One timely moose

Bob Wakeham
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Warning: the following column contains material that some people might find offensive, especially those who feel a certain Newfoundland politician has taken more than enough flak, that nothing further needs to be said about his double muck bath in the patronage trough, and that he should be given slack now that he’s been victimized by one of those dastardly moose who patrol the province’s highways in search of unsuspecting drivers.


First of all, someone needs to come to the defence of Sammy the Salmonier Moose who

fortuitously hopped in front of Fabian Manning’s car one night last week, ultimately providing the MP-defeated-candidate-senator-defeated-candidate-senator with not only a tremendous amount of invaluable public sympathy, but a timely distraction from his identification as a poster boy for electoral shenanigans, and worse still, his unenviable standing near the top of the list of the most pronounced political embarrassments in recent Newfoundland history.

You have to admit that the script for “Manning and his moose” could only have been cobbled together in an imaginary public relations paradise, a magical place where the most desperate of troubled politicians could seek help. 

 It also didn’t hurt the senator that the night before his serendipitous rendezvous with Mr. Moose, CBC’s “Here and Now” provided syrupy video of a warm and cuddly Manning, a regular “Mr. C.” of “Happy Days,” constructing a trampoline for his daughter, a task placed on the backburner while the brave father/warrior had been away to the Harper Crusades for several weeks.

“Sure, he can’t be all that bad,” thousands of viewers had no choice but to exclaim.             

But getting back to “Manning and his moose.”         

Before our once-respected politician now turned Harper Harpy was carried off to hospital in St. John’s after his bloody encounter with Mr. Moose, is it possible, do you think, that he may have had an opportunity to have a few words with Salmonier Sammy before wildlife officers turned him (the moose, not Fabian) into sausage for a few undernourished families on the dole?

With thanks

Crawling from his smashed car, a bit woozy, blood trickling down the side of his head, did Manning have the presence of mind to offer his profound gratitude to the dying moose?  

“I’ve been tarred and feathered all week long from here to B.C., a political stink bomb, my credibility that of a piece of fish offal,” he could have whispered to Sammy.

“And God knows I deserve it, even though I can’t admit it publicly. 

“But now I’ve found some relief, thanks to you.” 

Informed sources have told me there was actually a funeral for Sammy, organized by a little known evangelical crowd obsessed with the souls of four-legged creatures.

A dignified and blessed affair it was (although the dignity was tarnished slightly by the sight of Sammy’s four quarters, hanging from butcher’s hooks above an altar of alders).

And guess who delivered the eulogy? Yessiree. It was Brother Fabian himself.

And one of my numerous sources, Harbour Deep Throat, managed to tape the proceedings:


•  •  •


The Senator: “Brothers and sisters, I stand before you tonight a sinner!”

The Congregation: “Amen, Brother Fabian. Amen.”

The Senator: “I have been given my 30 pieces of Tory silver, and even some of my most loyal disciples have held their heads in shame.”

The Congregation: “Shame! Shame!” 

The Senator: “If only those ungrateful and stunned arses in Avalon hadn’t … well, I wouldn’t be in this fix, would I?”

The Congregation: “Pity the stunned ones, Brother Fabian.”

The Senator: “Who’d have thought? It was just a wink here, a nod there between me and Brother Steve. But I can’t deny it. I’ve sinned.”

The Congregation: “Yes you have, Brother Fabian.”   

The Senator: “I also want to apologize, brothers and sisters, to my colleague Peter who, unlike me, went to Ottawa in an honourable way, but whose feat was overshadowed by my trek down the low road.”

The Congregation: “Praise be to Minister Peter!  May he continue to hold his nose!”

The Senator: “But we are here tonight, brothers and sisters, to remember Sammy the Moose who has trotted off to that great marsh in the sky, a sacrifice that has given me rest from the torment of my unrelenting accusers.”

The Congregation: “Hallelujah, Sammy! Praise be to Sam!”

Senator Manning: “And I am deeply grateful.”

The Congregation: “And so you should be, Brother Fabian. And so you should be.”

•  •  •

R.I.P., Sammy.


Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at

Organizations: CBC

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Edward Hyde
    June 14, 2011 - 15:00

    Very funny column, it reminds me of some of very best of Ray Guy's satire. You deserve an award Mr. Wakeham for to be so politically incorrect and daring to write sentiments, that many of us lack the talents to so entertainingly articulate. Your column is one of the few reasons I risk the back-breaking-ad-overload of the weekend Telegram. Keep up your rabble rousing, hackle rising, writing ways

  • Theresa Corcoran
    June 05, 2011 - 17:53

    This is disgusting. Making fun of a human life is awful. This accident could have taken a life. I was wondering, do you write this hideous stuff about all moose accident's. Politic's is Politic's. Thank God, Fabian is doing well and home with his wife and children. As one person commented..It's about time you changed the poison in that pen!

  • Derek Hayter
    June 02, 2011 - 11:33

    With such dim-witted views on life's realities I shudder to think what Mr. Wakeham would have wrote had Senator Manning been killed. It's about time you changed the poison in that pen.

  • Anonymous
    May 31, 2011 - 10:14

    Amazing that in the comment section we are not to "post insulting, discriminatory or inappropriate content" yet The telegram themselves will publish material that could, and should, be described as such. Were I to write in here a long winded "joke" about a near-fatal accident Bob was in I'm sure The Telegram would have no problem removing it. It seems writing something about a member of government is different though.

  • aubrey smith
    May 30, 2011 - 22:48

    Nice try ,Bob, with this satirical piece but it was a bit much to cobble together a disgraced senator,a car accident, an attentive moose , a contrite Manning and an imaginary funereal eulogy for said moose .Satire is a special talent and if there's fire in the belly,it will flow cohesively from your pen in such a manner that your readers will accept your call for reform.Instead, all you have managed is to do is to arouse further sympathy for Manning .May I assume that was not your original intent ? Now we both have a bigger satiric task ahead of us re this Manning fellow, if all those supportive comments for Manning are not all from the Southern Shore .

    • Diane
      May 31, 2011 - 10:10

      I cannot believe that a person is allowed to write such in a public forum. I look below and it asks us not to use "insulting, discriminatory or inappropriate content" and then I see one of your so-called journalists write this, its truly sickening. No matter what goes on in politics, someone's life is precious.

  • Catherine Power
    May 30, 2011 - 04:36

    That one can assess, examine and criticize the decisions taken by our government is an integral aspect of our political process and one that I would be the first to defend. Surely though, this writer has lost all sense of perspective when an incident that could have ended in tragic circumstances, and which has caused significant distress to Senator Manning's family and friends is the subject of his satire. As a journalist myself, I am disappointed and ashamed that The Telegram would choose to publish this article.

  • hml
    May 29, 2011 - 12:59

    This column is despicable, for obvious reasons!

  • Carl
    May 29, 2011 - 00:03

    To refer to a moose-vehicle collision that caused serious injuries as "fortuitous" and "serendipitous" is frankly the most obscene, hateful, repulsive thing I have seen in the Telegram's pages - even in Mr. Wakeham's pointlessly vicious columns. I say this not because I think Mr. Manning "should be given slack" because he hit a moose, as Mr. Wakeham suggests, but because surely to God we ought to be able to separate a man's politics from his involvement in a very serious crash. Criticize his politics all you want, but making fun of his serious injury is completely classless, and simply wrong.