Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Former" N.B. Tory Sets Bad Precedent

Michael Malley's decision to quit the Tories and sit as an independent in New Brunswick's legislature looks more opportunism than conviction:
Michael (Tanker) Malley has gone from disgruntled backbench MLA to potential kingmaker...

Chisholm Pothier, Lord's press secretary, said putting together a cabinet in New Brunswick is a delicate balancing act.

There are gender, language and geography issues to be taken into consideration, he said.

"I can understand Mr. Malley's disappointment," said Pothier on Friday night, adding other MLAs were also unhappy they didn't ascend to cabinet.

"Everybody who gets into this business eventually wants to make it into cabinet. But the reality is, not everyone can."

The arguments put forth by Malley are probably sincere, the Tory cabinet does lack regional balance. I also take Malley at his word that the Miramachi region has been neglected by the Lord government. However, despite these legitimate issues, I still think it a bad precedent to essentially say, "give me a cabinet post, or I'm out". Malley's move is the ultimate powerplay, he essentially holds the balance of power.

I don't think anyone's interests are served when politicians use strong arm tactics to promote their personal agenda. Malley should have stayed in caucus and continued to argue his case from within. It is Lord's decision to pick his cabinet. The fact that Malley was left out, despite the regional need, may say more about Malley's shortcomings, than it does blatant neglect. Lord's criteria may simply have been a question of competence, period. The voters can decide how too interpret Lord's decision, but Malley was elected as a Conservative and should remain one.

Switching parties and becoming an independent strike me as the same scenario. Malley should offer to run in a by-election to allow voters the opportunity to pass judgment on his decision. Apparently, Malley is set to met with the Premier to discuss the regional snub, which could possibly conclude with his re-entry into the Tory stable. If this scenario happens, it will serve as further proof of opportunistic politics.

The fact that Malley is a Tory shouldn't make his decision anymore attractive to progressives. Emerson had his "reasons", which his apologists speak too. Malley has his "reasons", which I won't support just because the political implications favor my personal preference. I think Malley sets a bad precedent, the timing stinks of cynical calculation.


PoliticsNB said...

Hey Steve
While some of what you post is no doubt true, the bottom line is, Bernard Lord has consistently ignored the Miramichi in his cabinet since he won power. While some of this is no doubt sour grapes on Tanker’s part, as I posted on my own blog, there is a definite tendency by Lord & company to ignore the Miramichi area. Is it a power play on Malley’s part??? Yeah sure (But that’s politics isn’t it??) But my bet is Tanker will not only become a Liberal before long, but will be re-elected in this riding because of his stand. Meanwhile, the Lord government is gasping it's last desperate breaths in N.B. I think.

Self preservation is the true nature of politics. Tanker was elected as a “man of the people.” More than under a tory banner. Maybe you have to actually spend some time in the Miramichi to understand this completely. The truth is the “people” in this riding normally don’t vote conservative anyway. This is definitely a Liberal riding, and I expect them to follow Tanker wherever he winds up at this point.

Bernard lord has made few friends here in New Brunswick. He’s not the only Conservative MLA rumored to be thinking of greener pastures. Just the only one to so far actually migrate to that pasture.

There have been many rumors of disaffection with the governing Tory party here in N.B. This may not be an isolated case. It will be interesting to see if Lord can hold the rest of his caucus together, or whether this is a harbinger of things to come.

All just my opinion of course.

By the way…….great blog………I'm adding it to my links right now!!


Steve V said...


You brought up a good point about Malley leaving the Tories as a matter of political survival. As you pointed out, Miramichi is a potential Liberal pickup next election, so Malley may be positioning himself to hold his seat. That point also supports my "opportunism" theory, as do these comments from the Premier:

"Lord said Saturday he could have kept Malley on the government side if he had acquiesced to a series of demands the fiery Miramichi member made after he was once again left out of cabinet in the latest shuffle.

Lord said Malley asked him for several political favours for himself, his friends and the Miramichi region.

The premier said the demands were out of line, adding he's not shedding any tears at Malley's departure from the government backbenches.

"As much as I want to govern with a majority, I will not do it at the expense of my integrity or the integrity of our caucus and government," Lord said at a hastily called news conference.

"At a time when there is public cynicism with regard to public institutions, it is essential for those who are elected to public life to remind ourselves that we are here to serve others - not ourselves or our friends."

I guess it all boils down to "that's politics isn't it", as you said. Thanks for educating me on the nuances of the issue.

PoliticsNB said...

