Monday, 30 May 2016

Pants on Fire

Pants on Fire

By: Ryan Young

The good people of Newfoundland & Labrador expect a certain level of arrogance and dishonesty from our elected officials. We have become quite accustomed to politicians telling half-truths and in some cases flat-out lies. It has almost become an expected practice, as evidenced by the 55% voter turnout rate last fall. Most times when we hear our politicians lie, we don’t bat an eyelash. The situation we saw unfolding in the House of Assembly last week, however, is not your average fib. It is not one of those white lies that you can write off and sweep under the rug. The revelations coming to light this week are no less than an out and out betrayal of the people at the hands of the premier.

By now, the timeline leading up to Ed Martin’s departure and receiving a hefty $1.4 Million severance package has become common knowledge for most engaged residents of the province. Everyone knew that the whole thing stank, but nobody was overly surprised. The sense of entitlement that Jerry Dean spoke about not so long ago is very real. Mr. Dean just neglected to mention that it does not exist with the average person, but rather the politicians and folks like Ed Martin and Gilbert Bennett who have mastered the art of suckling the government teat without giving back anything meaningful in return. With so many cuts and so much pain in this year’s budget, the whole situation has just left a bad taste in our collective mouths.

As if it wasn’t all too much to take already, then we had the bombshell revelation by David Vardy via Uncle Gnarley, that there was actually no provision in Mr. Martin’s contract for providing him with a severance package since he had resigned instead of being dismissed. Next came the bombshell from the premier while under fire during question period in the House of Assembly that the Board of Directors at Nalcor had actually rejected Mr. Martin’s resignation and chose instead to terminate his contract without cause, making him entitled to his hefty severance plus bonuses. Then they promptly resigned en-masse in order to protect themselves from future scrutiny.

The timeline of what the premier knew and when he knew it is sketchy at best. Dwight Ball promised that when the Department of Justice & Public Safety finished their review that all of the information would be made public. I won’t even get into the merits of the useless review by DPS, but we learned yesterday that the premier has called in the Auditor General to investigate, which is what should have been done back on May 5th or 6th, whenever Ball claims he became aware of the situation.  Now that Terry Paddon has been called in, will the premier release the findings of the DPS review and will he tell us what he knew and when?

CBC reports that according to a statement, the Department of Justice decided that an independent agency needed to conduct an investigation for a "fulsome determination of the issues" to be provided about the ongoing controversy. "Based on this opinion and the public interest I have decided to refer this matter to the Auditor General for an independent review," Ball said in the statement.

Ball and his staff have completely bungled this whole situation. The right and sensible thing to do would have been to be open an honest with the people (as a certain campaign promised) right from the start, instead of trying to cover up the information and lying straight to our faces. Would the premier have made the information regarding the severance public if David Vardy and Des Sullivan had not brought the story to light? I would say doubtful, and that is being generous. He had every opportunity to take the high road and come clean with the public, but instead he decided to hide facts and lie which speaks very much to his character and ability as a premier. The ease with which Dwight Ball can look you in the eye and tell an outright lie may be a quality that has served politicians well in the past, but in the words of one of my favorite British super groups, “We won’t be fooled again.”

At this point it is becoming abundantly clear that Dwight Ball’s premiership is on the ropes. Cathy Bennett and Co. and already lining up and sharpening the knives and it is only a matter of time before the party completely loses confidence in the premier. For Dwight to step aside now and trigger an election within a year would be political suicide for the Liberals, but how long can he hold on when he flat out refuses to be honest with the people? At this point I don’t think there is anything the Liberals can do to win back the trust of the people. That their government will be a one-termer is a given, but how long that term lasts is still to be determined. As long as Dwight Ball’s pants are on fire, it is getting shorter by the day.


  1. My first time reading your blog via Uncle Gnarley.....I'm sharing in the hope that more will follow your "words of common sense"! Thank you.......

  2. Thank you very much Kathleen. We try to tell it like it is around here. No spin, just the way it is. And always wonderful to get a new reader via Uncle Gnarley. If I can be half the commentator that he is I will be satisfied!