Plenty to talk about

Bob
Bob Wakeham
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So much to write about, such limited space in which to go there.
I've never tired of firing fastballs at the heads of prominent oinkers who've sloshed their way into that Ottawa trough of snooze called the Senate (those two balcony characters from "The Muppets" could liven up that place).
Fabian Manning, in particular, has left himself wide open to editorial assaults from the likes of me since squeezing his senate seat to his behind. Now, though, he's hinting he may attempt another shot at being dutifully elected, as opposed to accepting an enormous salary based entirely on a despised patronage system.
It's a tough call, as Manning admitted himself, especially when he can make buckets of money well into his Rip Van Winkle years, and then enjoy a delightful pension plan most Newfoundlanders can only dream about. I hope he does the honourable thing and runs in the next election, and tries to regain his credibility as a politician. If he does run, I'll lay off him for a while (I'm sure he's worried sick). If not, he's fair game.

Mill grab
Government's expropriation of the timber and water rights owned by AbitibiBowater was, in my estimation, a principled and proper route to go, despite the legal implications.
But how were those of us who applauded Danny Williams' bold move to know the administration would make an incredible balls of the process and accidentally, and unbelievably, include the mill itself in the process? We now own a mill, a mill we didn't want or need. Even Joey would gag. It's hard to fathom, these shocking revelations of the mismanagement of the expropriation process. I have this continuing vision of high-ranking government officials playing with Dinky Toys and a Newfoundland Monopoly board as they declare: "OK, b'ys, what the hell? Let's throw the mill into the mix." The premier says he can "live with it." I think he should find it downright embarrassing.
And heads should have rolled.

Nasty jab
Just about everything's fair in politics. But I'll still join in the chorus of boos that continue to rain down on Williams after his mean-spirited, tongue-lashing of NDP Leader Lorraine Michael. There's a lot of play-acting in the house, but the premier wasn't just doing Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"; he meant every word, and it wasn't one of his finer moments.
It was also another example of a condescending attitude he takes towards Michael.
And now to something totally different, an editorial version of "reverse skating please," to quote the stadium announcer in Gander when I was a youngster.

Nifty player, nice man
I'm going to take unashamed personal advantage of this Saturday sermon to congratulate St. John's native Colin Greening on his first ever professional contract, a deal with the Ottawa Senators.
When Colin's father, Fred, and I worked closely together at "Here and Now," Fred would talk (brag a little, and who wouldn't?) about the starring exploits of his son who was already causing heads to turn at a very early age here.
So there was something delightful, perhaps a little surreal, about seeing Colin being interviewed on the 2010 version of that same "Here and Now" this past week.
Colin had a remarkable career at the prestigious Cornell University, academically and athletically, and, according to articles sent to me by his father, was constantly offering his free time to community endeavours on and near the campus in upstate New York.
Fred has told me that Colin had never let his hockey prowess go to his head, and has always maintained a modest, low-key personality; a "real nice man," as he put
it. (When Colin was quite
young, before bulking up, he was being knocked around constantly because of his scoring touch, and I once asked Fred, only half jokingly, whether he wanted me to teach Colin how to win a hockey fight. Fred's reply, complete with a broad smile, was: "I don't want you teaching my kid anything, Wakeham.")
It's always a source of pride whenever a Newfoundlander has a shot at the pros, but even more so when it's someone with whom you have a passing association, and know to be a decent, unpretentious man.

Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by e-mail at bwakeham@nl.rogers.com.