All I’m going to say with respect to Mr. Lord’s statement is, be wary of the spin. Spin happens on both sides and My rule is, try and look somewhere in the middle for the truth. No doubt Tanker is adding some of his own spin as well.

Somewhere in those murky waters between Malley's statement and Lord's is the truth. Honestly the only decision to be made is which way you lean.....

That's my take.......the truth in politics at any level IMO. Every side has's up to the voter to dig into it and figure out where the most truth lies.( No pun intended!)

Either way I think Bernard Lord’s conservatives are going to be in for serious problems.

Tanker Malley is the PEOPLE’S candidate in the Miramichi. Lord would have been wise to remember that.

As to bringing Tanker back into the fold??? I don’t think that’s going to happen……Mr. Lord has spent the last few years painting himself into a corner here in New Brunswick. Getting out is going to be very tough. With or without this setback it was an uphill battle.

Lord should have spent less time trying to present a great candidate for the federal conservatives and more time on the home front. With a less than stellar opposition leader here, he missed his chance big time. I think he’s going to pay that price in the near future.

Anonymous said...

"As much as I want to govern with a majority, I will not do it at the expense of my integrity or the integrity of our caucus and government,"

I will be blunt. Lord has no integerity. I will take Tanker's word over Lord's word anytime knowing fully that Tanker is doing this for self-preservation. Yet Tanker has more integrity.

Lord has repeatedly lied on numerous issues. Some is public knowledge and some is not.

Lord also behaved as if he has divine right to govern. He played that song too long. Now it is time to pay the piper.

I agree with PNB that current Opposition leader is weak and Lord is losing out to him then he is not much of a leader. Having said that Shawn Graham is not charismatic but he does have integerity comapared to scrupleless Lord.

Another point. Lord was so busy to show that he had got what it takes to be a federal leader. He spent all his energies on that. Examples: inviting national and international players to Larry's Gulch at taxpayers's expense. Visit France to meet with Jacque Chirac and trying to prove that he is an international personality. All those were lousy moves and of course waste of taxpayers' money.

His time has come. Say bye bye Bernie.

Good site you have.

Steve V said...

I don't mean to be a Lord apologist in my postings. I only offered his quotes as food for thought- I don't doubt what you guys are saying. Thanks for the insights.

Anonymous said...

It is fully understood that you are not Lord's apologist.

Lord tried to fool people too long. First he created the perception that NBers love him. Not so. In 1999 people were a little tired of Liberals and their arrogance. Then of course he fooled us on highway toll issue.

More recently he tried to create another perception or myth that his caucus loves him. Now that is gone in a rather crude way. Story about Margaret Ann Blaney may come out too as to why she left the cabinet. May be she is not that impressed with Bernie and felt more comfortable being out of that cabinet if not party.

Writing is on the wall for Lord. Time to quit.

Anonymous said...

"Lord said Malley asked him for several political favours. They included the appointment of a friend as a judge and more money for his Miramichi constituency office.

The friend, Fredericton lawyer Cleveland Allaby, told CP: "This whole thing about a judicial appointment is bullshit.''CTV.

Lord is desperate. He is making accusation against Tanker Malley. That is not a smart mover. Then Lord was never a smart leader.

Anonymous said...

Typical of Bernard Lord. He demonizes those who disagree with him. He is doing the same to Tanker Malley.

Anonymous said...

Malley's first "public" appearance today was being spotted in a car with Allaby. Just old friends catching up, I'm sure......

Anonymous said...

Airing dirty laundry of Tories is another of major blunder of Lord. Then he is good at committing blunders.

Matthew Smith said...

Good work tanker. As a miramichier myself I love that your finally realizing that we are getting nothing. I come from bay du vin and we have got nothing since the lord government got into power not one thing. Mark my words when there is another election the liberals will hammer the conservatives. But tanker don't you worry im still going to vote for you.

Bay du viner said...

smith your so right i couldn't have said it better myself. Miramichi has got nothing since the conservatives have got in. In the next election down here in miramichi the liberals will run some old has been like frank trevors and the conservatives will do the same. Go tanker im pulling for ya.

Anonymous said...

Mathew Smith if it is any consolation to you then you should know that Lord has done nothing for anyone or any community other than Moncton and that is self-serving to keep on winning election there.

Everything Lord ever did was self-serve.

Anonymous said...

Now that Malley is the Speaker of the House what you folks thing. Lord is quite a manipulator.

Anonymous said...

Malley has been bought back. Lord is good at that kind of shoddy deals.