Don’t underestimate Bernie

The TJ is reporting that Bernard Lord will co-chair the Conservative national campaign expected to be called on Sunday.

A lot of folks including some journalists told me after Bernie’s defeat that he was dead in the water. A defeated Premier with no track record of any success and no real skills. They suggested he would be put out to pasture running some small federal agency. After all, he was a national darling after his 2003 speech in Calgary but then became the national poster boy for the Equalization fight – asserting his ‘Constitutional Right’ to more Equalization in the national media on many occasions. One would assume that didn’t endear him to Harper’s gang.

But here we are. He ran the language commission and now will try to bolster the Tories in Atl. Canada as the co-chair of the national campaign.

You know I didn’t like Bernie’s economic development policy, his spending and big government tendencies and his infernal dithering but I did say all along and will say again that he is a charismatic guy. He’s is fluent in both languages and can make a good stump speech. He can grasp and summarize some pretty complex policy issues (I have see this). But he wasn’t much of a leader – in the sense of creating and imparting vision, making sometimes tough decisions (in a timely fashion) and, of course, taking any serious interest in the economic development of the province.

I know that he was hampered by the lack of quality in the Cabinet – this has been widely discussed – school bus drivers, tupperware salespersons, etc. but nevertheless the buck stops with the Premier.

But I wish him well. New Brunswick needs more influence at higher levels. That specific influence hasn’t gotten us much yet but maybe down the road it will.