30 November 2005

Rolling in the aisles

That's what voters in Newfoundland and Labrador will be doing when they read the story from the Globe and Mail that the federal Conservatives have targeted the riding of Avalon as a seat they can win in the upcoming election.

Minor problem: the Conservatives don't have a candidate there yet - despite obvious signs that john Efford wasn't running again. Last time things were so desperate that even John Crosbie mused about coming back to elected politics. That is, he mused about it until his wife, Jane, got wind of the windy former minister's bluster. Crosbie quickly pulled his horns in and went back to writing bitter tripe for a mainland newspaper chain that also boasts the wit if not the wisdom of bitter former cabinet minister Sheila Copps.

Popular local member of the House of Assembly Fabian Manning is being courted by the federal Conservatives. Outside the legislature the other day Manning gave a dozen solid reasons why he wouldn't seek the nomination. Then, Manning said he was still 50/50 and thinking about it. Unless Harper makes Fabe an offer he can't refuse, count on Manning staying put.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives held onto their two seats in Newfoundland and Labrador by a mere five percent last time out. Incumbents Loyola Hearn and Norm Doyle took a drubbing after the election for their stance on the offshore revenue deal. They voted for it before they voted against it and that tested the tolerance of even some staunch Tories.

Such was the din of disapproval that Hearn mused about going off fishing rather than run again. Doyle blamed "Liberal spin doctors" in St. John's for his problems. Try as I might, I couldn't get Norm to blame me personally.

If nothing else, the Globe piece represents putting a brave face on things. Go back to the polls and check the seat counters. Every scenario based on current numbers show the Conservatives losing seats in this election. Even in the Globe story, the Connie insiders admit that they expect to lose seats in the West to New Democrats.

They may lose seats in other places too, just like it is possible the Conservatives will pick up a bunch. If it nets out to fewer seats on The Day, then this election may well have been for naught.