Liberals’ recruitment strategy is, well, liberal

Bob Wakeham
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As all rational-thinking, objective observers have concluded by now, the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador seems to have an all-embracing, wide-open-door policy as it reels in defectors from both sides of the ideological pond.

In fact, the criteria for caucus membership laid out by the Grits — if there’s been criteria at all — have been loosey-goosey as Paul, Christopher, Tommy and Dale, The Traitors Four, sought their way into the confines of the institution first headed by the Confederation stooge for Canadians and Brits, Joey Smallwood himself. (If you believe Bill Rowe’s latest gossipy book on Newfoundland politics, Joey was inebriated most of the time he was handling party and government business; now his old party appears drunk with ambition as it adopts a policy of haulin’ ’em in hand over fist, filling that caucus basket with anybody gobbling down the bait of government power).  

And Dwight Ball’s theme song could be the rollicking rock tune that plays during the memorable torture scene in that provocative and tremendous Quentin Tarantino movie, “Reservoir Dogs” (one of my all-time favourite flicks): “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

With turncoats arriving in the Liberal fold from the socialist and conservative camps, it’s becoming painfully obvious that political ideology is an old-fashioned, archaic notion, and drooling MHAs making a switch do so because they’re desperate to be on the winning side a year or so from now, their modus operandi characterized by opportunism and expediency — not surprising, of course, given the fact that they are, after all, politicians. 

As it turns out, my tremendous source, Harbour Deep Throat, has uncovered a secret document and had it slipped under my door in a red envelope full of ice and snow, but its contents are still legible. It gives a glimpse at the parameters Ball and company are using to determine who they might welcome to their growing band of caucus members.

And it actually contains the names of individuals the Liberals might be interested in approaching, and how their potential inclusion should be measured.


FROM: Dwight Ball

TO: Future ministers and backbenchers

RE: New caucus cousins

As we once again begin to glow after too many years in the darkness of opposition impotency, we’ve been deluged with overtures from impeccably principled individuals, like those stalwarts of democracy, Messrs Lane, Osborne, Mitchelmore and Kirby, deeply concerned citizens who wish to join our exalted party for no other reason than to contribute to the well-being of our beloved province.

The dedication to Newfoundland of the four newest members of our brilliant caucus makes me want to belt out the first and last stanzas of “The Ode” and cry a bucket of tears.

Lest, though, that you might think for even a second that we’re not particular about who we will accept into the caucus, I thought I’d share with you the names of some of the people we intend to contact about becoming proud Liberal MHAs.

For example, there’s a three-legged dog in Torbay we’ve contacted. My advisers and I think he might be interested in what he and his fellow canines refer to as the bow-wow parliament.

According to one source, the three-legged dog, who’s also deaf and blind and goes by the name of “Lucky,” says he’ll join the Liberals if we help him as he continues to search, in old-fashioned western fashion, “for the man who shot my Pa.”

I told him we’d do whatever we could to find the shooter, just as long as our three-legged friend hooks his leash onto our bandwagon and promises to use a scooper whenever he poops on the floor of the legislature. As he accurately pointed out to me, though, while sipping on a beer out of an empty (and clean) ashtray on the floor at Liddy’s Bar in Torbay: “It wouldn’t be the first load of crap to make an appearance in the House of Assembly.” Of course, he immediately stipulated that he was referring strictly to Tory and NDP crap.

Then there’s that fine Canadian actress, Pamela Anderson. Yes, I realize her Meryl Streep-like performing days are behind her, as fine as they were, but she still has certain attributes that might make caucus meetings more lively. And she says she loves my hair. And so what if she hates sealers? We can forgive and forget as we forge to power.

If Pam gives us the bum’s rush, we’re thinking about contacting Shannon Tweed, the Newfoundland native whose remarkable and moving, award-deserving performance on “Republic of Doyle” has revitalized her career.

And, yes, you may have heard we’re thinking about contacting Brad Cabana. Now don’t laugh — we’ll give him a shot. We’ll give anyone a shot. We might have to ask him to tone down that mainland twang of his, and I’m sure he’ll agree; after all, he’s desperate to win our hearts as he tries to improve the lot of all Newfoundlanders. He’s been a godsend since he parachuted into the province several years ago to help bring us out of the Dark Ages. His courtroom work on Muskrat Falls would have made Perry Mason proud.

