So after months of howling for her head, Joan Burke is finally shoved out the door as Education Minister in Newfoundland. And there was much rejoicing, even if her replacement, Darrin King, is filling more than one person with a sense of doom almost equal to seeing Burke remain in the portfolio.
Ross Wiseman remains in Health, which is baffling some, but to me is just a sign that there is great fuck-ups yet to come in Health. Wiseman's going to be hung out there to be the scapegoat to everything that is wrong with Health for some time yet. Why bring in a new guy/woman and have them immediately tarnished as incompetent when you can leave Wiseman there until the crap with the botched cancer tests and the nurses dies down. Then, if there's nothing else evil in the pipelines, you can shift him out of there. Although God only knows who Williams will put in there.
The problem Williams faces is the same one all of his predecessors faced - caucuses are a mile wide but an inch deep when it comes to the talent of being able to run a government department competently and without drama. Health, Education and Finance are the worst, because there isn't a minister of one of those departments in any jurisdiction in Canada that isn't hated, no matter how good they are at the job (and Wiseman and Burke are obviously not good at their jobs). Or, if they're not hated, it's just because they haven't been doing the job long enough yet. Give them more time. It's how it works.
Still, Burke was magnificently incompetent at her job. Yes, congratulations, you managed to suck up to university students by throwing money at them in terms of tuition freezes (in place before she got there) and the elimination of interest on student loans. But when it comes to assisting to make sure MUN is one of the finest post-secondary institutions in Canada, she did quite the bang up job in screwing that up, what with her subtle as a sledgehammer interference with the hiring process of MUN's new president.
And remember, MUN is a place that can manage to screw up its reputation all on its own, without outside assistance. And yet Burke managed to make it worse. That takes talent, to come in and make a bad situation worse, although I'm not sure it's necessarily the kind you want in cabinet.
By the way, has anyone counted the number of cabinet shuffles, adjustments, whatever, since Elizabeth Marshall was turfed and that the premier refuses to readmit her, despite the fact she clearly has more brains than 80 per cent of the current cabinet put together?
If you're all getting tired of me talking about Marshall, imagine how tired I am of her languishing in the backbenches. And ask yourself this question; how different would the entire cancer testing crisis have been if Marshall were still in charge of the department instead of being turfed when she had the gall to be upset when the premier interfered in her department without notifying her first?
Depressing thought, isn't it?
1. Landslide (live) - Fleetwood Mac
2. Only the good die young - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
3. No place to fall - The Little Willies
4. Barricade - Stars
5. Alone in the universe - David Usher*