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PAM FRAMPTON: Newfoundland and Labrador — help wanted

Premier Dwight Ball released a video statement Monday afternoon announcing his decision to leave politics. Ball said he’ll stay on as premier and head of the Liberal party until such time s the party chooses his successor. He's expected to speak to the media about his decision Tuesday morning. — Video screengrab
Premier Dwight Ball released a video statement Monday evening announcing his decision to leave politics. — Video screengrab

Maybe soon there’ll be a job posting on Workopolis or Career Beacon or in The Telegram’s Weekend Careers section:

DESPERATELY SEEKING: New premier material. Salary: $160,525 plus car allowance, great benefits program and lucrative pension.

Qualifications: Demonstrated ability to balance shoestring budgets and prudently manage public resources. Ability to not only commission consultant/expert reports, but also to read, comprehend and remember them.

Perseverance. Tenacity. Ability to answer questions as asked, fully and honestly. Ability to withstand political and industry peer pressure. Willingness to abolish patronage and nepotism from the public service and adopt on-merits-only hiring standards. Inability to dodge responsibility, to posture, deflect and spin or to look the other way in the face of political wrongdoing.

Willingness to work collaboratively with opposition parties for the greater good. An ability to hear and consider good ideas that might come from unexpected quarters, including the opposite side of the House.

Diplomacy skills. Adept at forging fruitful relationships with federal counterparts. Kow-towing a no-no, but so too is the spiteful throwing down of gauntlets and the reckless ripping down of flags.

Disinterest in legacy a plus. No simmering anti-Quebec sentiment, please.

Qualifications: Demonstrated ability to balance shoestring budgets and prudently manage public resources. Ability to not only commission consultant/expert reports, but also to read, comprehend and remember them.

More interest in public good than political longevity. Honest desire to help most vulnerable rise above poverty with dignity. Truth and reconciliation vs. message track and patronization. Dedicated to wage equity; equal opportunity. No particular desire to glad-hand, pork-barrel, speak out of both corners of one’s mouth, kiss babies at random.

Be able to avoid the temptation of media-dodging clichés in order to avoid scrutiny and transparency: “the premier is travelling and cannot be reached for comment” or “sorry, that was a transitory record so there’s no documentation.”

Note-taking ability a must, plus an insistence that detailed and legible minutes be kept at all government and Crown corporation meetings.

Ability to view media as a means of conveying vital information to citizenry rather than as public enemy No. 1, or as merely a conduit for delivering deceptively crafted or politically timed messages.

Keen ability to distinguish between actual crisis and non-crisis.

No particular fondness for megaprojects, the cultivation of Cucumis sativus, nor for making public appearances harbourside with diminutive members of the flatfish family.

No immediate burning desire to spend more time with family.

Having an ego that can fit through a standard doorframe would be considered an asset.


Premier Dwight Ball delivered his swan song this week in a staged seven-minute-47-second video in which he praised his own accomplishments (some of them still works in progress) and mused about the pleasures of private life.

The next day, he gave one-on-one interviews with reporters during which he pondered his legacy.

He wants to be remembered as “someone who didn’t back down,” he said, perhaps missing the irony of saying that just as he was, in fact, backing down from the considerable challenges that lay before him as premier: high unemployment, flailing economy, crushing debt, shrinking population, political pressures from within his own party.

But then, Ball will never be remembered for his ability to gauge a situation.

He didn’t seem to get the very real anger and resentment simmering among people who recently sat through nearly a year of Muskrat Falls public inquiry hearings — a stunning recital of arrogance during which we were subjected to politician after politician after public servant claiming no responsibility for a project that has left us billions of dollars in debt.

Nor did he show any awareness of how, in the face of all that entitlement, waste and irresponsibility, the public might not take kindly to politically loyal public servants being rewarded with lavish contracts or key positions with upscaled salaries and no job competitions.

Perhaps all this just goes to show that Dwight Ball’s true legacy is not the one he has fashioned for himself. Instead, he may well be forever known as the premier who would regularly wet his finger to test the wind and still be completely oblivious as to which way it was blowing.

Pam Frampton is The Telegram’s managing editor. Email Twitter: pam_frampton


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