Cry me a river, Frank Coleman

Bob
Bob Wakeham
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Frank Coleman should grab an empty salt meat bucket from one of his grocery stores and start carrying it around his neck to collect all those forlorn, woe-is-me torrential tears that have been pouring down his cheeks the past couple of weeks.

The bucket around the neck doesn’t conjure up much of an attractive, leader-like image, I’ll grant you that — more like something out of the Three Stooges, with Coleman a Curly Joe imitator, but the fact is the premier-in-waiting isn’t acting very statesmanlike anyway with all his moaning and groaning as he awaits his July coronation.

What a whiner this fella is turning out to be, bitching endlessly and naively about the kind of attention he and his family are receiving, an examination he believes to be extraordinary when, in fact, it is quite normal treatment paid to any individual on the cusp of becoming the chief of governance of Newfoundland (or, for that matter, the head of government of any jurisdiction in the country; this ain’t peculiar to this neck of the woods).

Coleman, with all of his pity-pot routines of recent weeks, and his charge of being unfairly attacked, seems to be on the verge of duplicating the howls of that female figure skater of a couple of decades ago whose chief competitor hired a thug to smash her in the knee with a bat. Not a highly amusing incident for her, to be sure, but the reaction of the pretty little delicate ice queen became a source of comedic routines ever since.

Who can forget that pathetic screech? Whhhyyyyyy?!

I can’t help it, but after listening to sob-boy Coleman bemoaning his fish bowl existence, I have a kinda twisted image of the soon-to-be premier standing in front of his mirror, or sitting at the supper table at a Coleman gathering, screaming to the top of his lungs, Whhhyyyyyy?!

Well, guess what, Frank? You brought this on yourself. The unwashed out there didn’t knock down your door begging you to run for the premier’s job. You decided on that move yourself.

Or someone talked you into it, perhaps Danny Williams; thus the label you might carry for eternity: Danny’s Boy.

In any case, it was Coleman himself who made the ultimate call; it was Coleman who made the decision that opened his personal and business life to scrutiny.

As I noted in an earlier column, a point that bears repeating — given Coleman’s complaint that he and his family are being treated unfairly — did the premier-to-be honestly believe that being an active member of the Right to Life Association wouldn’t produce questions about his views on abortion, and about the impact those views might have on the legal access women have to abortion in Newfoundland, and how he might handle future requests for money from, say, Planned Parenthood?

Or did he really believe it was unfair that Newfoundlanders be reminded that an organization of which he is a proud member considers many of the same people he is seeking to govern to be murderers, killers of the “unborn”?

Any journalist who didn’t ask the abortion question of Coleman should have been tarred and feathered, and assigned for the rest of his or her career to cover nothing but rotting whales on Newfoundland beaches being sold on eBay.

Worse still, they should have been assigned to cover the $500-a-plate dinner put off last week by the Liberals, with that scintillating and charismatic orator Dwight Ball delivering the after-supper treat.

Reporting on road

Coleman also seems to believe it was unfair that reporters began asking questions about transactions between the provincial government and a paving company he had sold just prior to announcing his quest for the Tory leadership.

Is he actually that innocent and naive that he would think there wouldn’t be a few heads turning, more than a few justifiable questions being asked, when his son and Transportation Minister Nick Mc­Grath, in a one-on-one conversation, decided there was no need for the company to pay a $19-million penalty for non-completion of a contract?

Really?

There’s not a newsroom anywhere in the free world, not a journalism school worth its reputation, that would not have deemed such a matter worthy of investigation and persistent questions.

And that’s not to conclude in some sort of definitive way that there’s been impropriety here. But there’s enough smoke to suggest a possibility of fire and, therefore, a matter begging for questions and answers.  

Even if Coleman hadn’t decided he wanted to be premier, and his company had been forgiven a $19-million write-off, there should have been a slew of questions being asked.

Throw into the mix the fact that the former owner of the company being given a break is going to be the new Tory premier — well, Frank, need we say more?

Coleman and his son and Mc­Grath may all emerge from this controversy smelling like roses. Who knows?

But it’s the Newfoundland public who’ll decide on the aroma. And it can only make that determination if the entire matter is scrutinized. That’s the way the system works.

And if you don’t like that system, Frank, if you abhor what’s been happening in your life in recent weeks, you’ve definitely made the mistake of your existence in deciding to become a politician.

And if this is not your bag, Frank, you might want to do yourself a favour, and return to laying asphalt and selling carrots.

Just a bit of unsolicited advice for your consideration.

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: Tory, Life Association, EBay

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • baywop
    June 16, 2014 - 12:18

    I have no political preferences but whether Mr. Wakeham is a successful, experienced journalist or not, I found his article to be plain nasty.

