Monday, January 12, 2009

St. John's municipal dancehall (2)

As part of a continuing series of pre-election Gower Street bunker silly season posts, we have another entry by Mayor "Doc" O'Keefe.

On January 10, with all the issues facing the people of St. John's, O'Keefe decided instead to complain about the lack of a visit by the federal Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff. This action raises all sorts of questions.

Is Mr. Ignatieff a government official with the power to decide federal policy with respect to this province and the capital city? As it turns out, no he's not; he's a mere leader of the Opposition. Just in case the self-described stunned Mayor O'Keefe might be a little shaky on the way the federal government operates, the government makes policy and the opposition critiques it. Yes, Mayor O'Keefe, this holds true even in a minority government; when a opposition starts creating and passing policy in the House of Commons, they are no longer the Opposition, they are the government.

Will this be the only cross-country tour that Mr. Ignatieff will be taking? Apparently no, this is just a starter tour in what is planned to be a series of tours in which St. john's will be included.

Is this just part of continuing effort by the mayor to ensure that Ottawa pays attention to the nation's easternmost capital city? No doubt Mayor O'Keefe might argue that. And he'd be right if it wasn't for the fact that his complaints to Ottawa in the past have been strangely focused on the Liberal Opposition rather than on the Conservative governing party. In the middle of the last federal election, the Mayor's public contribution was to kick the opposition when it was down in demanding that city residents deserved to know the cost of the Liberal's GreenShift plan. Oddly, he left the other parties off the hook.

In this latest media salvo, O'Keefe achieved his goal of political public pandering through media attention with the ancillary bonus of picking on federal Liberals and making points with his federal tory friends.

Nice work when you can get it. No doubt more naked media pandering awaits.

This is going to be a long year until the municipal election.

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