Lisa Hrabluk in her weekend column in the TJ serves up probably a very accurate picture of the political landscape in New Brunswick right now. The current Premier, in her words is perceived to be an ‘oafish bully’ that is “convinced he is destined for a third term as premier.”
Contrast that with Mr. Graham who is a guy that people “are beginning to feel sorry for”.
I have met Mr. Graham on one occasion a few years ago and found him to be fairly articulate and, it seemed, eager to hear what people had to say. He seems to love to talk with folks and get down and dirty shaking hands and kissing babies. Contrast that with Premier Lord who goes out of his way to avoid any direct contact with his adoring fans.
But my point is this, it is very hard to shake the image of ‘village idiot’ in politics. The media will dog you for it. If you say ten lucid things and one stupid one, the media will pounce on the one. If you make a funny look, it will make the papers. Just ask Daulton McGinty in Ontario. He was long considered the village idiot in that province. However, eventually, the gravelly voice of Ernie Eves became too much and Ontarions voted in ‘the other guy’.
And Daulton seems to be very serious about economic issues. He negotiated a $500 billion auto fund out of the Feds (and matched it himself) and has created thousands of new auto manufacturing jobs in just two years. He has set up four new international marketing centres in places like New Delhi and London to attract foriegn companies to Ontario. He has also spearheaded economic development initiatives for small businesses and for Northern Ontario.
So, for me, I’ll take the village idiot over the self-aggrandized statesman if it means lifting one little finger to fix our economic problems.
I’m just not sure that our village idiot is smart enough to follow Daulton’s lead.