The boat that wouldn’t float

Ed Smith
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I’m thinking of running for the leadership of the provincial PC party.

This Cabana fellow has me all inspired. Tell me someone who isn’t inspired by that totally unselfish and well-balanced individual. How proud the people of Saskatchewan, his home province, must be of him!

Here he is, having come from the lap of luxury in Alberta, ready to give it all up for these poor little Nufundlunders (not his fault that no one told him about Labrador), now leaderless and ready to fall into the lap of anarchy. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

Apart from that, I know very little about anything, let alone anyone, named Cabana. For all I know, he could be a tanning salon franchise in Québec, or a thatched hut in the tropics. It could even be a large building in Switzerland which serves as a meeting place for Girl Guides the world over — Our Cabana! That information comes from being married to a guider who’s been there.

Somebody knows something about Mr. Cabana. At least, they know enough about him to ban him from challenging Ms. Dunderdale for the leadership of the party. That somebody or somebodies would seem to be well-placed within the PC party. Whatever and whoever, they obviously had the authority to carry that particular message directly to his face, at his current abode on Random Island.

According to Mr. Cabana, he was visited in person by a prominent member of government bureaucracy who threatened him with “destruction.” It wasn’t clear whether the destruction would be political, mental, emotional or physical, or the deadly combination of all four. I don’t think spiritual was mentioned.

As if that wasn’t enough, the party itself declared him to be persona non grata to the leadership “race.” In short, you don’t fit the qualifications, Mr. Cabana, or you haven’t followed the process necessary to declaring yourself a candidate, or we don’t like you. You may fill in the blanks yourself.

There has been much speculation as to the reasons for this apparently unwarranted unwelcome. I have come to the conclusion that only a few of the PC Chosen know what they are. Those of us not so favoured as to belong to that glorious inner circle may speculate to our hearts’ desire.

Speculation No. 1: they didn’t want him.

Speculation No. 2: they didn’t want anyone.

Speculation No. 3: it was all a horrible mistake.

Speculation No. 4: it was all a stupid mistake.

Speculation No. 5: it was all a horribly stupid mistake.

The question here that just begs to be begged is what was so terribly wrong with Mr. Cabana that he wasn’t fit to be a politician? Did he a) stab a colleague in the back? It’s been done, you know. Consider the sad cases of Julius Caesar and one Ms. Lynn Verge.

Did he b) steal money that didn’t belong to him? The verb “steal” would seem to imply that taking money that isn’t yours to take might indeed be enough to bar one from the ranks of politicians. I refer you to the use of “bar” here, which isn’t entirely unintentional, given the sad case of one Mr. Ed Byrne who found himself behind several of them. (Mr. Byrne may be used as an example in either a) or b).)

Or c) was he not nice to his wife? The Association for the Preservation of Family Values declared as recently as yesterday that the wives of politicians are an endangered species. This is regardless of whether the wife or the husband is the politician in question.

These would be among the more common moral problems, any one of which might cause the local PCs to grimace and, as a person, stamp the Cabana application in large red characters, “No Way!”

But might there be more to it than that? It seems Mr. Cabana didn’t have enough legitimate PC signatures on his application. The question arises as to what exactly is a bona fide PC signature and how would one know? Somebody knew, because that seems to be one of the strikes against him.

He’s not very smart, really. Since four out of five voters in the province are supposed to be more PC than Ms. Dunderdale is woman, all he had to do was get a hundred signatures from George Street or Water Street or the Strait of Belle Isle, and he’d automatically have enough.

Could the reason for his being frozen out have to do with his not being a Newfoundlander/Labradorian? Certainly not! Why would we think someone from the Prairie Provinces isn’t acquainted with our fishery griefs or our outport challenges or our cultural richness? Nope, that couldn’t be it.

Perhaps it’s Speculation No. 2 — they don’t want anyone else to spoil the coronation ceremony. Perhaps Ms. Dunderdale is afraid of the competition. Enough BS in that one to keep the Codroy Valley agricultural industry in manure for a year.

A more compelling reason might be because the province can’t afford a leadership race at this time.

We can skip speculations 3 and 4 and go directly to No. 5 without collecting our $200. The decision to not allow someone with Cabana’s political savvy, political profile, obvious political abilities, political experience, national political prominence and the political and cultural knowledge of this province is so abysmally, abhorrently and horiffically stupid as to defy comprehension.

It’s not at all out of the question that the ratio of PCs to the rest of the population went from 4/5 to 2/5 overnight. If I were the hierarchy of the New Democratic Party, the New Newfoundland Party or the Liberal party, I’d be busy trying to figure out the logistics of how to effectively harness all that overnight new support.

I’ve changed my mind about running for the leadership. Whatever chance I’d have against Kathy D, I’d have none whatever against this fellow. Jarge Cabana from Joe Batt’s Arm.


Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.  His email address is

Organizations: Association for the Preservation of Family Values, New Democratic Party, New Newfoundland Party

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Alberta, Québec Switzerland George Street Water Street Codroy Valley Springdale

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