One bad apple
What’s in a name? Well on the provincial political scene in recent years you’ve had two ‘Byrnes’. One MHA was Jack Byrne – politicians and constituents alike thought highly enough of him they immortalized his name by dedicating a new Arena in Torbay after him.
Mind you now, the poor man passed away and usually in death people tend to think more kindly of you. But, if you polled most municipal councils in the province, you would hear he was one of the better Municipal Affairs ministers this province has had.
He was rough in his speech but sincere, and he knew the trials of being a municipal politician since he was former councillor and Mayor himself.
Now the other Byrne – Ed Byrne. It’s unfair to hit a man below the belt, especially when he’s down, but there were many remarks in the media last week after he pleaded guilty to defrauding the provincial government and its residents of thousands of dollars and maybe more. Reactions have not been kind, and many feel there’s no option for the judge hearing his case but to order a sentence involving jail time.
Mr. Byrne was often described as the ‘fair haired boy’ of the provincial Progressive Conservative party, and one of its top guns. However, he apparently has deviated too many times from a straight path and his guilty plea to fraud charges proves this out.
To think Ed Byrne’s political achievements were anything but spectacular over the years can’t be denied. He held key Cabinet portfolios in Danny Williams’ administration, and prior to that was influential within the PC party, even serving as an interim leader.
One can understand things can turn sour when it has nothing to do with your own efforts, but when you bring the downfall upon yourself it’s bewildering.
There have been many good members elected to the House of Assembly since Confederation in 1949, and the Burin Peninsula has had its fair share. It can’t be denied Mary Hodder, who served some eight years in the Liberal governments of Brian Tobin and Roger Grimes, gave her heart and soul to her constituents’ needs.
Why the Marystown Town Council, on which she served for many years, even saw fit to establish a high school scholarship in her honour.
The expression is often repeated – ‘ It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the barrel’.
That’s why politicians, and the democratic system of government, do not receive glowing remarks on a great many occasions.
The outcome – ‘One rotten politician means years of cynicism for politics in general’.
— George Macvicar, Southern Gazette