01 June 2011

The Galaxy Quest for Relevance

Where is Jason Nesmith when you need him?

The fictional commander of the fictional star ship Protector at least took a firm stand when delivering a stock line:

Never give up! 

Never surrender!

Noob Bloc NDP member of parliament Ryan Cleary could only deliver a weak-assed line among a string of other superficial comments when he told CBC’s Debbie Cooper that in his new lifestyle as a politician, “there’s give and take, there’s compromise, but I’ll only compromise so far.”

Compromise on what, one might ask?

Clearly not spending public money.

Cleary promises to fly to his home in St. John’s every weekend.

Beyond that Cleary is not very clear on most things.

And why should he?  The guy knew nothing about politics before he got into, nothing about the Commons and the role it plays and after four weeks of MP school he is barely scratching the surface of what he doesn’t know. 

Heck, Cleary is stuck at the “it’s too hot up here, give me the ocean breeze and snow” kinda folksy bullshit that people haven’t heard in 60 odd years.

Folksy bullshit.

That and another piece of folksy bullshit in his royal commission to figure out what happened to all the fish.   (Hint:  Ask people  - like Gus Etchegary  - who helped slaughter them all). 

Radio host Randy Simms asked him what process Cleary would use to get his beloved royal commission on the cod fishery going. 

Process? Cleary asked, as Simms talked.  You could practically see his head cocking to one side like the confused canine.  After a couple of seconds he launched into a list of things that made it pretty obvious that Cleary had no idea what he needed to do in order to accomplish anything in Ottawa beyond the most basic stuff.  

Cleary is clearly in way over his head.  What’s worse, Cleary hasn’t realised he is in over his head.  Instead he is ready with the pledge to follow all courses, wherever they may lead and blah blah and then blah blah some more until blah and blah.

Cue the folksy bullshit, again.

Being a member of parliament is not the greatest thing in the world but it is also not a great backwater where a guy can while away his days sending in “True Facts” submissions to National Lampoon like Dave Rooney used to do.

You can do a lot of good for people in Ottawa as a member of parliament.  The kinds of people who write crap about Jackie Layton and spotting him a hundred seats never understand that because they are too wrapped up in themselves to appreciate how fundamentally ignorant they are. 

Now that he’s on the other side, Cleary thinks MPs are put on pedestals, as he said a couple of times during interviews over the past 24 hours.  That complete lack of insight into anything, including himself apparently, is a recipe for disaster for Cleary, his party and for his constituents.  It’s why your humble e-scribbler offered the view that this guy could be a disaster waiting to happen.   Four weeks later and nothing has changed.

Still, it’s early days.

Free advice is worth what you pay for it but here goes anyway:  what Ryan should be doing is keeping his head down and his mouth shut.  Spend the summer listening, asking questions and learning. 

He’s got four years.  If Cleary applies himself, he could turn out to be a half-decent member of parliament.  He might get some good done along the way.

If he keeps going along his current path, he can join a litany of ex politicians who remain long after their careers are over where Ryan is today:  on a quest of galactic proportions for relevance.

- srbp -

4 comments:

doconnor said...

Are you sure it isn't you who doesn't understand what an MP is supposed to do.

They are expected to fly home every weekend.

Opposition MPs are expected to say what they think should be done, even though in a majority there is no mechanism for them to accomplish it.

Edward Hollett said...

If you think that an MP exists to spend public money on travel home every weekend, then you will get your money's worth from Mr. Cleary.

As for the rest of it, I suspect your exceedingly low expectations will be met.

Ryan's a bright fellow. You should expect more of him than you do.

doconnor said...

MPs exist to represent their ridings. Traveling home every weekend is one of they ways they do it.

All the traveling is not something they enjoy doing. It's probably the most difficult part of the job.

Edward Hollett said...

MPs do lots of things besides just represent their ridings.

Traveling home to the riding is difficult? I take the point you are trying to make but there are a couple of things you are missing.

Ryan wasn't talking about traveling home to keep in touch with his constituents. He made the comment in another context, namely about his living arrangements in Ottawa.

That ties, interestingly enough, back to his comments a while ago where he left one job in order to spend more time with his young family and then offered himself up as a candidate to be an MP. Spending time with family and being an MP don't go hand in hand. That's fairly typical of the stuff that Ryan has said that doesn't add up.

But in a general sense though, there's a huge difference between St. John's South-Mount Pearl and a district like Random-Burin-St. Georges or Labrador.

A couple of hours on an airplane and you are in a riding where you can take public transport from one end to the other. It isn't very stressful and it sure doesn't take a lot of physical effort to get to St. John's versus getting to some place like Maccallum. You are really over-stating things if you are trying to explain away Ryan's comments by trying to make the trip out as some sort of burden.

I don't know on what basis you are making your comments - "All the travel..." but the simple truth is that travel is very much part of the job. There can be more travel than just back and forth to the old homestead. You don't have to like it but travel is part of the job. But if someone doesn't like travel, then being an MP is not a career they should take up.

It is sort of like wanting to spend lots of time with your kids. It doesn't go with being an MP