Time for Coleman to come clean

Bob Wakeham
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By the time this Saturday sermon of mine is available for applause or boos, Frank Coleman may have already made a rare public appearance and answered more questions about his ultra-conservative views on the legal and democratic rights of Newfoundland women to have access to an abortion

In the meantime: hey, Frank, welcome to the fish bowl!

I don’t know Frank Coleman — who among the great unwashed really does? — but it’s hard to imagine he’s a dummy, a cement head. He must, after all, have more than a few neurons of intelligence to have become one of a small number of Newfoundlanders to make it into the category of the maggoty rich. So it’s impossible to believe he didn’t stop long enough during his inner debate about political aspirations to realize his personal views (on abortion, for immediate example) might conflict with the laws of the province, and that he would have an obligation to share with the public those opinions that would have remained private had he not ventured into the political arena.   

Or perhaps he’s a big fan of the Peter Sellers’ character, Chance the Gardener, from the brilliant satirical movie, “Being There,” a simple-minded soul who manages to travel the corridors of power and influence in the U.S. by doing nothing more than uttering inanities that are mistaken for profundity.

Chance is never asked for an explanation, never asked for elaboration; he’s just naively thought of as being pretty damn smart.  

Coleman, not Chance, hasn’t been required to explain very much of anything thus far, and has been allowed to bask in the unelected glory provided by his unofficial mentor, the god of the Tories, St. Daniel of Town, who removed the one and only other legitimate combatant from the battle for the PC throne. (Thus, the cry throughout the land: “Billy Barry, we hardly knew ye.”)

And judging by the way Coleman handled the fallout from the CBC video of his wife marching in last week’s anti-abortion rally in Corner Brook (kudos to the reporter who had the guts to confront Coleman’s wife with camera rolling during the rally), and the subsequent confirmation that the premier-in-waiting has participated in identical demonstrations with his family in the past, Coleman has an awful lot to learn about handling controversy.

The premier-in-the-wings issued a brief, shockingly inadequate explanation of his views on abortion (most such “prepared” statements are, as any half-arsed public relations flack could have explained to Coleman, invariably useless and even counter-productive, giving rise to more questions than they answer).

In any case, Coleman did attempt to say in that “statement” that he would not let his personal views affect the laws of Newfoundland; subsequently there were radio interviews in which he dodged and weaved throughout, sounding very unsure of himself and painfully awkward (reminded me of a premier with the initials K.D.)

Let’s get one thing straight: Frank Coleman’s constituents — and they will be his constituents soon — have every right to demand and expect a discourse on his philosophy of life, how he ticks, how he’s oiled, to help determine for themselves whether they’re comfortable with his entire makeup, and not just the way he might balance the Newfoundland budget. After all, he is asking to play a prominent and influential role in the lives of Newfoundlanders.

Why shouldn’t we have an opportunity to get to know him, warts and all?

There will certainly be no shortage of issues he’ll have to address in the next few months (perhaps years), but for now it’s the contentious and highly sensitive matter of abortion that’s first up on his docket.       

And Coleman should not be allowed to get away with merely declaring that he has no interest in curtailing funding for abortions in Newfoundland or limiting the access Newfoundland women have to abortions.

Is he, for instance, going to discontinue his participation in the Right to Life Easter march, an event that condemns as sinners anyone who believes a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion?

And most of those marchers, at least most I’ve heard or read about over the years, these philosophical allies of Coleman on the subject of abortion, equate support of pro-choice to support of “killers” and “murderers,” those who take the “life” of the “unborn.”   

Coleman can play the semantic game forever and a day, but he certainly can’t deny that a movement of which he is a proud and active member views pro-choice advocates — women and men — as morally bankrupt, as sinners, as dirt, as the scum of the earth.

You can just imagine what the anti-abortion campaigners, including Coleman and his wife, think of the Newfoundland women who’ve exercised their legal right to actually have an abortion. These same women whom Coleman wishes to represent have robbed the unborn of life, according to the followers of a cause in which he believes.  

That should not be forgotten on election day.

Again, welcome to the fish bowl, Frank.  

Can’t wait to hear whether your staunch Catholic belief system includes the church’s view that homosexuality is an abomination; a sin.

How about gay marriages?

Making any headway with the backstroke in the fish bowl, Frank?      

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

Organizations: CBC

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, U.S., Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Saint DAegobart of Tibbs defends the Phoenix
    April 27, 2014 - 23:55

    We have the queer opera billboard that Randy Simms claimed on CBC radio led the gay community to demand a pound of flesh. Hypebole. They just pffffted down, thats all. Now we have Wakeham,  like Simms filling us in on cagey late night abortion pillow talk, Bob has done one better - he has penetrated the intricate channels of the religious mind. Be careful in their Bob. This shaggy heterosexual? soapbox athiest? is providing you with the lexicon of press-approved predicate, pejorative and persecutive expressions and no insight save that a lab exercise of Martin Jay's critical theory could detect. The "philosophical allies" of Athiests...of Liberals, of NALCOR...of The fans of the traditional tune of Danny Boy, of any subsection will include extremists, who happily skew the public perception, if given an amplification by mainstream voice. My mandate is to provide literary napalm to burn off the verdancy of hyperbole grown out from any extreme camp. Prolife religion vs Prochoice science, the two least cost generation options, Heterosexual-approving God, or no God. We need to frame these debates beyond the two-state binary logic which shallow pundits impose on subtle, delicate social issues. Meanwhile, the carbon trading schemata justification of our 5Billion loan that buys us less than half a system and hurts a river&community is neglected in the manufactured distraction. God, and Bob Wakeham, are to be mocked, sure, what odds, freedom of arseholery, ra ra ra, but NLers, Newfoulabrians, hibernationalsinnewfiejonhians whatever in God and/or Bob's name you want to pin on yourselves for a star, unless, you come to a new understanding of politics, will indeed will be perennially unable to participate in direct democracy, to the decline of community. Mobs and gangs wilt and scurry under the UV light of strong community and self-determined champions. Only Pope Francis may bestow sainthood on Williams. Unless this is discordianism at work, Pope Bob? Daniel Celtic Tiger and the cult of the talking head? 40% of all humans who ever lived died before their 1st birthday. Bask in thermogenesis whynot, live, and let those who hyperbole for the locus of Ball control spin their tires., My sound endorsement of Frank Coleman as a financial expert on Muskrat Falls stands, (im on EI) don't dismiss him, or the opportunity to let the PCs manage their own Fallout. Ball Recieves power from a punt to prevent an in house scandal, is a liberal conservative mechanism....or maybe I am totally off base, off topic, off my head, but Gustave le Bon would probably say leave them in. My Propoganda tonight is as follows, and I quote, for Bob, under God, INRI Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Iudaeorvm Igne Natura Renovatur Integras They will come to know good.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 26, 2014 - 17:24

    Danny's by. The train wreck continues.

  • James MacDonald
    April 26, 2014 - 16:57

    How is this trash even published? What a pitiful and personal attack. Please, for the good of all readership, hold to a higher standard the "writers" you choose to publish.

    • roy206
      April 28, 2014 - 11:07

      damn good point.