Help wanted

Bob Wakeham
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.


The Weekend Telegram



One (1) Leader

We, the once proud Liberal Party, Joey’s Crowd, now the third place also-rans, are in desperate need of a fall guy (or girl) to absorb a pasting this fall (no pun intended; humour hasn’t been our strong point over the years, although we have become a bit of a laughing stock).

This job opening occurred as a result of the announcement by Ms. Yvonne Jones that her health, life and family were much more important than politics, that her immune system was a more critical priority than battling Kathy Dunderdale and Lorraine Michael in October. Ms. Jones is being justifiably praised for her courage.

Meanwhile, though, we have an important slot to fill. We weren’t sure about Ms. Jones’ future until we heard David Cochrane tell us on CBC. Then we knew it must be true since the province realizes nothing is official until Mr. Cochrane says it is so. (Mr. Cochrane managed to squeeze his scoop in between the 22nd and 23rd weather hit of that night’s “Here and Now,” just after an exclusive story of  dog run over on Freshwater Road by a paving steamroller. Natalie Kalata, one of CBC’s junior cheerleaders, excitedly told us that when the distraught driver arrived with the flattened animal at its owner’s home, the woman logically suggested: “just shove Tippy under the door.”)

In any case, now all of Newfoundland and Labrador knows we have a void.

Starting salary for this job is well in excess of $100,000 with an assortment of benefits and perks that would make the upper crust proud. We don’t like to advertise the fact that the Opposition leader makes the same salary as cabinet ministers. But there you have it. The job pays well. The successful candidate, though, must have a wide range of attributes:

• He/she must be able to tear the bejesus out of the government 24/7, with no exceptions. If the Tories say they’ll provide a $1 million grant for crippled youngsters in the province, the leader must feel comfortable saying it should have been more and that it’s probably children with a PC affiliation who’ll get the lion’s share of the money.

• He/she must keep insisting that Muskrat Falls stinks to the high heaven. Even if the leader believes the project might have some merits, those thoughts have to be buried.

• He/she has to blame government for the crappy summer on the Avalon. 

• He/she must be able to discover new nicknames for the premier: Funderdale. Duncerdale. Flubberdale.

• He/she, during the election campaign, must be able to hold a plastic, phoney smile for 15 straight hours, every day.

• He/she, no matter what they’ve been given to eat on the election trail — a burnt flipper, a dried-up touton, an undercooked cod tongue — must tell the cook, a voter, that it’s the most delicious thing ever to appear on a plate, that Karl Wells would be jumping up and down with pleasure. Lying is part of the campaign.

• He/she must never use politically incorrect language. For instance, never say the government is “crazy” if it thinks Newfoundlanders would believe this or that policy announcement. Crazy has been recently declared out of bounds. So’s “loon.”

• He/she must be able to recognize and exploit motherhood issues; agree, for example, that smoking can only take place after you’ve been taken by float plane into a wilderness area and left on your own. Then you can light your fag, but only if there are no caribou, moose or rabbit nearby (always conveniently ignore the fact that Liberal and PC governments have made a fortune over the past 60 years on the cancer sticks).

• Suck up to the media. Avoid editorial meetings with Russell Wangersky and his crowd (they might ask tough questions), and do not go one on one with the likes of John Furlong (he might be too saucy). But never, ever say no to VOCM or NTV.     

We can’t play favourites in this ad, for obvious reasons. This race has to be wide open and transparent (a word everybody and their dogs seems to be using these days). 

But here’s our take on some of the names being bandied about:

• Dean MacDonald: it’s too early for the coronation, Dean. Talk to Danny about the timing.

• Randy Simms: we like you better in your commentary role, Randy. The journalistic bosses seem oblivious to the conflict of interest. And it’s to our benefit.   

• Chuck Furey. You’re yesterday’s hero, Chuck. Sit back and enjoy your winnings.

• Brad Cabana. Now, we actually haven’t heard his name mentioned. But you know he must be going through ego withdrawal after grabbing that 15 minutes of fame a while back (it was that time when the province held its breath as its saviour descended into what turned out to be puck-you heaven). Cabana thinks he’s God’s gift to Newfoundland. He left in diapers, and came back decades later to save us. This leadership race needs comic relief.  

• Top of the party’s wish list? Russell Crowe. He’s everybody’s “mate.” We’ll waive resident and citizen qualifications. Crowe could campaign in his “Gladiator” outfit and suffer the slings and arrows of Newfoundland politics. If not Russell, then perhaps his buddy, Alan Doyle, might have an interest. Of course, Doyle speaks in a most unpretentious manner — whatever is inside that skull is coming out, unfiltered — and that wouldn’t make him a very successful politician. Or maybe the other musketeer of last week, Allan Hawco, has a hankering for our job, although he’d be hard-pressed to take potshots at the government, having gotten some sizeable grants for his “Republic of Doyle” show.

Some final points: this job is wide open to any and all peoples, without prejudice — men, women, heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, make-believe Newfs, professional Newfs, mainlanders, Yanks, Newfs with a John Efford accent, Newfs with a John Murphy accent, aboriginals and wannabe aboriginals. 

And, of course, masochists.


Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at

Organizations: CBC, Liberal Party

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Freshwater Road

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • W BAgg
    August 13, 2011 - 15:52

    I love this article................

  • Eli
    August 13, 2011 - 08:42

    Dennis O'Keefe must be having jealousy pangs not being linked to Efford's accent.

  • Kasco
    August 13, 2011 - 08:01

    Bob I can't say that this is one of your best for I hope your best is yet to come. For shear enjoyment this has been a great read. A great philosopher once said: "Remember, I'am pulling for you,we're all in this together!