony Wakeham is still with us. What I found was barely a
metaphor for Groundhog Day; even Wakeham’s shadow eludes capture – except literally within the last couple of days.
see two possibilities. The first one is a repeat. The Liberals will experience
a “night of the long knives” when Dwight will be thrown out with the stale
the public will turn to “boring”.