  • NL Gal
    June 02, 2014 - 08:23

    I'm not a Coleman supporter, but I'm also not anti Coleman; however. I don't think Mr. Coleman has been whining at all. I think this article is rubbish. Out of this entire situation though, I get actual heart palpitations when I think that we can/will have a premier who has never been voted in by anybody, ever. It's a scary thought. When this happens in other countries we put sanctions on them and threaten them.

  • carogers
    May 21, 2014 - 09:06

    thank you for writing this. I have not been impressed with Mr. Coleman. First I knew nothing about him and he choose not to address the people after becoming leader of his party. Then when our media tried to do their job and ask questions he found that offensive. How is he going to manage when he attends federal meetings and the mainland media ask questions? I didn't even know there was a Mr. Coleman, just thought Coleman's was the name of a grocery store like Sobeys. Turned out the man is a big fish in a small town called Corner Brook. And if it was not for journalist like yourself, who are simply doing their job, I would know nothing of his questionable business deals or his position on female rights. Thank you again for a job well done.

  • We are seeking politicians whose priority are to build a vibrant economy for our province and its people first and foremost!
    May 20, 2014 - 12:47

    I heard Mr. Coleman being interviewed last week by one of the province's media. He made a statement that his first priority was that he wanted to build up his party, the PC Party. It shocked me that his first priority was not to build his and our province's economy, the very economy that eluded us for the past 65 years because we had politicians who were more mindful of building their own personal economies from the coveted natural resources of our province, which they then trade-off in the Raw State for other provinces and parts of the World to grow vibrant economies. Any politician we have governing this province in the future must focus on building a vibrant economy for our province from our own coveted resources and getting our fair share of what Ottawa doles out that have augmented the other provinces economies but have eluded us. It will take forever for our province and its people to catch up in equality with the rest of Canada, compliments of our past politicians. And the politicians must be satisfied with the salary they are receiving to govern our province without dipping into our resources for themselves.

  • Not surprised
    May 18, 2014 - 17:13

    Another garbage article by a garbage "journalist". Next!

    • carogers
      May 21, 2014 - 09:21

      WHAT! A garbage journalist who happens to have a 30-year successful career.??? If it wasn't for journalist your Mr. Coleman would be still under the impression he could pull the wool over the eyes of residents outside Corner Brook. No one outside that small town even knew he existed, until recently. Never mind professional journalist if he bothers to come into the city to actually speak, I have a few questions for him myself. Glad you included "Next" because there will be plenty of journalist asking questions from this day forward until he retires. Reality check! The man freely walked into PUBLIC LIFE.

  • JMAP
    May 18, 2014 - 10:13

    Superbly written article, Mr. Wakeham, I agree with every word. Its about time someone put it to him. Its not too late for him to exit (hoping). If more Journalists stopped playing nice and could even think along those lines, what a better place this would be.

  • Harvey
    May 18, 2014 - 09:32

    Presently, I am not an enthusiastic Coleman fan. The main reason being because I know very little about him. But one thing I do know is that he doesn't ,right now, deserve the spew of journalistic(??) bile written here. Mr. Coleman has offered himself to the office of Premier for our province. Can't we ,at least, allow him to be elected and given a chance to see what he has to offer? This is a pit bull attack unwarranted by a so-called journalist. I believe that today's media....and we need fair media...is preventing good , qualified people from entering leadership positions. Oh, I know ...someone is going to say, What about freedom of speech? Well, what about the abuse of freedom of speech? Wakeham could have made his point without the use of bullying bile.

  • Harvey
    May 18, 2014 - 09:29

    Presently, I am not an enthusiastic Coleman fan. The main reason being because I know very little about him. But one thing I do know is that he doesn't ,right now, deserve the spew of journalistic(??) bile written here. Mr. Coleman has offered himself to the office of Premier for our province. Can't we ,at least, allow him to be elected and given a chance to see what he has to offer? This is a pit bull attack unwarranted by a so-called journalist. I believe that today's media....and we need fair media...is preventing good , qualified people from entering leadership positions. Oh, I know ...someone is going to say, What about freedom of speech? Well, what about the abuse of freedom of speech? Wakeham could have made his point without the use of bullying bile.

  • Joebennett
    May 18, 2014 - 08:05

    Now, that's laying it on the table.

  • Edwin Charles
    May 17, 2014 - 16:13

    Not one minister or back bencher in the pc govt came forward to run for the leader of his party!! Did they all feel incompetent for the position, or were they all too aware that they had reached their level of incompetence?? Instead, they went and found a dead horse, giddy -up Frankie. Maybe I should not be soooo harsh on them , since zombies maybe do ride dead horses.