Show us what you’ve got
The provincial Liberal train continues to pick up speed. Cathy Bennett’s 40-vote win in Virginia Waters Wednesday night was the third straight byelection victory for the Grits since the 2011 general election.
Expectedly, Liberal Leader Dwight Ball used the win in Kathy Dunderdale’s old district to note his party was paying attention to people. He also forecasted a Liberal win when the province goes to the polls in 2015. That, too, is to be expected from him.
“Liberals are listening to the people of the province in our province,” Ball said. “We will deliver, and Newfoundland and Labrador will be a better province because of the next Liberal government.”
After years of wallowing in the political weeds, Ball’s party has been gaining momentum for a few months and this has become the kind of political rhetoric expected from the well-coiffed politician.
But it’s time the darling of Deer Lake proved he’s not all flash and no bang.
What are the Liberals actually going to deliver to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians if they win the next election?
Ball attempted to provide some sort of an answer in a letter to the editor published here Wednesday.
He wrote that the Liberals want to restore accountability and transparency, develop a new energy plan, improve health care and develop a long-term plan for infrastructure.
As well, the Liberals would hold a forum for municipalities, introduce economic development strategies and appoint a group of “driven and innovative people to create a diversification strategy.”
Sadly, Ball even trotted out the “our greatest resource is our people” line — a true, but abused and overused phrase by people reaching for power.
It was as deep as Ball got in a forum that provided little detail.
“Right now, we’re collaborating with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, creating a comprehensive plan that addresses the concerns and interests of all people across the province,” he wrote. “We’re more interested in that work right now than rolling out a Red Book months ahead of general election call.”
But Ball’s letter seemed like it could have been taken from past Blue Books, especially the new energy plan part. (“New Energy” was Dunderdale’s slogan during the 2011 general election.)
There was noting in Ball’s piece that showed vision, innovation, principle or leadership. If he’s listening to people as closely he says, he should have realized these are things Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need.
Until Ball shares more details about where he’d like to take us, and what makes him different, all we’ve got is guy who dresses well and carries himself decently.
That sure doesn’t make him the best choice to become premier.
C’mon, Dwight, enough of the surface rhetoric. Show us what you’ve got.
If you don’t, especially with a new Tory leader coming soon, the Liberals could find that train off the track.
— Originally published in the April 11, 2014 print
edition of The Telegram