Last week a poll showed Premier Kathy Dunderdale and her ruling PC government are continuing to lose support of voters.
The premier’s approval rating has been on a downward glide since taking office but she says she isn’t concerned and won’t be changing her style of governing.
Dunderdale says sometimes unpopular decisions have to be made by the people who are in charge and she won’t be ruled by poll results. That’s one way for the premier to look at the change in her political fortune but she may also be missing the point. She just has to look back at her predecessor for a lesson in keeping public support while making tough choices.
Then-premier Danny Williams, like Dunderdale, came into office under difficult financial circumstances.
In fact, among his first action as premier was to start cutting and slashing government spending to cut the growing debt.
No one was happy about the actions taken, but Williams carefully and clearly explained the problem to the taxpayers of the province. After some initial grumbling about lost services and higher fees, taxpayers sucked it up and got behind Williams’ plan to bring the province back from the brink — or so he claimed.
Premier Dunderdale doesn’t seem to have the knack for rallying the province behind her plans — most notably the Lower Churchill hydro project.
The provincial government has been trying to sell the value of the project for years and still the general public hasn’t totally bought into the billion-dollar project.
The premier may not rule by poll results but she should at least understand she has to do more to prove to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians she has the province on the right track.