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Thursday 14 July 2011

Have I lost My Mind?

For those who may not follow me on Twitter, or be friends with me on Facebook, you may not yet know, but I have announced my intention to seek the Liberal nomination for the District of Bonavista South. For some, that fact alone will be enough to confirm that Yes indeed, I have lost my mind.

After all politics as a profession can be a nasty and messy affair. The downfalls of a political life are well documented throughout all of history in every country and area where democracy exists. First off I get to say goodbye to being nameless and faceless and give up a certain portion of my privacy. There are the electorate, who can occasionally jump to conclusions faster then you can blink. There’s the party system that forces an Us vs Them scenario that is not always conducive to getting work done. I could be asked to “toe the line” on an issue that I happen to disagree with, but it might be in the best interest of the party to support. Then there’s the never-ending responsibility of being a decision maker, a mover and shaker, a person whose main accountability and responsibility will always be to others.

You might ask “Who would want such a crazy job”? I would.

I have been following the Current PC Government and their track record since a close friend was on strike, and then legislated back to work for less then the Williams Government was offering at the bargaining table. That was a bad sign and it hasn’t gotten any better since. The PC party has campaigned on issues of openness and transparency but has done everything in their power to stifle the very thing they campaigned for. Just ask any public servant, or any member of the media. This has been an incredibly secretive Government.

They have been a Government who has broken many simple promises they easily could have kept. Documents not released anywhere near the 30 days they once promised, legislation that has been passed but not proclaimed, and the House is sitting fewer and fewer days. How exactly is the business of Government supposed to get done when the decision making body doesn’t meet? Their current approach seems to be that of ignoring problem issues and hoping they go away. Issues like the fishery, rural NL, and municipal funding have been all but forgotten. Even if they once knew what they wanted to do they have since seriously lost their way.

I have spoken to folks who once supported this PC administration and even they admit that the time has come for a change. Even the PC Party must sense the change as every week another member announces that they will not be seeking re-election. Get while the getting’s good, as they say. The timing is certainly right for a positive change for my home District of Bonavista South. Roger Fitzgerald has been a successful member for the district for many years but he has now decided to move on and retire from political life. I have a great deal of respect for Roger, as do many in the District, but it is important to note that the respect people feel is for Roger, and not necessarily for the PC Party he just happened to be a member of. The District is now in need of a new person to pick up where Roger left off and I plan to be that person under the Liberal banner.

When I examine my working career over the past 10 years I see experience in the fields of education, environment, tourism, communications, community and municipal development, and government in general. If this were a job interview I would say that my entire career has prepared me for this job like no other. Having worked in various fields, including for the Provincial Government, I know people across many sectors including politicians and bureaucrats. And while I also know how the gears of Government work, it certainly expedites the process when you know who to talk to to make those gears move both faster, and easier.

I have had a keen interest in contributing to the decision making structure in this province for many years now. In part, that was one of the reasons I took a position with the Provincial Government when I was given the opportunity. I wanted to be part of the system that pioneered innovative solutions, and made a positive difference in the lives of people in NL. I think I did make some positive steps during my time as a civil servant, but I became painfully aware that without the political will the best of ideas can die in a heartbeat. It was during that time when I began to realize that if I wanted to make a real difference then I would have to become one of those decision makers to give the new ideas the political will they required. To put it bluntly, I want this job for what I consider to be all the right reasons.

So back to my original question: Have I lost my mind? Not at all.

In fact, I would argue that I’ve finally come to my senses!

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