06 August 2010

Jerome! if you want to

So the Premiers are getting together and one of the Premiers can’t go.  Let’s say he has a bad back.

The meeting is about the economy.  Who does he send to stand in for Hisself in all his premierifficness?

Three guesses.

Hand-picked usual stand in, d.b.a. deputy premier Calamity Kathy Dunderdale.


Intergovernmental affairs minister Dave Denine.  Seems logical.  It’s a meeting among governments and that’s pretty much the definition of what an intergovernmental affairs minister should be doing.

Nope again. Dave Denine may have the title but he is really just building up pensionable time.


Economy, right?

Finance minister Tom Marshall.

Nope for a third time. The Old Man sent the province’s health minister to an economic meeting.

Sure the guy was finance minister for a few months, but there are other people with nominal responsibilities that cover the meeting agenda topics long before you get to Jerome! Kennedy.


Among other things, what you have here is a clear sign that Jerome! is one of the trusted handful who actually run the province.  Despite his griping, Danny does run the place just like he used to run the private businesses.  He handles things with a few trusted chums and that’s it.  Jerome!, Tom and Kathy are the latter day version of Steve, Ken and Dean. If something needs doing, Danny will turn to one of those three to get it done.

And let’s face it when the Old Man bitches about pesky things like internal party politics – let alone politics generally – what he is really saying is that he wished the world would frig off and let him rule his fiefdom as if it were a law firm or cable television company. 

The only thing he has ever asked is that people regard his voice as if it were the voice of God Himself. The only reason the Old Man has a caucus, a cabinet of more than three in the first place and a legislature of 48 is that he can’t easily get rid of the constitution.

Understand that and you understand everything.

Understand as well, that when the Old Man finally does pack it in, Jerome! is likely the guy to replace him.  Kathy and Tom are heading for the door likely before the next election.  Joan Burke may have a war chest but odds are that we’ll be talking about Premier Kennedy once Danny flips to Florida permanently.

Some of you may be wondering about the talk at the meeting about the economy and what role the federal government should play in continued stimulus spending.  You may be pondering what impact any of this will have on Newfoundland and Labrador. Premiers are agreed that the federal government should continue to spend.  They are only divided on the question of how much. Quel surprise.

Newfoundland and Labrador would be in an embarrassing spot on this issue and it will be interesting to see what, if anything, Jerome! has to say. 

He could not easily side with the other “have” provinces who now want the private sector to drive the recovery.  After all, Jerome! and his friends have presided over an unmistakeable – and presumably deliberate -  weakening of the private sector in the province.  Never mind Danny Williams’ claims about leading a Reform-based Conservative Party; his actions don’t match his words. 

Rather, the “have” province of Newfoundland and Labrador would have to side with the “have not” provinces like Ontario that want the federal government to keep pouring cash from its bank account to keep the place going. Williams, Kennedy are forecasting yet another record cash deficit for 2010. More are on the way in a province where public spending is the only thing keeping some parts going at all. Danny Williams, the leader of a Reform-based Conservative Party would have to wind up in the same position as Jack Layton, begging for Stephen Harper’s help.

It’s a good thing Danny’s back went out.  Jerome! can sneak in and sneak out without anybody really expecting him to say much.  If Williams had shown up then all his contradictory positions would be laid bare. His piss poor relationship with his fellows would be on display for all the world to see. He’d have a pain, alright, but a bit lower than his back.

- srbp -