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EDITORIAL: Did we lose our passion for local politics?


Donald Trump has declared another war on media. Inside the United States about 160 million people rejoice and call for the stoning pit and heavy rocks. The rest of world wonders aloud how it all came to be, and people figure by sharing memes and clever quotes things will change.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, brazen nepotism is again exposed by two provincial politicians in separate incidents. The media asks questions. Liberals and their supporters pretend it didn't happen and most of the province, well, would rather keep sharing the latest Donald Trump is the next Hitler meme.

When did apathy take over and the collective hearts of a province not feel a little rage about our elected leaders making inappropriate decisions?

Political patronage is a dirty and nauseating practice that is as old as the House of Assembly itself. It's also a major ethical breach and has about the same level of integrity as a phone scam.

There was a time though, in the not-too-distant past, that one of our esteemed political leaders was fighting this blight in judgment.

Take the proposed appointment to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board in March 2013 as an example. Who wouldn't want to throw their support behind the politician that uttered these words at the time: "When will skill and expertise trump patronage on the C-NLOPB? When will offshore safety and environmental protection finally take priority."

Also, on the same issue: "I urge you to finally appoint a board member with strong technical expertise instead of strong political connections."

In July 2015, over the appointment of a former leadership hopeful, we heard these similar words of strength from the same man: ..."This is clearly a political appointment that the premier is making..."

That's the kind of conviction the electorate can get behind. And it certainly did.

Those comments came from Dwight Ball.

Of course, he's the boss of Chris Mitchelmore, who is currently defending a patronage appointment of Judy Foote's daughter.

Of course, it's the same Dwight Ball who was Eddie Joyce's boss at the time he was out trying to get his buddy the management job in Service NL.

The two examples this week, unfortunately, diminish Ball's previous conviction to rhetoric only, and expose the hypocrisy of the decision-making.

In the districts of Joyce and Mitchelmore, unfortunately, these types of things cause little stir. They're seen by many as "looking out for their own" or "doing what's in the best interest of the province."

And that's just sad. Not only because these are abuses of the privilege we afford the elected are relatively unchecked, but mostly because the same people who let these things slide are the ones complaining of the "evil orange leader" south of the border.

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