28 April 2007

A reminder from Doug House

In light of the nationalist (populist) rhetoric in the recent throne speech, consider these words from Doug House on what's needed in Newfoundland and Labrador politics.

When you're done with the quote, go back to the post from a little over a year ago and consider the question posed at the time. The answer might be clearer today than it was 12 months ago.

Ever since it became self-governing in the mid-nineteenth century, political leadership in Newfoundland and Labrador has rotated between representatives of the dominant social class and populists who appeal directly to the "people" directly, with party labels meaning very little...

What Newfoundland and Labrador needs, however, is neither populist nor merchant. It needs a leader - or leadership if you include the whole of Cabinet [sic] - who can transcend both the exaggerated rhetoric of the populist and the restricted conservatism of the merchant. It needs men and women who exhibit statesmanship, by which I mean leadership that both transcends the interests of a single class and is grounded in a deep understanding of the issues, problems and potential rather than superficial rhetoric. [Italics in original]
J.D. [Doug] House, Against the tide: battling for economic renewal in Newfoundland and Labrador, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), p. 239.