Organizations: Newfoundland Monopoly board, Ottawa Senators, Cornell University Fred's

Geographic location: Ottawa, Gander, St. John's New York Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Tony
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Poor Abitibi, 100 yrs in OUR Province and never turned a profit for their shareholders, not once!!! You know - shareholders - the poor people in business, who can't afford a loss on investment and who change supermarkets if the price of a loaf of bread goes up . The Nfld forestry workers of Grand falls/Windsor were the men and women who put the Yankee gas into the tanks of the expensive cars of the shareholders and what happens when the product takes a downturn ? --- Layoff those same individuals or make them take a wage cut or just plain shutter down and look for another area to exploit, to bring in the shareholders more profit. The message Williams has sent is ---- Bring your business to our Province but don't forget -- our workers create your wealth ,so treat them fairly or deal with this Provincial Government. Imagine the profits shipped out of this Province by Abitibi for the past 100 yrs and who -- had to step up to the plate -- for serverence pay, after they pulled out???? The Don's of the world are always interested in the poor business community and the negative message he thinks this Gov. is sending . This expropriation sends a bad message to the wealth generators and corporations of the world Guess what Don, most hard working Newfoundlanders are sick and tired of the so called wealth generators who rape and run. Those days are over my friend!!

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Principled and proper route to go. I can't agree with Bob Wakeham on that one. The expropriation of the Abitibi mill, water rights and timber rights was an asset and land grab pure and simple. We just haven't found out yet who will benefit from that asset and land grab. It appears that NALCOR was a beneficiary of the water rights and electrical generator grab. Who are the forest producers who will get chunks of Abitibi timber lands to harvest? Who else will get a piece of the pie at taxpayer expense? I expect that Abitibi will fight this expropriation tooth and nail and will be generously compensated in the end. This expropriation sends a bad message to the wealth generators and corporations of the world which is simply put: Come to Newfoundland and invest your time, your effort and your money in buildings and land, create jobs and wealth for a hundred years and the Government will thank you by taking it all away from you. I suspect there won't be any line up of corporations wanting to come to Newfoundland to invest once that nasty message gets around in the real world! If corporations wanted that sort of Government for a partner, they would deal with Castro and Chavez. It seems certain now in the circles of the corporate and banking world that the message has been sent that Danny Chavez rules and if you come to Newfoundland to invest you do it at your peril!

  • Tony
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Poor Abitibi, 100 yrs in OUR Province and never turned a profit for their shareholders, not once!!! You know - shareholders - the poor people in business, who can't afford a loss on investment and who change supermarkets if the price of a loaf of bread goes up . The Nfld forestry workers of Grand falls/Windsor were the men and women who put the Yankee gas into the tanks of the expensive cars of the shareholders and what happens when the product takes a downturn ? --- Layoff those same individuals or make them take a wage cut or just plain shutter down and look for another area to exploit, to bring in the shareholders more profit. The message Williams has sent is ---- Bring your business to our Province but don't forget -- our workers create your wealth ,so treat them fairly or deal with this Provincial Government. Imagine the profits shipped out of this Province by Abitibi for the past 100 yrs and who -- had to step up to the plate -- for serverence pay, after they pulled out???? The Don's of the world are always interested in the poor business community and the negative message he thinks this Gov. is sending . This expropriation sends a bad message to the wealth generators and corporations of the world Guess what Don, most hard working Newfoundlanders are sick and tired of the so called wealth generators who rape and run. Those days are over my friend!!

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Principled and proper route to go. I can't agree with Bob Wakeham on that one. The expropriation of the Abitibi mill, water rights and timber rights was an asset and land grab pure and simple. We just haven't found out yet who will benefit from that asset and land grab. It appears that NALCOR was a beneficiary of the water rights and electrical generator grab. Who are the forest producers who will get chunks of Abitibi timber lands to harvest? Who else will get a piece of the pie at taxpayer expense? I expect that Abitibi will fight this expropriation tooth and nail and will be generously compensated in the end. This expropriation sends a bad message to the wealth generators and corporations of the world which is simply put: Come to Newfoundland and invest your time, your effort and your money in buildings and land, create jobs and wealth for a hundred years and the Government will thank you by taking it all away from you. I suspect there won't be any line up of corporations wanting to come to Newfoundland to invest once that nasty message gets around in the real world! If corporations wanted that sort of Government for a partner, they would deal with Castro and Chavez. It seems certain now in the circles of the corporate and banking world that the message has been sent that Danny Chavez rules and if you come to Newfoundland to invest you do it at your peril!