So yeah, Premier Williams.
I was advised by a good friend of mine, when the news first started to break, that I should avoid the subject like the plague. Because this was going to get nasty. I'm not on the ground in Newfoundland and Labrador, but I can only imagine the kind of debate going on (or the kind of horror show happening on VOCM). Some of the best commentary I've read so far, unsurprisingly, comes from Geoff Meeker. He also has links to The Telegram and the Globe and Mail editorials on the issue.
I'm not sure how much I can really add to the matter, but here's my couple of cents worth. People of wealth and means have always travelled to the United States or other parts of the world to seek medical treatment. It's certainly Williams option. Yes, the optics are terrible, however Williams is wealthy enough and beloved enough in the province that he can get away with doing it. It's going to piss some people off in the province, make no doubt about that. However, if his political career so far is any indication, he'll come though this just fine.
Having said that, it's shockingly poor communication on the matter. Yes, a person's medical care should be a private matter. However, when you're premier of a province and one as powerful as Williams is, then you should give serious thought to reassuring the people about what is going on. People love Williams. The rest of the crowd, well....And surely God the premier is a smart enough person to realize that. The people could use a bit of a reassurance given the quality of the rest of the cabinet.
So yeah, a simple, "this is what's wrong and for these reasons I'm going to travel to the United States for treatment. I understand this might be controversial and some people will be upset with this decision, however, I have made this decision and I'm prepared to live with the fallout" might have done wonders for taking the wind out of the sails of this thing.
But he didn't do that. Now, he'll have to live with a likely much harsher fallout.
But there's one thing I'm wondering about. The premier has made it clear he plans to run again in 2011. I think it's a mistake simply because there's not been a good history involving Newfoundland premiers and third terms. Newfoundland premiers tend to start seriously cracking up after spending that long in office.
However, he's had heart surgery. Being premier is a stressful job and while I've had my concerns about Premier Williams decisions in the past, I've never doubted that he works hard at the job. So I wonder if during his recovery if he reevaluates his decision to run again, or if his family will put pressure on him to not run again.
That's what I'm kind of curious about. I think he probably still will run, but I won't be surprised if this makes him change his mind.
1. St. George's lane - Matt Mays and El Torpedo
2. Constant craving - k.d. lang
3. Into temptation (live) - Crowded House*
4. Right by my side - Eurthymics
5. Addicted - Hawksley Workman