What a coup for us if Brad were to become a member of the Liberal caucus. 

Now there’s another fella, whose real name I can’t reveal at this time (he goes by the handle “Jimmie the Nose”), who’s getting out of Dorchester Penitentiary pretty soon, and wants to join the caucus. He said he can help immensely with our fund-raising. His IQ is that of a turnip, but since when has that been a factor in our caucus recruitment?

We’ve also thought about approaching Darren Langdon. Remember him? He had an auspicious NHL career, mostly with the Rangers — scored a couple of goals that bounced off his jock and into the net and spent several months in the penalty box. Anyway, we need a bouncer, a goon, someone to intimidate those meek and mild NDPers, if they ever get out of hand.

Then there’s this intriguing mannequin in the window of a men’s shop downtown we find appealing. He always manages to look great, is impeccably dressed, but says very little of substance. Actually, he reminds me of myself. But there’s always room for two mannequins in the caucus.

We’re also thinking about contacting some of the girls applying for jobs at that soon-to-be-opened Hooters restaurant in St. John’s and seeing if they’re interested in joining our caucus. They’d make great cheerleaders on the floor of the legislature. I can hear them now: “TORY TWITS! TORY TIMES ARE HARD TIMES! TORY TWITS! TORY TIMES ARE HARD TIMES!” which, when you think about it, is the extent of the Liberal ideology, the entire Liberal platform.

And last, but not least, we’ll accept anybody with a pulse, with even the slightest of heartbeats. Come one, come all.

Yours in power and principle,


Bob Wakeham has spent more than 40 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at

Organizations: Tory, NDP, NHL Rangers

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Brits, Torbay

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Recent comments

  • GINN
    February 16, 2014 - 08:47

    I guess Scott, Randy (et al) wouldn't recognise an elephant if it knocked at their front door. Poor souls who can't enjoy a tongue-in-cheek piece of prose are obviously leading very closeted lives and probably followers of the "former bride of Christ"

  • Scott R
    February 15, 2014 - 18:11

    I don't know if Bob is on the bottle, But I think every Newfoundlanders and Labradorians must be , If they think Dwight Ball is a leader...LOL

  • Randy
    February 15, 2014 - 13:34

    I think Bob has finally lost it. Is he back on the bottle again?

  • GINN
    February 15, 2014 - 08:29

    As an old curmudgeon myself(you are the only truly neutral columnist at the Telegram), I greatly enjoy your writings as you pierce the pomposity of all our current politicos. Your wit and honesty is a tonic when compared to other mainly anti-tory or anti-other party columnists. No party or politician is safe from your barbs. That is how it should be, I guess you're not worried about pleasing or licking the brass' rear end of Transcontinental management. Carry on Bob, you are a main reason I purchase the Weekend Tely.

  • Ambrose
    February 15, 2014 - 08:00

    Ball no leader, but a follower. Like Judy Morrow said to Bill Rowe, we feel Dwight the man for the party, As you can see he no man for the people, if he feel he got to build the party this way, Back in July 2013, democracy die at the hands of the liberals party. When six people came forwards, for the liberal leadership race, five was aloud to run, But they said no to one man. From corner brook, But remember they had no problem with this man before, They said no to him because he had something to bring to table for the people. As of to date, ask yourself one question, What kind of leadership has Mr Ball shown? NOTHING, If he agree with the PC's party just to past over 110 million dollars to CBPP, without creation any new jobs in the plant or the forestry . That Ball leadership abilities, follower.

  • Crazy
    February 15, 2014 - 07:36

    Great article Bob, keep up the good work. Dwight and the Zebra party, will never get my vote, Liberal haven't got a clue what's taking place here in our great province, Only thing they talk about is Bill 29, Party of a single policy.

  • Jay
    February 15, 2014 - 07:28

    Bob, You forgot a whole group of people who Dwight Ball could be looking at, and they all work at the same place. They could be called the "Telegram Dunderdale (and Williams) haters." This group would be led, of course, by Mr. Wangersky, and followed by you, Pam Frampton, Brian Jones, and for some real comic relief he could recruit Michael Johansen to run in Labrador. This group would be perfect. You would fit into Ball's philosophy of "we don't need to be good, we're just not Tories." You'd all win seats in the next election, become Cabinet Ministers, and then actually have to do something. Uh Oh.