Fundraisers that drive you to drink

Brian Jones
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It’s fun finding money you forgot about. Usually it’s only $5 or $20 stuffed in a pocket, but imagine if you found a grand.

A wad of $100 bills in the toe of a shoe in the back of your closet, say, because reports of all those break-ins and robberies led you to be skeptical of the RNC’s regular pronouncements that the crime rate is declining.

You unroll the rediscovered trove and count it — $1,000!

Do you …

(a) put it toward your debts, like almost every lottery winner in history;

(b) take your wife/husband/etc. to the fanciest restaurant in town, just to see what it’s like to eat like Karl Wells;

(c) donate it to your favourite charity, whether or not it is being audited by the Canada Revenue Agency;

(d) attend a fundraiser for Steve Kent.

If you answered (d), you could do everyone else in Newfoundland (and Labrador) a civic service by explaining … why.

This has been a particularly bad year for the reigning Tories, and it keeps getting worse. It’s as if the PCs hired a consultant to come up with a plan that would guarantee their electoral thumping in 2015.

Recommendation No. 37: Get Steve Kent to hold a cocktail-hour fundraiser during his party leadership bid, and charge people $1,000 to attend.

As one Facebook commenter snidely but accurately said, $1K and you don’t even get dinner.

The refreshments on offer are less important than the event. Outlandishly expensive per-plate or per-cocktail fundraisers are a tasteless reminder of the banality and decrepitude of today’s politics.

First lesson: politicians are not in it for you.

Second lesson: if you fork over the hefty admission fee, they might be in it for you; the main course serves up access, and a heap of denial is for dessert.

It is a common method, of course. The provincial Liberals recently hosted a dinner for 500, at $500 per. That brought in $250,000, before deductions, and was a harbinger of what is to come for the Tories — lean years ahead, and likely a decade away from feeding at the government trough.

But back to Steve Kent. If memory serves, it wasn’t too long ago that the Mount Pearl wunderkind apparently spent most of his time combining his two loves — Twitter and Kathy Dunderdale. There may be a thin line between loyalty and sycophancy, but Kent smashed through it willingly and often. His primary job on the backbenches involved using his thumbs to extol Tory triumphs, real and imagined.

In the span of a year, Kent has gone from being merely a social media maestro to having a one-in-three probability of becoming the next premier.

Declaring his candidacy, Kent said he offered the party and the province youth and change.

As a friend said, “He’s the oldest 35-year-old on the planet.”

He’s actually 36, but the observation holds nonetheless.

As for “change,” perhaps “revised spin” would be more accurate.

It’s highly doubtful much substantial change could come from a guy who has spent the last several years giving every Tory policy two thumbs up.

There is no age limit on being forthright.

Will Kent reinstate the axed family violence intervention court? Maybe yes, and maybe no.

Is there co-operation between his camp and the Paul Davis crowd to overcome John Ottenheimer’s perceived lead? No. Maybe. Sort of.

I’m not a kingmaker, quoth the jester. I’m in it to win. Maybe.

On second thought, if you do come across $1,000 that you forgot about, perhaps it would be best to give the Steve Kent cocktail-hour fundraiser a pass, and instead use the cash to go on a selfishly satisfying binge.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at

The Telegram. He can be reached at and can be found on Facebook.

Organizations: Canada Revenue Agency, The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • T white
    August 18, 2014 - 13:24

    I actually post my name. Anybody can make an anonymous comment. Without the drama, the article was over the top and targeted one candidate unfairly. I don't begrudge any political party raising for themselves. If folks want to volunteer their time and money, it's their choice. But don't target one chap when fundraising is done arcoss the board. Target fundraising, or the system but to personally attack one candidate looks like an agenda.

  • T. White
    August 15, 2014 - 15:57

    I don't care who the politician is, there is no value in targeting one candidate, especially a guy like Steve Kent. I know him personally to be a hardworking, honest family man. Obviously the writer doesn't know him at all. Obviously Mr. Jones has a sophomoric hate on for Mr. Kent. I haven't read such juvenile nonsense since I was in Junior High. What Bozo lets this fool represent the Telegram? Was is supposed to be comedic? Was it an indictment of fundraisers in general? All parties have had them. Why the targeted interest in Kent? Does this cat actually get paid to write this grade school rubbish? How much? I can rip out a more entertaining piece of prose while waiting in line-up at Walmart. I've read shampoo bottles with more entertainment value. I'm really confused, I just read it again and I'm still confused: was this a serious, uninformed rant or a shot a being funny? If it was intended to be a rant, I suggest Master Jones read up on political fundraisers. Who has them and what was paid out. (Hint: check out Ottenheimer, want more hints? Read a legitimate newspaper and get the facts Jack). If Jones was trying to be funny: swing and a miss ole man! Try again! In the meantime, if the Editor in Chief has the stones to post this rubbish, as he posted the rubbish from Mr. Jones, AND presumably paid him! (Insert facepalm)...tell him to contact me at the email I provided, I can write better prose in the Tim Hortons line-up on a napkin. Pro-bono for the first story! I'll toss it in your parking lot, next Mr. Jones' car first thing next week....where I expect to see Mr. Jones feverishly scribbling his latest masterpiece before deadline. Subscription cancelled.

  • Corporate Psycho
    August 15, 2014 - 07:24

    Kent has made a career out of misleading people. I follow politics in NL and was never sure exactly what he stands for except himself.

  • JRM
    August 15, 2014 - 07:10

    So the $2500 per person event from Ottenheimer was OK? Paul Davis's ticketed fundraiser? No ? No Mention? Or is it just that the author has a personal distaste for one person?

    • Too funny
      August 15, 2014 - 14:04

      Dat you, Steve?