The Brad and Terry show

Bob Wakeham
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My heart — yes, despite some accusation to the contrary, there’s something ticking inside my chest — goes out to Brad Cabana.

You just know he had to have been teased endlessly while growing up on the Prairies; how else to explain his supersensitive nature, exemplified in recent days by his decision to sue Terrible Terry French and the entire provincial government after the minister used scandalous words to describe our boy from away.

Who knows?  Did  little Copa go running home in a snit when  some big farm lad called him a cry baby after he lost an election for president of the sixth grade?

Perhaps his mother, already sick to death of Bradley’s tantrums, wondering when he was going to leave her bosom and keep to his promise to emigrate to Newfoundland to look up his 14 third cousins working in a fish plant on the Southern Shore and save all those stupid Newfies from themselves, stroked his little blond head and replied: “Sure, honey, sweetie pie, sure, sure, that’s what you are.”

Now, to be fair to Cabana the Crier, we should examine the dastardly facts; after all, this has to be serious stuff, given Copa’s dramatic threat to drag every elected Tory in Confederation Building down to Water Street to appear, disgraced beyond words, their careers already in tatters (the damage having already been done by those yellow journalists spreading the word of Brad), before the esteemed Judge Larry Libel (they’re all esteemed, are they not?).

The facts

So Tattlin’ Terry, according to Bellicose Brad, was heard saying at a Tory gathering that pavement and political donations are as synonymous as fish ’n chips, or words to that effect.  Well, come on now, for the love of St. Joseph!  Is that not the most shocking thing you’ve ever heard? Why, not a sliver of asphalt has ever, ever been laid for the sake of the ballot box here in Newfoundland.

Nevertheless, Terrible Terry took umbrage, was absolutely outraged that anyone would dare to accuse him of drawing a direct link between pavement and votes. And using language shockingly inappropriate for a parliamentarian, and certainly out of character for a wordsmith like himself, the minister described the saviour from the west as a “scumbag” and a “political prostitute.” 

Now scumbag is not normally perceived as a pleasant and complimentary term, referring as it does — please stop reading here if you’re not old enough to get into an R-

rated movie — to a used condom. But French could make the case to Judge Libel that the word needs perspective, that, one could argue, a condom that’s been used means someone had been utilizing said article while practicing safe sex,

a laudable practice, a practice  encouraged by normal-thinking members of society throughout the world (the lone exception being the Pope).

Heck, scumbag could be viewed as a term of praise and endearment, meaning a useful politician, or a once useful politician now retired after performing an invaluable duty to mankind.  

And then we have “political prostitute.” Well, Terrible Terry may have been simply harkening back to a news story making the rounds a few years back that there seemed to be a proliferation of ladies of the night in American cities where national political conventions were taking place; thus, the term “political prostitutes.” That seems harmless enough. Only Judge Libel can tell us for sure.

Or, of course, there’s considerable evidence that Terrible Terry was, indeed, describing a politician who desperately grabs any party banner available that might

give him a few headlines, a few moments on the evening news. You know: someone who runs for the Tories, cries foul when he doesn’t get his way, then decides to run for the Liberals, but is viewed as a nobody, a comical interlude. 

In any case (so to speak), this threat of legal action provided Kathy Dunderdale with an opportunity to use a deliciously saucy line, her best sound bite since becoming premier:  “Knock yourself out, Mr. Cabana.”

I’d be willing to bet that just about the entire province — people of all political stripes — giggled with approval at Dunderdale’s assessment.    

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

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Water Street, Newfoundland.Nevertheless

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Recent comments

  • Cyril Rogers
    September 06, 2011 - 10:33

    Mr. Morrison.....I wade further into this debate with a certain amount of trepidation. Like you, I strongly believe that those who want to be critical of others ought to use their real name rather than a psuedonym. If people can make snide, rude, crass or slanderous remarks under a fake name, we are in trouble as a democracy. Any criticism on my part is based on my opinion, which may be wrong, but it is usually based on research that I have done into issues. Again, this information may be biased or inaccurate but my motivation is to offer a reasoned commentary. I believe Mr. French's recent attacks on Mr. Cabana's character were polically motivated and he himself opened up that can of worms by making what amount to allegations on his part. He has the right to do that but I feel Mr. French went way overboard in his crude responses. Mr. French can say these things, however, and, if they are slanderous, then the courts may have to decide. In my humble opinion, Mr. French showed a complete lack of character by engaging in a personal attack on Mr. Cabana. I do feel Mr. Wakeham was a little too harsh in his assessment of Mr. Cabana and was insinuating that this particular CFA is not one of us. But, he was writing political satire and I accept that he is was probably exaggerating for effect. Unfortunately, some of the people who comment on this board, while hiding behind fake names, will take everything at face value and more than likely, aim their criticism exclusively at Mr. Cabana.

