Dear Editor: Frank Coleman will be the next premier of NL. It only took Bill Barry’s exit from the PC leadership race to cement this fait accompli. Will Mr. Coleman now lead the PC Party to victory in a general election in 2015? The answer to that question is not as definitive as his becoming our province’s 12th premier. And if the results of The Star daily poll on April 17 are an accurate prediction of what is to come, Frank may not even win a seat in an anticipated summer byelection in Humber East. Full disclosure: I submitted that poll question to the editor because I wanted to gauge (on the heels of three byelection defeats for the Tories) what support there is for the PCs here in Corner Brook. The results of the non-scientific poll put the PCs at 20 per cent. (Liberal MHA Lisa Dempster stated April 11 that the Liberal party will contest the seat.) I had been asking myself: If Frank can’t win a seat, what does this mean to the PC party a year away from a general election?
That said, the same day the Star published the results of my polling question I listened to an interview conducted by the CBC with Dawn Chafe of Atlantic Business Magazine. Ms. Chafe interviewed Frank in 2010. That CBC interview left me with the mindset that if there is to be a fighting chance for the PCs, Frank might indeed be that chance. Yet, it is a huge ship to turn around and time is of the essence.
With very little time to prepare for combat against front runner Dwight Ball and the Liberal Party, if Coleman can strategically implement policies that will not only bear fruit in short order but also plant the seeds for other policies that will offer the potential for future growth, he may find some traction. There will also need to be an immediate buy-in from the public.
Questionable policies will be the death knell. Creative and inspiring ones with a razor focus and surgically implemented will be paramount (e.g. immediate elimination of payroll taxes).
If you look at the recipe of how this party has come to be in their present state (vis-a-vis popularity) a list of the key ingredients include: Bill 29 (access to information), Muskrat Falls, rolling winter black outs with Kathy Dunderdale’s handling of same and political staleness. (By political staleness I mean in the life of any party in power people just want a change.)
Dawn Chafe pointed out that her research never found a single person who had a bad relationship with Frank — either in business or family. That says a lot about his character. Couple that with his past success in business, his desire to motivate and assist people to see them succeed, his interest in his community, strong policy decisions and you have ingredients he will add that might very well bake better results than the aforementioned recipe that has landed the PCs in their quagmire.
On Good Friday, VOCM polling results showed that with Frank as leader 70 per cent of 1,400 respondents believe he can’t lead the PCs to victory. Across the province he is seen as an unknown entity with no political experience. It is indeed a gigantic task that awaits him.
Bernard Kenny, Corner Brook