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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Premier Danny Williams - Dictator or Hero?

Premier Danny Williams has taken a lot of heat on a number of contentious issues in our province these past two years. He has managed to raise the hackles of everyone from public sector workers and fishermen to ATV users, smokers and bar owners. His hard line approach on several issues has not gone over well with some to say the least. This writer has been one voice that has questioned his decisions on several occasions and will continue to do so, but that is where I draw the line.

Questioning a government’s decisions is one thing, but there are some who have resorted to personal attacks. Comments have been made to the effect that he is a dictator who’ll do whatever he wants, no matter the consequences. He’s been called everything from a Napoleon to a spoiled little rich kid. There have even been reports of physical threats on his person.

Although I have no problem taking any government to task on any issue, personal attacks, either verbal or physical, are taking the matter to a level we should never sink.

So, half way into the Government’s mandate, the question is: What does the general population really think of our provincial leadership?

The answer: Nobody seems to know.

Currently there appears to be two camps that change members on a moments notice. Simply put, one camp views the Premier’s, approach as a one man ego trip while the other sees it as an example good solid leadership.

It’s been said that there is one given in politics. If a government does anything, they are assured of pleasing some segments of the population and upsetting others. This would naturally mean that a government which doesn’t upset anyone isn’t doing anything.

Some may accuse the current government of a lot of things, but we can’t accuse them of doing nothing.

Whether you are a member of the “Dictator” or “Good Leader” camp, it’s a solid bet that you’ve wavered from time to time depending on the topic or day of the week. Most of us have. What does it say about our population that the minute the Williams government takes a direct and hard line approach within the province, the phone lines light up like a Christmas tree on the open line programs? At the same time, when they adopt the same approach outside the province they are heroes.

When Premier Williams stood his ground with the Federal Government during the Atlantic Accord negotiations, he was welcomed home with open arms.

On Monday of this week he met with oil industry executives in Nova Scotia. In his comments at that conference he made no bones about his intentions. This province wants better royalty regimes for oil, gas, minerals and even hydro power. In essence he said that the water of Churchill Falls could continue to run out to the sea and other resources could stay in the ground or under the ocean for the next 20,000 years if they had to. There haven’t been too many complaints from our residents over those statements.

Nobody should ever agree with everything a government does, including this government. In fact most people would agree that the Conservatives are making some serious mistakes along the way. These things are a given, but then again, what government doesn’t make mistakes? But when one takes a step back and rationally looks at the overall performance and the direction taken by the government so far, the scale appears to tip toward a leadership that has the best interests of the province at heart.

The quota sharing move is intended to stabilize the industry for fishers and plant worker alike. ATV legislation is intended to protect our children and anti-smoking laws are intended to protect the overall health of our people. Is the approach taken by government sound? Time will tell, but regardless of the outcome, or what the opposition parties might say, it is difficult to dispute the motives behind these moves.

It would do us all good to remember that this is a government led by someone who is not used to the, “watching the grass grow”, speed of government. Rather he is more used to acting as a CEO. Picture his cabinet as VP’s who provide information and advice, but ultimately it is the CEO who makes the tough decisions and makes them quickly before moving on to the next issue. This is a person with a business like proactive rather than reactive approach.

We should also remember that Premier Williams is leading a party that, until the last election, was sidelined by the Liberals for the best part of two decades. As a result, they are somewhat inexperienced.

The party is leading a province that has built up a massive and crippling per capita debt. They are dealing with the results of the less than stellar financial management regime left behind by the Liberal Party after so many years in office. All of this is happening at a time when the province is in a major state of flux. Not an enviable situation for anyone to be in.

The Conservative Government is only two years into a four year mandate. Who knows that the next two years may bring. When their mandate is up they will be judged on what they have done. At that time, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will decide their fate. In the mean time we may as well get used to the fact that, for good or bad, they are doing what they were elected to do, govern the province.

With these things in mind, it would be a good thing if everyone continued to speak out against policies and legislation they disagree with, gave the occasional pat on the back when pleased with a decision and fought along side the government when needed.

What people need to stop doing is making personal attacks on our leaders that only serve to muddy the issues, drive a wedge between us all and weaken us in the eyes of the rest of the country.

7 comments:

S.S. said...

Williams is going to run us all into the ground. He's killing us. Anyone who believes this man is working for the province is nuts.

If he has his way, the province will end a the overpass.

Mike said...

You know, I waiver from day to day on the premier's record and don't know if he will do a good job in the long run or not.

I sometimes think that in 10 years or so we might be better off with his approach even though there will be some pain along the way.

Regardless of that, I doubt the people will let him stay in office after the next election to find out.

There are a lot of people ticked off. Its almost sad that we might never find out if he could have made a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Anonymous said...

I vote Dictator!!!

MrChills said...

After 500 years of getting the shitty end of the stick, it’s about time that we got our share. Love him or hate him Danny Williams is doing a hell of a lot for our province and giving us a strong voice across the Nation.

No matter what side of the fence a leader is on they are never going to please everyone. But, I do have a lot of faith in Williams. He is running the province like a business which when it all boils down to it, that’s what it is.

Being away from Newfoundland for the past five years with plans to come home sometime in the future, I actually feel a little confident that the grass is going to be a little greener for me to come home because of Williams.

The problem with Newfoundlanders is that they expect results to happen overnight and they never look outside the box at the real issues. I hear everyone say that the current government is only looking out for St. John’s and that the outports are going to die. I would urge these people to think about it seriously for minute a hopefully they would realize that there is no point on putting lipstick on a pig. Outport Newfoundland survived for 500 years on A SIGNLE INDUSTRY that industry is gone and is not coming back, get over it! It’s time to look to the future, and if that future and focus is point more so into St. John’s than I am fine with that, it is better than no focus whatsoever.

Patriot said...

Interesting Comments Mr. Chills. This is a subject that might be debated for some time.

With your view of things, you should check out my article from last month - Fishing in the 21st Century, and keep the comments coming.

Mat said...

Not sure that I'm qualified to comment or not being am not from the rock.

You gotta love a guy that stands up for his principles but ya gotta hate him when stoops to childish stunts and senseless insult.

Pretty much puts all of us up for a bitta hate at one time or another! lol

I read a couple of other articles on the subject over here Canadian Issues

love and peace to all canadians

Rae said...

As an Albertan I know what its like to have a Premier who shoots his mouth off without putting his brain in gear.
Ralph was good at it, he knew like Danny knows that in order to build support you have to do the good guy, bad guy routine.
Danny is getting great milage out of using every opportunity to Harper bash.
He is even going so far as to go across Canada bad mouthing Mr Harper.
This may be in Danny's best interest but the good people of Newfoundland know it won't be in their's, nor Canada's.
At the end of the day the Federal Government carries a very big stick, and have very long memories.
I for one would like the truth, one of these two men are not telling the truth.
I would pay big money to see a televised debate.
I feel Danny is using the lets all hate Harper routine as a distraction.
He is distracting the people of Newfoundland from focusing on Newfoundland's day to day problems, that need addressing.
I would think there is a better use of Mr Williams time and Newfoundlanders tax money. than going across Canada on a negative publicity tour, that can and will do harm to the great respect Canadian's have for Newfoundland.
Danny has made his point very clear to all Canadian's, now suck it up, and move on.