'Wounded' and unwanted

Brian
Brian Jones
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Just when you thought there was nothing new to say or discover about the House of Assembly's constituency allowance spending scandal, it is revealed that some Newfoundland criminals have family mottos. In Latin.

Convicted fraudster Jim Walsh - formerly a Liberal MHA and cabinet minister, and currently a tenant of the Crown - said in court Wednesday his family's Latin motto translates as, "Wounded, but not dead."

Just when you thought there was nothing new to say or discover about the House of Assembly's constituency allowance spending scandal, it is revealed that some Newfoundland criminals have family mottos. In Latin.

Convicted fraudster Jim Walsh - formerly a Liberal MHA and cabinet minister, and currently a tenant of the Crown - said in court Wednesday his family's Latin motto translates as, "Wounded, but not dead."

Where do you find a motto?

Most people likely move in social circles where family mottos are rare or nonexistent. Personally, I wouldn't know where to get a family motto, were we to decide to acquire one.

Do you just make one up?

Do you flip through books and lift one that sounds good? Do you go to Google? Are family mottos passed down through the generations, like British titles and diseases? Or - and this is a distinct possibility, given recent events - do you just steal one?

Memorial University likely has classicists and linguists who can set to work on a learned analysis of the Walsh family motto, but a precursory glance at the phrase raises some immediate questions.

First, who - or what - was wounded? The motto implies Walsh is the one who was wounded. Fraud is usually a crime lacking in violence and, sure enough, Walsh admitted in court that his wounds were "self-inflicted."

Walsh need not suffer in solitude. There is a lot of wounding to go around: constituents who voted for him; the Liberal party; the credibility, honour, respect, authority, etc. of the House of Assembly; the innocence of the Newfoundland (and Labrador) electorate.

Equally important, who did the wounding?

"Clearly, I have been wounded by this process," Walsh told the court.

Trust a Liberal to bring ambiguity to even the simple question of whether or not he stole. In Walsh's apparent interpretation, he was wounded not by his own actions, by his own greed and arrogance, but by the "process," i.e., by the legal system making sure people in power are punished when they steal public money.

Beware the undead

Also, who - or what - is not dead? Walsh isn't, although he could be if this were, say, China, where corrupt public officials are occasionally sentenced to death.

Thus, we must assume Walsh was speaking allegorically.

In keeping with the high regard in which he obviously holds himself, Walsh could have been referring to his own greatness not being dead. His reputation, as his defence lawyer stated, has suffered due to the fraud charges and conviction, but it, too, may be not quite dead, although its pulse is barely detectable.

As horrible as it is to contemplate, the Newfoundland public must face the possibility that, in Walsh's mind, his political aspirations are not necessarily dead. Walsh, like California's governor in a previous career, might have meant, "I'll be back." This is, I'll concede, a cryptic interpretation.

The Newfoundland electorate's faith in its own good judgment may not be dead, although some good arguments could be made that it should be.

After all, MHAs from all three parties had such esteem for their own grandeur that they swiped about $1 million from the very citizens they were supposed to represent.

This was not a partisan problem. It was not a case of one party being ethically lacking. More likely, the frauds committed by some MHAs are a reflection of the electorate's docility and deference to those in power.

As has often been pointed out, it was former premier Brian Tobin who stopped the auditor general from examining MHAs' spending habits.

At the time, Tobin was a hugely popular provincial prophet, who foretold of better tomorrows.

Years later, Newfoundland's saviour syndrome is not dead.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by e-mail at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Google, The Telegram

Geographic location: Newfoundland, California, China

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • VRP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Agree! Except with this one statement: His reputation... has suffered due to the fraud charges and conviction . Can we remove suffered and replace with been confirmed ?

  • let---me
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    excellent artical ---now if only the rest of them ,guilty of the same offence,were removed from the house we might have afresh start. this brings to mind the words of a recently appointed cabinet minister i dont know what the fuss is ,after all it's only $20,000 dollars we still have a ways to go yet . $20,000 is more then some familys have to live on each year ---shame--shame

  • Angelica
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Great article!

  • Margie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Yesterday I mentioned that even though
    Walsh didn't have remorse, he must have brought shame and embarrassment to his family; now after reading that his family goes along with his motto, they must be just as stupid and arrogant as what he is. Now that I think of it, his family had to be curious, or aware, of where the finances were coming from for all their extra luxuries. He states,
    clearly I have been wounded in the process , my heavens, he brought all this ON HIMSELF; he did it TO HIMSELF.
    Ohhhh, poor baby! No pity from me; just disgust and anger.

  • Wally Baker
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Excellent column Brian. Sad reality is many people have elevated Danny Williams to the very level of saint hood and idol worship as they have done in the past. Really what has Williams done? He was in the right place at the right time and the oil money started to flow in. None of that new found wealth has anything to do with the great Danny it would have happened anyway. Some people want to give him full credit for all that but the sad part is he takes the credit for it as if he himself actually discovered theoil. Beware of sheep in wolves clothing. The Danny Williams we helped elect isnt the Danny Williams we see today.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Stupid, arrogant self-centered, self-rightious....I don't know what word to put in next....man...is not appropriate. Oh, I think I'll use the words thief, crook, criminal. His family must be just as bad.

  • Realist
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Walsh is a legend in his own mind. Surely there is no one out there who is swayed by his grandiosity and contemptuous b.s. A sociopath if there ever was one. It gets better and better every time he opens his trap. What an offensive and digusting excuse for a man. Please go away and don't come back Walsh.

  • VRP
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Agree! Except with this one statement: His reputation... has suffered due to the fraud charges and conviction . Can we remove suffered and replace with been confirmed ?

  • let---me
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    excellent artical ---now if only the rest of them ,guilty of the same offence,were removed from the house we might have afresh start. this brings to mind the words of a recently appointed cabinet minister i dont know what the fuss is ,after all it's only $20,000 dollars we still have a ways to go yet . $20,000 is more then some familys have to live on each year ---shame--shame

  • Angelica
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Great article!

  • Margie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Yesterday I mentioned that even though
    Walsh didn't have remorse, he must have brought shame and embarrassment to his family; now after reading that his family goes along with his motto, they must be just as stupid and arrogant as what he is. Now that I think of it, his family had to be curious, or aware, of where the finances were coming from for all their extra luxuries. He states,
    clearly I have been wounded in the process , my heavens, he brought all this ON HIMSELF; he did it TO HIMSELF.
    Ohhhh, poor baby! No pity from me; just disgust and anger.

  • Wally Baker
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Excellent column Brian. Sad reality is many people have elevated Danny Williams to the very level of saint hood and idol worship as they have done in the past. Really what has Williams done? He was in the right place at the right time and the oil money started to flow in. None of that new found wealth has anything to do with the great Danny it would have happened anyway. Some people want to give him full credit for all that but the sad part is he takes the credit for it as if he himself actually discovered theoil. Beware of sheep in wolves clothing. The Danny Williams we helped elect isnt the Danny Williams we see today.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Stupid, arrogant self-centered, self-rightious....I don't know what word to put in next....man...is not appropriate. Oh, I think I'll use the words thief, crook, criminal. His family must be just as bad.

  • Realist
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Walsh is a legend in his own mind. Surely there is no one out there who is swayed by his grandiosity and contemptuous b.s. A sociopath if there ever was one. It gets better and better every time he opens his trap. What an offensive and digusting excuse for a man. Please go away and don't come back Walsh.