The House of Assembly speech we're not likely to ever hear
Before heading off on my first fishing trip of the spring tomorrow (and avoiding next weekend's Victoria Day invaders of the woods, most of whom will put up with a dozen squealing kids squat into a trailer built for four, play Frisbee in the rain with the top of a salt-beef bucket, and emerge Tuesday with no trout and a hangover), I started to contemplate - of all things - my maiden speech.
Needless to say, I won't ever have the lobotomy required to eliminate independent thought and the castration needed to remove the gonads of grit, so a career as an MHA does not appear on the horizon.
But after reading excerpts in The Telegram last week of powerful speeches by the freshest face in the legislature, former cop/mouth-piece/councillor Paul Davis, and the irrelevant and cabinet-envy backbencher Steve Kent, I was inspired to the very marrow of my bones to put on paper a few words that might, in my make-believe world, one day make it into Hansard.
Mr. Speaker: "The honourable member representing former journalistic scum."
(THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, INTERSPERSED WITH 'HERE, HERE,' A GREETING OF SUCH ORIGINALITY AND SINCERITY THAT A GREAT GUSH OF TEARS WOULD HAVE TO BE FOUGHT OFF)
Mr. Wakeham: "Thank you from the bottom of my sold-out heart valve, Mr. Speaker.
"Today, I rise in this House of Assembly, a historical place, where, just last week, Mr. Speaker, the valiant Minister of Natural Resources stood in her seat, red as a beet, nervous as a cat, and calmed our fears about the dangers of an oil spill.
"In fact, Mr. Speaker, I was surprised she didn't use Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' But the honourable minister probably didn't realize we are permitted to exploit the President as a local angle because he spent time in Placentia Bay during the war with Winston Churchill, smoking cigars and swearing on the fog, and complaining the wet weather made his wheelchair squeak, a matter not mentioned by the press of the day, of course, Mr. Speaker, respectful reporters that they were, keeping the President's disability secret, unlike the crowd of intrusive, yellow journalists we have to tolerate in Newfoundland.
"But I digress, Mr. Speaker.
"Because most importantly, Mr. Speaker, in my maiden speech, I wish to declare how immeasurably thankful we are to have the privilege to work alongside, to work beneath, in any position he desires, Mr. Speaker, the most magnificent leader to ever head a party in Newfoundland, in Canada, in - oh, what the hell, Mr. Speaker, if you'll excuse my un-parliamentary language - the brightest, strongest head of a government in the free world.
"Now, Mr. Speaker, I know the ambitious rookie, the member for Conception Bay South, was divinely inspired when he boasted that we were 'blessed' to have the honourable the premier in our midst. Mr. Speaker, I have to confess it moved me to tears, and I felt compelled to make the sign of the cross.
"The honourable member, in fact, actually spoke of the 'vision' of our hallowed leader. Mr. Speaker, the rain, drizzle and fog above Confederation Building evaporated at that very moment.
"All I'd like to suggest, Mr. Speaker, that it's time for every soul in this province, every man, woman and child, every dog and cat, to join the premier on his voyage to heavenly opportunity.
"In particular, Mr. Speaker, I implore the members opposite, the little band of whining Liberals and the holier-than-thou leader of the NDP to abandon that satanic side of the House and cross over here, to the enlightened, godly side.
"Mr. Speaker, we should all join in one glorious voice.
"Mr. Speaker, I was a sinner, I transgressed against our leader. I criticized him. I was blasphemous.
"But no more, Mr. Speaker, for I've seen the light.
"And I invite the members opposite to embrace the Williams light as well.
"One blessed family, Mr. Speaker. The Trinity: Danny, the opposition and the press. United forever.
"Praise be to Daniel.
"Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to bow in adoration to this all-wise and unearthly leader."
Honourable members: "PRAISE DANNY, PRAISE DANNY, PRAISE DANNY."
Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.