    • A warning from away
      September 27, 2011 - 16:03

      rest assured that Mr Wakeham is spot on in his assessment of Mr Cabana's character and motivations. Almost to the point where one wonders if he has known him for years. I know that Cabana's political "aspirations" will be decimated by the Newfoundland voting public. The shame comes in the waste of everyone's time in having to cover and/or listen to the verbal garbage that comes out of this political opportunist's mouth. Don't let the discussion become about "do Newfoundlander's accept CFAs", stay focused on the person - lack of morality, devoid of ethics and without credibility - these are the only characteristics this candidate has.

  • Herb Morrison
    September 06, 2011 - 09:09

    I have learned from my sojourning into the public domain that anyone who expresses their opinions publicly needs to develop a thick hide, and quickly. There will always persons who are willing to try to hand you your backside in a sling. When these individuals are free to hide behind pseudonyms, those of us who feel motivated to express an opinion, while at the same time possessing the intestinal fortitude to sign our names to posts, become targets for whatever venomous rhetoric certain individuals choose to spew forth in response to what we write. It goes with the territory. Mr. Cabana or anyone else who ventures into the public domain in any way, besides needing to develop a thick, also needs to develop an ability to sometimes, as the young crowd say “suck it up,” within the context of dealing with criticism levelled at them. Keep on callin' ' em as ya see 'em, Bob

  • I see Mr. Cabana as being part of the politicians who will stop Corruption
    September 06, 2011 - 08:49

    Arlene I am so sorry to hear that you have not had a good experience in our province as a 'come from away'.. I hope that the turn-around in that department comes immediately. I have worked and lived near many CFA's over the years and am delighted that people want to emigrate here to work and live in our beautiful province, as they do to other places in the World. I'm loving, at the moment, seeing the mosaic of our city change monthly with new immigrants, I hope they put down roots and stay here and add to our economics. I can't wait for some of them to start their own restaurants to give us a taste of their cuisine. My instinct is to tell you to report such incidents to our government, but how much credence will you put into that statement when we have ruling party politicians acting like goons when somebody tries to point out corruption, or even attempt to become a politician. We are supposed to be living in a Democracy, but it is far from that type of government. You know what I'm alluding to here, I want to limit the damage to a certain person, who has been afflicted very badly from the goons. After mentioning the word 'corrupt', I want to say that it is the reason why the whole World is floundering economically, at this very moment, the World is sitting precariously on the edge of economic destruction, so precariously, in fact, that if another large Bank or even a EU country defaults on its debt, it will be enough to start the next Great Depression. All brought about by sheer greed and sense of entitlements from politicians and Big Corporation who have the politicians ears. The Big Corporations want all the profits generated from industry created from our natural resources. Wake up corrupt politicians, if you haven't noticed we are about to fall into the abyss and it is because you are primary the blame. Big Corporations depend on you allowing them to do as they please and treat the citizens of the World like slaves. It is up to the politicians to put and end to this corruption and make the changes, so Please put an end to the World's suffering but making it a fairer and more equitable World. Everyone deserves to make a good decent living to take care of their families. I see Brad Cabana as being part of that group! We also need journalists like Mr. Wakeham attacking the real problems of the World, especially corruption, he has the ability to do. So please Sir, set you sights on that very important task, you will be doing something good for the World and its people.

    September 05, 2011 - 14:02

    I hope the electorate of Trinity North where Brad Cabana is running, as a Liberal, is in tune with what went on with Mr. Cabana back when he was UNDEMOCRATICALLY precluded from running for the Premiership last winter, under the Conservative banner. I thought under a Democratic political system anyone could put their name forward, but I found out that isn't the case. Not only can be one rejected for offering themselves but also one can be severely debased and torn to shreds, as is what happened to Mr. Cabana. I was shocked to my core that my fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians could be so cruel as to have committed this crime against a well-spoken and knowledgeable individual, who seems to have a strong desire to politically serve the people of the district in which he lives. I hope you are the winner in Trinity North District Mr. Cabana in October and please Sir old hold your head high and carry on and be triumphant.

