01 February 2011

The old hum on the Humber

Politicians running for the government party in Newfoundland and Labrador usually have a simple message;  vote for me or the district won’t see pavement again. 

Now they often get more sophisticated in the presentation these days:  Vaughn Granter, for example, is telling voters in Humber West that he will be their strong “voice” but the idea is basically the same.  Having someone in government will help to bring home all the pork you need.

In Granter’s case, his comments give new meaning to Squires-era political slogan about putting the “hum on the Humber”. 

After all, Humber West has been represented in the House of Assembly by more Premiers than any other district in the province.  Period.  If the good burghers of  Corner Brook are missing something it is not from a lack of patronage, pull, pork or anything else.  Face it: it’s doubtful that Vaughn could succeed where the likes of Joey, Frank, Clyde, Brian and Danny failed miserably.

That’s not all. Over most of the past 20 years Corner Brook has had not one but two senior cabinet ministers.  For the past seven alone, they’ve been pork-teamed by none other than a townie who never lived in Corner Brook for more than a couple of nights at the Glynmill in his life and local boy Tom Marshall.

If this much isn’t clear by now make no mistake: Corner Brookers who might be persuaded by Granter’s truly pathetic appeal can rest easy on the future of their city.  Vote for Mark Watton.  If Tom Marshall, the province’s finance minister, cannot keep the provincial tax dollars flowing for the next 10 months, all by himself then it is only because there isn’t any space left to stuff another ounce of pork inside the Lewin Parkway anyway. 

If none of that makes voters in Corner Brook suck some air between their teeth, then let them consider the sad example of one David Brazil.  He’s the newly minted member of the provincial legislature who replaced the late Diane Whelan.  Brazil campaigned on improving the ferry service to Bell Island, a big voting block in the Conception bay East-Bell Island district.

On January 9, Brazil spoke to VOCM and pronounced himself pleased with his colleagues in government  Great job.  Bright future. VOCM’s disappeared the story but you can still find traces of it via google.

David Brazil won a by-election in Conception Bay East-Bell Island in December, and he feels the PC Party is well positioned. He says they have a good caucus ...

And now as his pal the transportation minister is cutting the service back, all Dave can do is smile and try to foist the blame on someone who had nothing to do with the decision. The best he could say is that the cuts were “unwelcome.”

Voters in Conception Bay East-Bell Island are discovering, likely much to their annoyance, that Dave is not their strong voice inside government.  Instead, he is yet another basenji, a dog that won’t bark.

Is there any reason to believe Vaughn Granter will do any better?  Not really.  There are plenty of decent people sitting on the Tory back benches but take all of them together, plus a buck and a half and you might get a decent cup of coffee somewhere.

Such is the fate of a backbencher in the current Tory administration.

Such will be Vaughn Granter’s fate if he’s elected.

Count on it.

Meanwhile, the people of the Straits-White Bay North voted against Danny Williams himself and look at what happened to them. Not only did they get a member of the legislature who kept the government under close and very public scrutiny, they also got a new health care centre that some would have had you believe would disappear unless there was another basenji sitting faithfully at the feet of Premier of the moment.

- srbp -