Hit and moose

Brian Jones
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Why did Ches Crosbie cross the road? To ask the chickens if they want to launch a lawsuit.

Ches Crosbie went to a hockey game, and a class-action lawsuit broke out.

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Ches who?

Ches call me if you want to file a lawsuit.

Ches Crosbie, John Crosbie and Sidney Crosby walk into a bar. … Stop me if you’ve heard this one.


Attacking attorney

It isn’t often that decent people have sympathy for a lawyer, but you’ve got to feel for Ches Crosbie. He became the subject of ridicule and mockery this week when his announcement of a class-action lawsuit against the provincial government over moose-vehicle accidents made national news.

Readers of Canada’s coast-to-coast Toronto newspaper were brimming with detestation and loathing for Crosbie’s supposedly inane and money-grabbing legal action. Some Telegram readers joined in.

It can be easy to laugh at lawyers. Crosbie even admitted at a Tuesday news conference that some people would be perplexed by the class-action lawsuit.

As quoted by The Tely, Crosbie said, “I would like to reassure you all I haven’t lost my marbles.”

On the contrary, the real fools are those who drive on any highway in this province without a care or a worry about the possibility of hitting a moose.


Courting action

Moose-vehicle collisions kill several people annually, and cripple others. There are 700 to 800 moose-vehicle collisions every year in this province. That is an astounding statistic. If the provincial government refuses to take the issue seriously and address the problem, then perhaps a judge will.

Critics of Crosbie and his class-action clients commonly claim motorists who speed or drive recklessly and hit a moose shouldn’t expect taxpayers to cough up cash after their “accident.”

Hopefully, a judge will give Crosbie’s class-action lawsuit the go-ahead, and the facts can be brought out in a courtroom and separated from fiction.

Fact: there is far too much speeding taking place on the province’s roads.

Fiction: anyone who hits a moose has only himself to blame.

Everyone has a moose story. You can drive along well below the speed limit, especially at night, and have a moose pop out of the bush almost instantly and be on the road directly in front of you. Whether it jumps out 100 feet away or right onto your bumper is a matter of sheer chance or luck.

“Another 10 feet or half a second, and I’d have been dead.”

It should be easy for Crosbie to find a few thousand people who will testify to that.


Going rate

Eugene Nippard of the Save Our People Action Committee told The Globe and Mail this week only 30 per cent of motorists who hit a moose were driving more than the posted speed limit.

Maybe this is an underestimation, given the preponderance of speeding. But even if half the drivers who hit a moose were going too fast, that still leaves 350 to 400 incidents in which motorists can’t be faulted. That’s roughly one incident per day.

There are about 120,000 moose on the island of Newfoundland, according to the provincial government, which has increased the number of hunting licences granted and has allotted funds to clear brush from roadsides. These actions seem to be an admission of the problem.

One argument we should blast into oblivion is that a moose cull would be cruel or inhumane. Another ridiculous argument is that efforts to decrease the moose population would make it harder for hunters to get their moose, and for outfitters to satisfy their clients.

Human lives are more important. Stop the Ches thumping.


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

Organizations: People Action Committee, Globe and Mail, The Telegram

Geographic location: Canada, Toronto, Island of Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Duffy
    January 14, 2011 - 23:42

    The Moose Lobby indicates daily on the talk-in shows "I (he or we) were only going 60k". Have you ever driven on the TCH - under any conditions - when someone was going below the speed limit ? My and most everybody experiencies the same thing in that if you drive the speed limit, day or night, you will get run over. Slow down and the accidents will never stop but will be reduced drastically. Oh yea except in some greedy lawyers mind who may be looking for easy $$$$

  • Frank Blackwood
    January 14, 2011 - 10:23

    True, many say driving is not a right , moreso a priviledge. You don't have the right to kill someone! However, the moose are coming out on the highways more than ever. They are not lost or confused, they are just hungry. They are having a difficult time since man and Mother Nature have been destroying their habitation. People are always in a hurry, speeding along the TGH when moose are just brosing for the next meal. If fences are not going to help solve the problem of moose accidents,there may be another solution which may sound ridiculous! Why not build overpasses for moose only in areas where moose are overpopulated? Then, they love their salty treats in the ditches and newly planted trees which are a delicate meal for moose. Nah, fences are cheaper! There are less moose accidents in New Brunswick along the TCH since fences have been installed. In Ontario we have the same problem with the deer. They spring out on the highways when chased by hungry coyotes, you don't have a chance! My personal suggestion is to "Slow Down And Live" while the Newfoundland government contemplates on putting up fences?

  • SM
    January 14, 2011 - 09:30

    I'm just saying, before trying to apply this kind of pressure to the NL government regarding something they in all realism can't do a whole lot about, how about pressuring them to fix the healthcare and education systems first. Moose collisions kill several people every year...how many suffer and die waiting for specialist appointments? Yeah, I said it, hate on me all you want.

  • David
    January 14, 2011 - 08:21

    How many times have we been told that driving is not a right and add in the fact that nobody thinks they'll be in moose accident or seriously injured in one. As a driver you're not only responsible for paying attention to what's on the road but also to what's alongside the roadway that could end up in front of you. If the conditions do not allow you to see whats around you then you have to adjust your driving but it's human nature to want to place the blame on someone else and it's easy with government and other people's money.

  • Robert
    January 14, 2011 - 08:21

    As a moose ''hunter'', I see no problem with cutting them back somewhat. I used quotations around the word hunter because it's not much of a hunt,. The last three licenses we got our animal within 2 days, which was barely enough time to even have a decent time at the cabin. Anyone who knows what they're at and are willing to do a bit of walking gets their moose - even on a bull only license.