Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday October 9, 1997
Retiring New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna will be missed. He was a formidable presence in the premier’s office and at the first minister’s conference table. The fact that his absence from the Canadian political arena may only be temporary is a good thing.
He leaves his province a better place in many ways than when he took office a decade ago. He was a tireless champion of New Brunswick; his efforts are in no small part responsible for the measurable improvement in the province’s moribund economy. Yet, New Brunswick’s unemployment rate remains a depressing 12.5 per cent and its economy still too dependent on the volatile natural resources sector. The fact that New Brunswick remains an economic have-not member of the Confederation doesn’t diminish McKenna’s laudable efforts through the years.
McKenna is the first to insist he’s through with politics, at least in a formal way. Maybe, but it’s a safe bet that his earnest, understated statesmanship makes him an appealing commodity, particularly to a certain national party of the centre that is in the market for leadership candidates.
Regardless of his political affiliation in the future, McKenna is sure to play a role in the ongoing unity melodrama, like Alberta’s Peter Lougheed and others have done. The fact that he cares deeply about a united Canada means he will answer the federalist call when it comes, and will continue to be a passionate, pragmatic fighter in the battle against separatism. (Hamilton Spectator Editorial, A12, 10/9/1997)