Political doings near and far

It doesn't just get an election to see politicians in full colour

Carolyn Grant

The local political scene will return to somewhat of a normal state after the drama (mainly on our Letters to the Editor pages) of the municipal election. And what a dramatic turn of events it was as voters opted for the new. All in for Cranbrook with an entirely new Mayor and councillors and partially new in Kimberley with a new Mayor and two new councillors.

We wish Mayor-Elect Lee Pratt and the Council in Cranbrook and Mayor-Elect Don McCormick and his Council in Kimberley the best of luck as they navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of local governance.

And while we were somewhat obsessed with local goings on, politics across the land continued apace.

There were some surprises as well, and as always interesting tidbits across the country.

In PEI no one saw the resignation of popular Liberal Premier Robert Ghiz coming. Eight years a Premier of Canada’s smallest province, the 40-year old Ghiz informed his Caucus colleagues he was resigning just moments before he formally did so. And all across the land of the bright red mud the collective reaction was.. “Wha..?”

What would make a politician at the top of his game suddenly resign? The cynic in me will always look for scandal. But in the ensuing days, no skeleton has leapt from Ghiz’s closet. He appears to be a stand-up guy. Now one thing Ghiz said in his speech was that though he did not have any intention of running federally, he did not rule it out. Duh, duh, duh! Could Ghiz be thinking of hitching his wagon to the Trudeau train? A federal election looms in 2015, the Liberals continue to do fairly well in the polls, though as we know that can all shift in a moment’s notice. But, Ghiz could very well parlay his solid term as Premier into a seat in Ottawa. We will continue to check to see if the PEI potato is sprouting. I’ll keep you informed.

And here’s an interesting snippet from Newfoundland that may send chills down the spines of city councillors who may wish to swim against the tide.

Mary Gary Gosine on Bell Island is trying to oust two councillors, whose behaviour he says is harassing in nature and interfering with the normal operations of the community. The Mayor told CBC News, “‘These two don’t want to vote on anything. Not even on an agenda. That’s not good enough for the town. We have two people on council that feels everything has to be their way.”

It has created enough of a fuss that the province has stepped in to investigate. And last month, the RCMP had to be called in to a bargaining session between the town and the union when two councillors got into an argument over the negotiations. We shall hope the rock doesn’t devolve into the government style of another island, Taiwan, where flying fists in the legislature barely raise an eyebrow.

Meanwhile in Quebec the Charbonneau commission concluded its two and a half year investigation into corruption in the construction industry. Apparently, “Charbonneau uncovered collusion, kickbacks, illegal campaign financing, organized crime infiltrating construction”. Oy. The corruption has cost two mayors their jobs and left a rather bad taste in the mouths of taxpayers. Charbonneau promised on Twitter that ‘together, collectively we will build an ethical corruption-free and collusion-free society”. That’s a tall order. Let’s all watch while they do that.

And Manitoba has gone through an upheaval of its own. Premier Greg Selinger withstood a rebellion by five prominent cabinet ministers, who called for his resignation. The ministers (now former ministers as the Premier accepted all their resignations) said that the boss man was not listening to their concerns/advice and they couldn’t continue on. The Premier promptly replaced them. The press is calling them “The Gang of Five”. Ooh, how very chilling. And when I say chilling in Manitoba, you know I mean it. The jury is out on whether Selinger survives.

Look at that, I couldn’t even get half way across the country in 600 words. And people say politics are boring.

Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin

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