Somewhere Sir Charles Dalton is spinning in his grave at the news stories being published in The Guardian these days about his beloved Conservative party.
Early in the 19th century, Sir Charles — who was well-heeled courtesy of the lucrative silver fox industry —wanted to start a newspaper with a decidedly Tory bent. After all, the Liberals of the day had their paper, The Patriot, so why shouldn’t the Tories?
But instead of starting a new paper, Sir Charles was persuaded to purchase an existing one: The Guardian. It is safe to say that for a number of years, The Guardian walked a rigid Tory path.
But even Sir Charles’ newspaper would have trouble ignoring some of the shenanigans going on in federal and provincial circles these days.
Some of the events support the old saying that the truth is stranger than fiction. Another more modern phrase is one that was directed at former national Conservative leader, and briefly prime minister, Joe Clark. It was said that he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
A review of recent political news reveals a string of bad news for the Tories and a free ride for the governing P.E.I. Liberals since no one can take their eyes off the Conservatives.
We had, until a few days ago, a provincial party leader who had clearly lost the support of her party and Islanders in general. The circumstances that led to that may not have been entirely Olive Crane’s fault, but politics is about power, not popularity, and she lost the power struggle, plain and simple.
This has happened to many politicians. Ask John Turner, Joe Clark, Paul Martin, Wayne Carew; it’s a long list.
Rather than take the high road on her way out the door, Crane mucked up what little unity there was in the party by claiming the Opposition leader’s role. Everyone apart from The Wizard of Oz’s Straw Man realized that would be problematic for the incoming interim party leader.
Then, after stepping down as Opposition leader, Crane is widely suspected of orchestrating an MLA caucus vote to install an ally, Hal Perry, as Opposition leader. So now the Island PCs have two leaders: Perry and interim party leader Steven Myers.
Again, the Straw Man is the only one who doesn’t see a problem with that.
Then it was the turn of federal Conservatives to grab the spotlight.
Senator Mike Duffy became the butt of political jokes when it was revealed he isn’t a full-time resident of P.E.I. in spite of his well-documented protestations to the contrary.
NDP MP Charlie Angus said Duffy and Anne of Green Gables have something in common; they are both fictional P.E.I. characters. The CBC’s Rex Murphy also mocked the P.E.I. senator on The National Thursday night.
Add to the public ridicule the embarrassing TV footage that showed Duffy trying to sneak away from reporters in Halifax by going through a restaurant kitchen.
Outside of the fact many Islanders fundamentally feel that a person who doesn’t live here should not represent them, the issue of his residency wouldn’t be as big an issue if Duffy hadn’t claimed thousands of dollars from the public purse for having to maintain a residence in Ottawa when he is ‘away’ from P.E.I.
It looks like a double whammy by the senator. First, he insults our intelligence and then he assaults our pocketbook.
Then on Wednesday night, P.E.I.’s representative in the federal cabinet, Gail Shea, bolted from her seat in the House of Commons just as MPs were about to vote on an NDP motion to reverse Conservative changes to the EI program. It was an extremely partisan motion but it seems Shea didn’t like the optics of having to support the unpopular EI changes.
All of which leaves me in search of a Ouija Board or a medium. I need to get in touch with Sir Charles.
I would plead with him that The Guardian, while much changed from his ownership days, has not turned into a Liberal news organ. If he disagreed I’d challenge him to tell me how he could sugar-coat what has been happening with Conservatives on the provincial and federal levels.