Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Noseworthy dives in

I really was going to give the Newfoundland election a pass on writing for a day or two. I do have a couple of other things that need to be brought up on the blog. But today's story out of the province of former Auditor General John Noseworthy's decision to run against the NDP leader in the districting of Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi is too good to pass up.

It's not without prescident that an auditor general would pursue political office. Hell, Elizabeth Marshall did it back in 2003. But this one feels a bit weirder and the circumstances are a little different.

I stand to be corrected, but Marshall had completed her term as AG and had been out of office for a few years. Nobody expects an AG to retire and live as a hermit once they complete their term. They're often very smart, very driven people, so a life of retired leisure isn't going to cut it. I get that.

But Noseworthy quit his term as AG a year before it was up, and a few months before an election. So clearly politics had been on his mind for quite some time, even when he was doing his job of checking into the books. Although there's only one non-Conservative seat in the St. John's area - the one he's running in - several of the MHAs declared their intention not to run again. So he could have picked one of those seats.

I really do remain conflicted over it. He's clearly a smart man (probably smarter than 95% of the current Conservative caucus) with an idea of what he would like to bring to government. And someone who wants to get in there and bring better fiscal management to the place and actually has the skills to be able to do this is worth taking a serious look at and a worthy contender for your vote.

On the other hand, quitting his AG job earlier to run for the governing party he was charged with monitoring is just begging for screams of conflict of interest accusations to taint his campaign. Running against the leader of the NDP...well, there's nothing wrong with it. It just feels....tacky.

There's also the matter that if he got elected, there's no guarantees he'll be able to do anything. Least we forget when Marhsall got elected, the first time she challenged Premier Williams on something, she found herself relegated to the backbenches watching people not as clever as she was getting appointed ahead of her because they knew which ass to kiss.

Somehow, I get the feeling Noseworthy isn't much of an asskisser. Also, how welcome is he going to be in a caucus when he has made many of their lives difficult in the past?

So we'll see. One more weird and wacky development in this election.

Next blog post - something other than Newfoundland and Labrador politics, I promise.

last Five
1. I wish I was in New Orleans - Tom Waits
2. Into the white - Pixies
3. A thousand suns - Hey Rosetta!*
4. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (live) - Paul McCartney and U2
5. World of wonders (live) - Bruce Cockburn


Anonymous said...

Trial run. Lose in a brave effort at an unwinnable seat, run for the leadership when KD retires in 2014.


Anonymous said...

I remember when the spending scandal broke I thought that he crossed the line from Auditor General to politician. He seemed to enjoy the spotlight just a little too much and the daily dribs and drabs giving him the lead story on the news were a bit much. The AG role is to do a comprehensive report, comment on it in a session or sessions if needed, hand over the info to the appropriate authorities where appropriate and then move on. So I'm not at all surprised that he's running for politics.

You probably didn't see his recent tv interview but he essentially said that although he lives in Paradise he can represent Quidi Vidi because all the St. John's area is the same. Although I agree that the metro area has lots of similarities the various communities have different needs. Perhaps it's most pronounced in Quidi Vidi with a high concentration of artists, homelessness issues, heritage issues, shoreline protection, etc.

Seems like he just wants to get elected so he can have input on broad policy issues instead of representing the district. If he gets elected I'm sure he will bring a valuable perspective to the table but i'm not sure how well he will represent the particular needs of a district such as Quidi Vidi.

My prediction is that it won't work. The electorate in QV are left leaning and have been for a long time. Noseworthy is right wing with no connection to the district so I think they will hand him his ass election night. He should have chosen another district...or better yet another party.

Geoff Meeker said...

One other observation. Noseworthy said he had two different meetings with the Liberals, before deciding to reject their offer. The Liberals deny that, and, if they are right, then Noseworthy is playing a very nasty game.

Even if it were true, one presumes that their discussion would have had an agreement of confidentiality about them. Noseworthy would have known that, even if it wasn't explicitly stated. For him to release that information, just to give his own campaign a bit of bounce, is sleazeball politics.

Edward Hollett said...

Frankly, guys, I think this is typical of Noseworthy in every respect.

People, mostly news media, put him on a pedestal early on and have never taken him off despite more than enough evidence of serious problems in his handling of the AG office.

Doesn't matter whether it was the Libs or NDP or the Tories he is running for. To enter politics 16 days after you leave the AG job AND to do it for the governing party?

It stinks to high heavens.

towniebastard said...

It's certainly not the most graceful entry into NL politics I've ever seen. What with the awkwardness of giving up a supposedly non-partisan position before the end of your term and then opting to run for the governing party, and then getting involved with an awkward and unnecessary controversy with the opposition party that's kind of overshadowed everything else.

Yeah, there's some work still needed on his political chops.

The one thing I meant to mention in the original post was if the demographics in Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi are shifting. There's a lot more wealth in that district now. A strong Conservative candidate might have a better shot at it.

Whether or not Noseworthy can recover from that stumble out of the gates to be that person remains to be seen.