Today, The Manatee continues a new advice column feature where ordinary New Brunswickers can ask the candidates for the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative leadership for advice on everyday problems. The questions will be posed to all candidates, and each will have an opportunity to respond.
Dear PC leadership candidates:
I signed up for a “Best banana bread” contest at the Westmorland County Fair. I’ve been around this contest for a long time so I know how it goes. It’s also fair to say that I knew the rules when I signed up too. It’s me against 5 or 6 other people. But, now I’m not so sure the rules are most advantageous to me, and I want the fair president to change them. Do you think I’m in the right, and how should I go about changing them?
Signed, Confused and Frustrated
Blaine Higgs: First and foremost, never admit that you were wrong. Take me, for example. Just because our last government was tossed out on its butt doesn’t mean New Brunswickers disagreed with my financial plan and methods. People love financial accountability, and measurable results really get my juices flowing — if you know what I mean. I’ve got a 468 point plan for spending controls that starts with reusing coffee filters and ends with privatizing every hospital with an “o” in its name.
Brian MacDonald: I think there are things that every county fair does well, and that’s what we should build upon. For example, our last government did just about everything right, but there are some things that obviously could have been done better — not that I can think of any right now. Actually, if I had to redo the Alward government years all over again, I would do everything exactly the same. Except for the stuff people didn’t like that led us to losing the election of course… whatever those things were. Once I find out what those things are, I promise I will not do them.
Jake Stewart: Thank you so much for asking me. When you’re a backbencher like I was in the Alward government, I was frustrated that I always sat in the corner hoping someone would listen to me. I used to tell people all the time that what we were doing wasn’t working. No seriously, I did. I said it every single day. Really. Ask anybody. But did they listen to me? Noooo. It was always all about Marsha. Marsha Marsha Marsha!
Mel Norton: The underlying theme of the banana bread contest rules should be getting the best ideas from everyone — it’s about unity. So, you need to talk with everyone and get their ideas, and then do all of the good ones, and none of the bad ones. If two people hold completely different ideas on the same thing, and they both believe that theirs is the best idea, then you throw a smoke bomb on the floor and BAM — hightail it for the nearest exit! Always know where the nearest exit is in every situation.
Mike Allen: After hanging out with Stephen Harper for almost 10 years, I can tell you for sure that the backbencher’s main job is to talk to people in the riding on the telephone and await instructions from the prime minister’s office. What’s this have to do with banana bread contests in Petitcodiac? Nothing. Not a goddamned thing. Banana bread is stupid and your question is stupid. Man, do I ever miss Ottawa.
Monica Barley: Let’s not be fooled into thinking experience equals leadership skills, and nobody knows that better than me. For example, the first rule of leadership is finding out which way the wind is blowing, and then say that’s what you think too. Find out if most people also think the contest rules should be changed, and if they do, that’s what you think too. If you get challenged, don’t tell them what you think — just explain it away by saying that’s what the majority wanted. To be a good leader, you must first become a good follower.
Jean Dubé: Me? Don’t worry about what I think. In this leadership race, I’m here for a good time, not a long time.