27 March 2011

Williams knifes successor

The rift between Danny Williams and Kathy Dunderdale goes way beyond just a minor tiff.

Williams turned up at a book launch a couple of days after leaving the promise on a vacation.  Williams told reporters who showed up that Dunderdale and her crew are so concerned at distancing themselves from Williams that they won’t even let him have cabinet ministers’ cell phone numbers.

CBC quoted Williams:

"I think it's very clear that the premier and her staff have felt that it's appropriate to distance themself from me," he told reporters Sunday at an event to launch a photo book of his often combative life in politics.

"And if that's the case, so be it. That's her right as premier of the province," he said.

A couple of things stand out about this last twist in the tale.

First, it would be hard for Dunderdale’s staff  to control who has cell phone numbers. Certainly, her office could monitor calling patterns on government phones via the cell phone provider but there’s nothing to give the office control over private cell numbers.

Second, there’s the question of why Williams would want to have all the cabinet numbers.  Evidently he is interested in influencing cabinet deliberations.  In that context his comment about “her right” seems to be a little less than sincere.

Third, the fact Williams is openly discussing the rift is an obvious tactic to put Dunderdale under even greater pressure.  He knows that she holds office purely by someone else’s good will.  Dunderdale knows it and lots of others do, as well.  More than a few people will have noticed Kevin “Fairity” O’Brien in the CBC video of Williams at the airport a few days ago. 

Kevin’s a proud member of the Dan-Club for Men. Jerome’s another.  Ditto Tom Marshall.  While Kevin may not have much clout, Tom and Jerome do. 

Some Conservative loyalists, especially those who still believe in Williams’ invincibility and his infallibility, won’t take too kindly to Dunderdale now that Williams has criticised her. 

Fourth, you now have to wonder why he’s undermining his hand-picked successor so readily.  Williams told reporters the rift has nothing to do with Elizabeth Matthews and the botched offshore board appointment.


So if that isn’t it, what does Williams want so badly that he is willing to openly attack her less than a week before she formally takes over as Tory party leader?

Don’t guess relations with the federal Conservatives.  Those were already on the mend long before now. 

Something else is going on.

The challenge now is to figure out what Danny is playing at.

One thing is for sure, Kathy Dunderdale has an even bigger political problem inside her own administration than anyone thought, even as recently as Thursday last week.

- srbp -