As we wrap up one of the most predictable provincial elections in Newfoundland history, I share with you some election-night commentary from my 93-year-old Aunt Gertie.
“Even if I was well enough to get out and vote, I wouldn’t vote, I’m that pissed off with the lot of them. They’re nothing but a bunch of shysters.”
I am not quite such a cynic about the political process … yet. Give me another 50 years and see what I have to say.
Unlike Aunt Gertie, I did get out and vote today, and urged my students to do so — many of them have just turned 18 and I made a point of telling them to get out and exercise that franchise. But I do find traces of Aunt Gertie’s cynicism in my own response to the election results.
Back in my own first election, twenty-some-odd years ago, I voted Conservative (for John Crosbie!). That was the last time I ever put my X next to a PC candidate. I doubt I’ll ever vote Conservative again, but in spite of that I don’t think Danny Williams is a bad premier. He’s done some good things for the province and I’m sure he’ll do more, and I wasn’t sorry to see his inevitable victory tonight. But I dislike landslide victories, I hate huge majorities, and I despise our Newfoundland habit of voting not for leaders but for Messiahs. We herald every new premier as the promised deliverer who will lead us out of the wilderness and not one has delivered yet. I have no reason to suspect Danny will be any different.
As much as I believe in anything these days I believe in a strong opposition. I’m sorry the Liberals were reduced to three seats out of 48, and I’m much sorrier that the NDP only has one seat and no official party status (I usually vote NDP and I’m a fan of Lorraine Michaels, although in this election the sheer apathy of the NDP candidate in my district alienated me and I was forced to vote Liberal). I’d like to see a more balanced House of Assembly to keep the Williams government from becoming cocky and overconfident. But that doesn’t look like it’ll happen anytime soon.
I must admit though, that one of my biggest disappointments was the timing of the election. A Tuesday night? So election coverage pre-empts both The Tudors and House on my local stations? You call that government by the people?? I think not.