It is no secret that I am a Liberal and I think you can infer from my writings that, though no one is perfect, I think Shawn Graham is doing a pretty good job as Premier of this province. However, no democracy can function well and no government can remain on track without a strong opposition holding their feet to the fire.
Despite having one one of the largest oppositions possible, with an opposition caucus full of people who are only months removed from having been ministers of the crown, drawn from an opposition party that actually won the popular vote 10 months ago I believe we have less effective opposition to government than from 1988-1991 when the Liberals sat in a legislature full of Liberals.
The summer is here and the ever-so-effective "leader" of the opposition previously decreed that a leadership race could begin now. The House adjourned Friday, and the Tories have gone 72 hours too long without starting their well overdue leadership campaign. As I predicted, Volpé has been a complete disaster as leader.
Whether you like the Liberals or not, I think we can all agree they are getting a free ride from the opposition.
And what of the other parties? The once proud NDP, after having its worst showing in over three decades, has been without a leader for longer than the Tories and has not convened a leadership race. History will remind us that Elizabeth Weir became the effective opposition voice she was not so much because she was effective, but because she was the only voice when the Tories were leaderless and had no seats in the late 1980s. The NDP could be making up a lot of the ground they lost last year by being a sensible and strong opposition to the Liberals. Instead, they join the Tories in the leadership vacuum and the opposition is silent.
The Greens announced in the fall with a fair bit of fanfare (well media attention anyway) that they would start a party. With the other two registered parties going nowhere fast, they could have pulled themselves together, recruiting the 10 people spread across 10 ridings the need to register, nominated a respectable person such as David Coons or some professor as their leader and filled in while this vacuum (which will surely, hopefully go away) still exists. In the meantime, their counterparts in PEI made Canadian history by surpassing the NDP and taking third place in the recent election there. Obviously there is some room for the Green Party to make an impact of some kind.
COME ON PEOPLE! For the sake of democracy, please, won't some party or some group somewhere stand up and be an effective alternative voice? Our system needs it.