There's been lots of commentary (Ed is keeping track of a lot of it) about the Tories losing their first byelection under Danny Williams in The Straits-White Bay North. The premier downplays it, the opposition says this clearly means people are dissatisfied with the current government. Most Newfoundland and Labrador political bloggers are not, shall we say, in love with the current government. So there's plenty of picking at the tea leaves of this result to see if there are deeper, hidden meanings.
As for me, I remain on the fence. Yes, it's clearly a kick in the balls to the premier, who is not used to losing these things. And he can downplay and spin away until he starts to believe it, but clearly he wanted to win this or he wouldn't have thrown so many resources, and cabinet ministers, at the seat. I'm also not expecting a Saul on the Road to Damascus like conversion from the premier. I suspect the premier is going to keep governing the province in the exact same way, for better or worse.
On the other hand, if you think this is the beginning of the end for Williams, well, I think I'll pass on sharing that Kool-Aid you're drinking. It's one byelection where there was a highly contentious local issue and the government acted in a way that really pissed off some of the locals. And even then, it was still pretty damn close.
Tell you what, come back and talk to me if the Tories and Williams lose the Terra Nova byelection. Unless I missed something there is no major local issue pissing people off...it's just to replace a whinny cabinet minister who got in way over his head. If the Tories lose that one - and yes I know it has a tradition of going Liberal - then you can talk to me about something starting to be stirred up.
Until then it's just a byelection loss. Let's try not to read into it a sudden surge of love for the Liberals and the great exodus from the Tories, shall we?
1. Be there - Lloyd Cole
2. Girls on crutches - Hawksley Workman
3. This is how I know - Ron Sexsmith
4. A new name for everything - The Weakerthans
5. Fix me now - Garbage*