26 October 2007

Woodrow, Dumaresque should resign

The Liberal Party and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador should be seeing a couple of resignations this weekend.

They won't see either, but they are entitled to both.

John Woodrow should do the right thing and withdraw as the Liberal candidate in the deferred election in Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans. if Woodrow had any serious interest in the job, he'd have come forward long before now. But that's not the real problem.

Almost a decade ago, Woodrow was at the centre of of an alleged bribery scandal. No charges were laid, but in the allegations Woodrow made, he told a justice department lawyer that he had paid bribes to a cabinet minister and several officials.

The police investigated but no charges were laid.

Nonetheless, Woodrow seemed quite happy to make the allegation in the first place. Even if we allow for the presumption of innocence on Woodrow's part, that is, if he didn't provide any benefits to the minister, the minister direct family and/or the minister's staff in contravention of the Criminal Code, Woodrow's willingness to make such an accusation in the first place makes him unfit to hold any public office. That conclusion should be patently obvious.

As for Danny Dumaresque, the party president, he should resign for failing to do anything to discharge his responsibilities in this matter properly. By his own admission, Dumaresque did not meet with Woodrow prior to signing the nomination papers.

Obviously, Dumaresque didn't even conduct a simple google search. Had he searched for "John Woodrow Newfoundland" the very first thing to appear would have been a reference to the scandal.

The party president is responsible, among other things, for the proper administration of the party. Even if the district level executive was willing to accept Woodrow, the party president owes a duty of care to the party as a whole, to the provincial executive and to the leader. Dumaresque failed in that responsibility.

When the party executive board meets again - according to some sources they are meeting this weekend - the first order of business should be ending Woodrow's candidacy. if he's not prepared to quit, then the party executive must act.

The second order of business should be to accept Dumaresque's resignation. The only honourable thing for him to do is quit.

If Dumaresque tries to stay on, then it is incumbent on the executive to fire him.

Should they fail to act, the individual members of the board who approve of Woodrow and Dumaresque in this instance can expect their own tenure in office will be as short as short can be.