You’re the ex-leader of your political party and you’re at a youth soccer game at about 3:50 p.m. on a Friday when your cellphone rings.
Olive, this is Steve, you know, Steven Myers, the leader of the party you used to lead.
Well, um, I hate to do this over the phone, but, well, you’re kicked out of the caucus.
Why? Olive Crane manages.
It’s just not working with you here. Oh, and have a nice day. Click.
Really? This is the way a political party — struggling to find a leader to guide it into the next provincial election in about two years — does business?
True, the Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I. has some real-life experience with the I’m-just-not-that-into-you school of dumping someone.
After all, this is the group that one day earlier had been forced to stand by and watch as a positively gleeful Liberal party surrounded Tory MLA Hal Perry as he stood in front of a microphone and announced he was switching sides. He was doing the unthinkable so he could lead the fight against punitive changes to the employment insurance program, Perry said.
“As an MLA, I hear very real concerns from constituents who feel they are being unfairly penalized by a federal government that has turned their back on them,” he explained, choking back tears.
“As a member of the community I completely agree with their concerns. However, there is a genuine reluctance from the senior members of the Island Conservative party to address these issues and these concerns head on and in a constructive manner.”
I’m just not that into you anymore. See you later. Oh, and have a nice day.
So, of course, what do you do the next day when you’re down to four MLAs in the house? You put the boots to your ex-leader, by phone, late on a Friday afternoon. And then you explain you had no choice. She wasn’t playing nice. She kept, you know, saying stuff.
“We had agreed as a caucus about how we would deal with Hal’s defection,” Myers said. “To have somebody go off on their own and do a private interview…we can’t have stuff like that as a party that is trying to rebuild.”
I get it. Besides, she kept making those wild accusations about the backroom being out to get her. Has been ever since she won the leadership fair and square.
You just can’t have MLAs running around — talking. Not if you want to convince the voters of P.E.I. that you’re the government-in-waiting and people should dump the Liberals in favour of you.
That’s some expert political calculation. Must be new math. But then, Tories have been making plenty of headlines with their curious command of numbers in the past few days.
Just ask Island Senator Mike Duffy. Actually, he may soon be the unpaid Island senator. His Senate colleagues are so embarrassed by his wonky command of his federally funded chequebook that they want to suspend him without pay.
The latest? It seems The Duff dropped about $65,000 on a guy to do some consulting work for him over a four-year period, says RCMP Cpl. Greg Horton, the guy looking into the senator’s spending habits.
The money went to a friend, former TV technician Gerald Donahue, for speech writing, some advice on web page design and development, and something called media consulting. But, Donahue told police he didn’t do any writing and never worked on the website.
Duffy must have borrowed a calculator from the provincial Tories when he was working on his numbers.
Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.