Monday, February 20, 2006

Lord Tanking

Remember when Bernard Lord was supposed to be the Conservative Party's saviour? Now he's in danger of becoming another has been who never was:

A bizarre case of alleged political blackmail has put the future of New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and his Conservative government in jeopardy.

Over the weekend, Mr. Lord went from having a majority government to a minority following the decision by Michael “Tanker” Malley to abandon the Tory backbenches and sit as an Independent.

With Mr. Lord's 27-member Tory caucus outnumbered by 26 Liberals and two Independents, the government could be defeated as early as April 7 with a non-confidence vote on the budget.


The Pemier alleges that Mr. Malley gave him a list of five demands he would have to satisfy if he wanted him to continue sitting as a Conservative.

Mr. Lord said Mr. Malley's demands included more money for his constituency office, more help for the Miramichi's troubled paper mill and the appointment of a female friend as his special assistant.

But Mr. Lord said the demand that bothered him most was the alleged insistence that he immediately appoint Fredericton lawyer Cleveland Allaby, a good friend of Mr. Malley's, as provincial court judge in the Miramichi.

Bernard Lord always looked better from afar than he did up close to the voters of New Brunswick who have actually seen him in action. On paper, the perfect leadership candidate: young, telegenic, bilingual, experienced.

In reality, as much a ditherer as Paul Martin with little to show for nearly seven years in office.

Now one of his own former backbenchers is about to finish him off.

A shame for Lord, but further proof that potential and reality so rarely meet in politics.

Source: Globe and Mail


Anonymous said...

Amen, but that 'dithers' could be mentioned about OTHER tory leaders as well. New Brunswick suffers from the same problems as the west and other parts of the east-too little representation.

Provincial leaders have ALWAYS looked better from afar. Certainly not ALL of it is the fault of the feds, but just look at the lastest buyout for ranchers with mad cows (who four short years ago proclaimed they never wanted anything to do with the feds). Just take a look at the wheat board. Suprisingly, that is being dismantled, and almost never is it mentioned in Saskatchewan that if they want to see an unregulated agricultural policy they need only look at New Brunswick's potato industry.

There, even when the US refused to buy potatoes for much the same reason as the mad cow fiasco, the feds were nowhere to be seen. Now, the number of farms in the province has dropped to 1500, down 35% since 1985.

Even Frank McKenna, whose emphasis on information technology had the cities in the province the first wired ones in the country, couldn't stop the bleeding that began in 1867. For the first time since confederation the population of the province is dropping.

Just a quick look at the economic stats of the province shows just how badly the province is. In fact you could easily make the equation with some third world countries. The capital city, with only 55,000 people, has more homeless per capita than Toronto.

Ironically, the Point Lepreau refit had the province anxious for private investment-but no companies would touch it!

However, with the speaker on his side I think it would take one more person to bring down the government, though I'm not sure.

Yet Mr. Lord's 'fall' began last election when he barely got over half the votes, 28 seats to 26. In fact, last year when some tories were absent the liberals almost brought an election, but the tories stalled the vote a day. The 'hot' election issue was the rapidly escalating call for public insurance due to massive increases in insurance costs, which Lord wouldn't even mention. THAT is when the 'fall of Lord' began.

As most know, however, Mr. Lord was brought in mostly because of a LACK of experience. People were so disgusted with politician's. However, it says a lot about our politics, when the only real qualifications a Premier has is that they are young, average looking, a good head of hair, and bilingual-and that's it!

macbeth said...

This is TERRIBLE news.
As much as I am not a big Bernard Lord fan, Shawn Graham is an idiot and incapable of running the province. The Liberals need to have a leadership convention, now!

Anonymous said...

That's the saddest thing about New Brunswick. An idiot in charge,and an idiot in opposition. And the NDP nonexistent. Trouble is, who is there in the province that ISN"T an idiot? Kelly Lamrock? Hardly.

Alan said...

How is the non-existence of the NDP relevant? Do you think the addition of another idiot to the mix would help?

"Trouble is, who is there in the province that ISN"T an idiot?"

Well...I'm not. Of course I'm not running for office.


PGP said...

They do say that you get the kind of government that you deserve!

Now I don't know many folks from NB but the ones I do know all left the province to get away from what they describe as a culture of stupidity.

Sounds to me like the representative government has that tradition nailed!

Anonymous said...

It's not a culture of stupidity, it's a culture of Irving. They're the ones who truly run New Brunswick; the government just does the stuff the Irvings won't/can't. Toss in official bilingualism and an Acadian populace that's never truly satisfied with the way things are done and you've got a recipe for a province that eternally treads water, doing the bidding of its corporate masters, instead of ever really going forward.