So here I am swearing that I'm not going to write about MUN today, and what does Premier Williams do? He does this. He finally speaks out after a couple of weeks of controversy regarding the university.
He's also pulling something that seems oddly familiar to me....that is letting the minister take a beating for a few weeks and then he swoops in looking all confused about what the big racket is about. After all, it's just a simple misunderstanding. People are just exaggerating the problem.
Anyway, let us not get into what the Williams government has or has not done in the past. Instead, let's focus on the matter at hand.
So, first point. That MUN's Board of Regents, in fact, suggested to the government that they might want to meet some of the finalists for the job. You know, to have a chat. Talk about how wonderful the province is...that sort of thing.
Well, it's a pretty poor host who invites you over to their house, then starts questioning your competence to hold the job and then publicly says that you're really not the right fit. That ought to woo in future candidates.
Williams gave the names to education minister Joan Burke because he was too busy to meet them. Now, this is all very carefully worded. Government officials met with them, they had a chat, they tried to sell them on the benefits of the province....but boy are they downplaying the word "interviewed". Yes, fiscal responsibility to make sure the best person is in place, legislation that's been in place for decades (never mind hasn't been used since the Smallwood era, I believe), people over-reacting, the minister has done nothing wrong. We haven't infringed on the academic freedom of MUN.
Except the minister and the premier did do something wrong. The minister admits to some kind of interview with candidates and rejecting them, while giving no criteria as to why she felt they were unqualified, while the hiring committee thought they were worthy of being wooed.
So yes, spin away, but I don't believe it and, as much as the premier might like to try and downplay its significance, I think a lot of people do care about the issue. Or if not this specific issue, are perhaps becoming a bit concerned about how the Williams government handles issues like this, or health care.
However, here's the other point....it is long, long past time that the Board of Regents spoke up and clarified exactly what happened. Both what they did and whether or not they believe the government is interfering. And, by the way, I'd like that statement to have all the names of the current Board of Regents. Just so we're clear and there's no perception of conflict of interest, what with the Chair of the Board being a friend of the premier's and appointed by him.
The government's had their say. I have my doubts and questions. However, it is long past time people at the university started saying what's been happening the last few months. I don't think that's an unreasonable request.
1. Dejalo - Rilo Kiley
2. Fix me now - Garbage
3. Addicted - Amy Winehouse
4. Island of the honest man - Hot Hot Heat
5. Breathless - Corrine Bailey Rae