19 September 2011

Dippers on point for first CBC political election panel #nlpoli

Give the new Democrats’ Dale Kirby full marks for nailing natural resources minister Shawn Skinner hard over the blatant abuse of taxpayers inherent in having two partisans step down from their cabinet appointments to work on the Tory campaign.

Kirby, Skinner and Liberal Barry Snow made up the partisan panel for David Cochrane’s election show On Point.

The pair – Ross Reid and Len Simms – will slide back into their six figure salaries without so much as a hiccup to their pensionable time. The practice of sticking partisan loyalists into cabinet appointments destroys the impartiality and professionalism of the public service.

Skinner flopped sadly by claiming the pair were following policy and Snow imploded by siding with Skinner over the gross abuse of public money.

That was Snow’s second goof inside 60 seconds.  He started by blithely dismissed talk of Danny Williams and the patronage scandal as nothing proper to talk about.  He missed the political angle that Kirby jumped on to stick the knife in either on the one patronage angle or the other.

Kirby sank the whole thing by challenging Skinner to commit that the two hacks wouldn’t get their plums back.

Snow dropped the ball again when Cochrane handed him an easy one about Navigant and Muskrat Falls.  People were hoping that at the end of day, Snow had something to say besides “at the end of the day.”

He didn’t.

Kirby jumped on the “shocking lack of transparency” from Nalcor. 

Skinner had some talking points to use in response but nothing new.

As a final question, Cochrane asked Snow how paying for the fishery restructuring given that the Liberals planned to cut gas tax as well.  Snow started with ‘at the end of the day” and pretty much blathered from there.

Kirby hammered the memorandum of understanding that remains sitting on a shelf. He didn’t give any Earth-shattering new commitments but Kirby delivered some quotable lines.

At the end of the day, the Liberals will need to do a lot better than this if they want to remain competitive. Give him some briefing notes an some basic coaching and Snow might recover.

The Tories are weak.  They are an easy mark for even a modestly prepared opponent.

NDP scored big on the panel because they were ready and political.

The only downside for the Dippers and the upside for the Grits and Tories is that the On Point audience was probably pretty small.

- srbp -