  • Arlene
    September 05, 2011 - 13:28

    Re: "Bradley's "promise to emigrate to Newfoundland and save all those stupid Newfies from themselves." After that statement, I have lost any and all respect for Bob Wakeham. People who move here simply want to be who they are - and we deserve that right. Sorry to burst your bubble, but trying to show up "stupid Newfies" is not on our radar. We don't assume that everyone here is stupid, and frankly, we have more interesting things to think about. But people like Wakeham seem to assume that upstaging Newfoundlanders is our sole purpose for being here. Fer the luv o Gawd, please get over yourselves. And another thing - More and more people from away are moving here all the time. If Nfld wants to maintain its uber friendly reputation, it's going to have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. When Newfoundlanders go to the mainland, they are treated as if they've lived there all their lives - doesn't always work the other way around. And lastly, If Brad Cabana's accusations of corruption are true, I'm glad he had the guts to bring it out into the open. Oh I forgot, he's "from away," so he's just supposed to go with the flow, even if it's a corrupt flow.

    • Arlene
      September 05, 2011 - 18:54

      And lest anyone get their knickers in a knot assuming that I'm inferring there is no corruption on the mainland, let me assure you that I'm aware there has been corruption "upalong" (and probably still is) . The difference is that when someone alleges corruption upalong, we don't care if the alleger is from the mainland, St. John's or Timbuktu. We listen to that person. And Brad Cabana's allegations of corruption should be taken seriously.

  • Cyril Rogers
    September 05, 2011 - 10:46

    Whatever Mr. Cabana may be....he deserves better than to be attacked by a Cabinet Minister in such a revolting manner. Far be it from me to defend Mr. Cabana or his personal motives but he has brought out the excesses that the PC Party is engaging in. They obviously hate to see anyone challenge their perception that they are above criticism and this is but one more example of how far they will go to bring down anyone who disagrees with their take on things. When we allow politicans to get away with that sort of behaviour we obviously do get the government we don't deserve(or perhaps we do) but such crudeness and disrespect does not represent me and what I believe in. By all means, criticize the person's opinions or beliefs.... but doing it in such a crass manner says a lot more about Mr. French and the party he represents than it does about Mr. Cabana. There is much to be critical of with this government and if they are too thin-skinned to deal with it then, in my opinion, they don't derserve another shot at leading the people of this province.

  • Carl
    September 04, 2011 - 09:49

    It's fair to criticize Cabana for being fickle and opportunistic, but what bothers me is when my fellow Newfoundlanders display rude intolerance of people who live and work in this province just because they were born somewhere else. How on earth can we ever hope to attract good people to our province when we are so inhospitable?

    • Arlene
      September 05, 2011 - 11:41

      Thank you for that comment Carl. I'm a CFA, and I have a couple of co-workers (not all mind you) who have made it quite clear, to my face, that they have little use for anybody living here who isn't actually from here. And those are just the people who are up front about it and don't try to feign acceptance.

  • georgina benoit
    September 04, 2011 - 06:56

    i didn't giggle at Dunderdale's comment, it made me cringe. A few months ago she had Linda ross speaking out about Yvonne Jones' comparison of the premier as little red riding hood....saying this affected the status of women. Two years before that Joan Burke chastised Loyola Hearn for a joke he made about a woman's weight......apparently that was against the status of women. But Terry French was appropriate in our Premiers view? My take on Brad Cabana. He genuinely had interest in politics in NL and took a plunge but then was basically ripped to shreds by media and commentators, PC insiders etc which made him really question his rights as an individual in this province and feel somewhat obligated to speak up and continue to put his neck out there. No where else in the free world outside US would ministers of the crown be able to insult a citizen in public using such deragotory language-the message it sends is that this could happen to you Joe citizen. Cabana-you have been the unfortunate victim of a very shrewd increasingly jingoistic society. While government invests in teaching children not to bully, adults do it to each other every day. It is unkind, and unchristian. Dunderdales two faced attitude towards all this tells me alot about the depth of her character. Many Newfoundlanders are not the kind people they toute themselves to be and its unfortaunte Cabana waded in so deep into the lion pit here.

  • Richard
    September 03, 2011 - 07:40

    Your assessment of Brad Cabana is bang on. In almost every respect he reminds me of Danny Williams.