In lieu of recent comments from certain media about the nature of bloggers critical of Danny Williams (ie. They all must be Liberals and work for communications firms therefore are biased and wrong) I’ve been waiting for someone to try that bullshit on me.
They haven’t, and there are any number of reasons for that. I don’t live in the province anymore. Nor is this a straight political blog. I would likely go mad if I only wrote about politics all the time.
But the most important thing is that I am no Liberal flunky. I have a long history of criticizing Liberal governments in Newfoundland. I raked poor Roger Grimes over the coals. I thought Brian Tobin was a slick tool. I danced the Dance of Malicious Glee when Beaton Tulk had his fall from grace.
Hell, I cut my journalistic teeth criticizing Clyde Wells. Which I highly recommend. Nothing quite sharpens you up so much as trying to question someone who is clearly not only more intelligent than you are, not only more intelligent than 98% of the population he is leading, but who also clearly knows he is.
This is the thing that drives me nuts in Newfoundland right now. And it’s not just the Hebron MOU (and MOUs are like pixie dust. You can scatter them everywhere and people think they’re cute and meaningful. But they can blow away awfully fast if the wind changes), but anything to do with Williams government. This howling reaction of outrage whenever you ask basic questions to the premier.
Are Ed and Simon, to give but two examples, diehard Liberals? Of course. To say otherwise is foolish. But to dismiss the points they make because they have a Liberal background is even more foolish. They are smart men with enough communications and policy wonk experience on them to choke a horse. They’re going to notice things that the average person, and the average journalist, might miss. To ignore what they have to say is silly. To question their desire to see Newfoundland thrive is idiotic. Their desire to see Newfoundland prosper is greater than their desire to see a Liberal government in power. Never doubt that.
People who dismiss Ed and Simon are missing a very basic, very simple point. It is your duty as a citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador to question everything any government tells you. Not just the Williams government. It was our duty with Tobin and not nearly enough did it and the result was him scurrying away before people caught onto the mess he made. We treated the word of Smallwood as Holy Script and look where that got us. It’s also our duty with any future premiers.
There’s nothing wrong with asking hard questions and demanding answers. If your leader can answer a question to your satisfaction, great. But there are always other questions and you should never stop asking them.
That why I like Ed and Simon. They never stop asking questions. They never stop doubting. And when the answers aren’t forthcoming, they dig and try to find them. This is good because amidst all the glee over the Hebron MOU, there are a lot of questions to be answered. And hell, I might even be willing to give Williams the benefit of the doubt on confidentiality agreements and needing to get things locked up first so we can’t get into specific details if he had done this a year ago. But he didn’t. He made this announcement mere weeks before an election for which this is clearly going to be a main plank in his campaign.
Look, I don’t care what your political loyalties are. There is simply no way any leader can stand up and announce they have a deal that will fundamentally alter the province for a generation or more and give only the most vague details. And when people ask for more information go, “Nope, sorry I can’t tell you until well after you reelect me. But trust me, it’s great.”
Nope. No way. No chance in hell. There’s no human way you can let a politician get away with that. I don’t care if the guy has the recombinant genetic structure of Gandhi, Lincoln and Nelson Mandela. There is no way you can let him get away with that. It’s like putting a sign around your neck that says “I am a sucker. Abuse me.”
To reiterate a few points for those slow on the uptake: I sincerely hope the deal is as good as Williams is singing. And of the three party leaders in the province right now, Williams is by a large margin the most qualified to run the place. But that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be asking lots of questions and getting of answers in return.
And if Williams doesn’t answer them, then just keep asking again and again and again. If he doesn’t answer them, then you might ask why that is and keep it in mind when going to the polls. Because this is too important to not have answers. If you wait until after the election and then discover you don’t like the answers, well, too bad, eh? And you get what you deserve.