The secret House of Assembly tapes

Bob Wakeham
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My impeccable sources, Deep Trout River and Harbour Deep Throat, have earned themselves an Atlantic Journalism Award with a joint investigation that revealed there was a covert sitting of the Newfoundland legislature this past week.

On the cusp of establishing one of the worst sitting records in the country in recent legislative history, the government sought to avoid such ignominy by quietly gathering its members together in the House of Assembly chambers to listen to a speech by Premier Kathy Dunderdale. The Opposition was not invited.

Deep Trout River and Harbour Deep Throat managed to obtain a transcript of the speech.

Speaker: "The Honourable, trimmed-down Premier has the floor."

Premier: "Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, first of all, Mr. Speaker, I hope you won't mind, Mr. Speaker, if I refer to you, Mr. Speaker, as often as possible, Mr. Speaker, because, Mr. Speaker, it allows me, Mr. Speaker, to get my thoughts together, Mr. Speaker, and appear and sound as if I'm pretty decent, Mr. Speaker, at thinking on my feet, Mr. Speaker, and handling this exalted position, Mr. Speaker, in which my former friend, Peter Puck Williams and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, have placed me."

Speaker: "Whatever. Once in a while would suffice."

Premier: "Fine, upstanding ruling, Mr. Speaker. Objectivity reigns in your chair, as it always does in the Speaker's chair."

Speaker: "Enough of the teacher's pet routine, Madame Premier."

Premier: "Mr. Speaker, it's been some time, a month of Sundays, or perhaps eight or nine months of Sundays, since this House of Assembly last sat. But don't think my eager caucus was not anxious to come here and do battle with that dishonourable crowd that usually resides opposite."

Some honourable members: "Here, here."

Other honourable members: "Hear, hear."

An honourable member: "Well, what is it, here, here, as in right here? Or is it hear, hear, as in what we're hearing?"

Another honourable member: "Buddy behind me is saying 'ere, 'ere."

An honourable member: "What odds. Just pound your desk and shout 'here, here,' whenever she needs a spell. Think about spotting a rabbit: hare, hare!"

Premier: "Mr. Speaker, I have to obviously address all the unfair criticism I and my government have been receiving, especially from those scallywags in the Newfoundland media, those 'nattering nabobs of negativism,' as an American politician, Spiro Agnew, so accurately described reporters way back when."

Some honourable members: "Anti-Newfoundland traitors."

Premier: "Now Mr. Speaker, I don't want to overreact, I'm trying to watch my blood pressure, but what they've done, that 'effete corps of impudent snobs,' to quote Mr. Agnew once again, is to mock my philosophy of transparency in government.

"Anybody with half a grain, Mr. Speaker, knows you should ignore those twisted editorials in The Telegram that were probably ghost-written by the auditor general himself about his never-ending, mouth-watering desire to poke his nose unnecessarily in our business, Mr. Speaker.

"And every God-fearing Newfoundlander should switch channels rather than watch and listen to the exaggerated stories on the CBC, the subsidized network, about the fact that our public accounts committee hasn't been meeting lately."

Some honourable members: "Shame. Shame."

Premier: "Now you have to admit, yourself, Mr. Speaker, that the auditor general's inquisition about the $5 billion we spent on roads and such is a bit over the top, don't you think? I tell the citizens of this fine province of ours: trust me, trust us. Don't believe the auditor-general. He's just a busy-body. He should sit on the opposite side of the House, Mr. Speaker, where he obviously thinks he belongs."

Some honourable members: "Send him packing."

Premier: "Imagine, Mr. Speaker, the gall to demand how we spent $5 billion. I tell him now, Mr. Speaker, to paraphrase that expression - what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas - well, Mr. Speaker, what happens in cabinet stays in cabinet."

Honourable members: "True, true."

Premier: "And the CBC strutting its journalistic stuff and making a big deal about the public accounts committee not meeting for a while, Mr. Speaker. What was it, six months, a year?"

Speaker: "Actually, six years."

Premier: "OK, six years then. Big deal. Let's not sweat the details. Tell you what, Mr. Speaker, I've decided to establish a committee to look into both the public accounts committee and the auditor general's ludicrous complaints about the infrastructure budget. I've thought long and hard about this, Mr. Speaker, and found the perfect foursome: Wally Andersen, Jim Walsh, Ed Byrne and Randy Collins, experts all, in the area of spending."

Some honourable members: "Convicts four! Convicts four!"

Premier: "Mr. Speaker, my government has an awful lot to be proud of. And I shouldn't have to spend the valuable time of the House explaining, well, explaining why the House hasn't been sitting. Nobody's complaining except that little crowd of hippies that gather outside Confederation Building smoking funny-looking cigarettes, Mr. Speaker.

"Nor should I have to take time to console that angst-ridden auditor general or explain to the Public Utilities Board and its ungrateful chairman, Andy Wells, that a deadline is a deadline. Suck it up, Andy. Muskrat's a go."

Some honourable members: "Bravo. Bravo."

Premier: "And, Mr. Speaker, look at the terrific relationship I've fostered with Mr. Harper. Did you see how hard I worked to convince the prime minister and his puppet - excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I mean his man down here - Peter Penashue, that they should change their tune on those search and rescue cuts? It didn't quite work, but I was extremely proud of the fact that Mr. Harper gave me three minutes of his time on the telephone."

Some honourable members: "Harper! Harper!"

Premier: "And I talked to the prime minister the other day, Mr. Speaker, just before he left for China. I told him to 'think just one word, Prime Minister: penis.' Understandably, Mr. Harper was taken aback, Mr. Speaker, thinking I was some sort of female reincarnation of Frank Moores. But I explained to him that we have millions of penises on the ice waiting to be lopped off and sent to China. I told him the Chinese can't get enough, Mr. Speaker. Ninety-year-old men are beating down the doors of brothels after munching on a Newfoundland seal penis or two."

Some honourable members: "Penis! Penis!"

Premier: "I have to sit down now, Mr. Speaker. I'm plumb tuckered out. I haven't spoken for this long since, since, since ... oh, I can't remember 'cause it seems like an eternity since the House was open."

Some honourable members: "Hear, hear. Here, here. Hare, hare. 'ere, 'ere."

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador, CBC, Public Utilities Board

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Deep Trout River, Vegas China

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Recent comments

  • Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have to wrestle their natural resources from the pilferers
    February 14, 2012 - 06:45

    Thanks Mr. Fillmore for your collection of Ieas and Opinions by Journalist ontained in the address in your comment, I particularly think number 13 of your list pertains to the province pf Newfoundland and Labrador which pertains to "RAMPANT CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION which states". " Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resourcese of Newfoundland and Labrador which states " NEWFOUNDLANDERS AND LABRADORIANS we have to wake up to the rampant cronyism and corruption that is swirling around us and has been for decades. It has kept us severely down, despite our vast wealth of natural resources, and the depth of it is about to put us into third world conditions. We have to get a grip on our natural resources or they will all be TOTALLY secured in the hands of ex-politicians and their crony friends and business acquaintances.

  • Nick Fillmore
    February 13, 2012 - 21:36

    Off topic a little -- but maybe readers would like to know about what Stephen Harper REALLY thinks about Canadians: http://nickfillmore.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-stephen-harper-displaying-fascist.html

  • From my vantage point I believe NL's Natural Resources are being pilfered
    February 13, 2012 - 14:00

    From my vantage point I beleive all the Natural Resources of Newfoundland and Labrador are being appointed to be in the hands of ex-politicians, bureaurcrats and their acquaintances. I see the Fish Resource to be in the hands of a few of the Fish Processing operations, the Mineral Deposits and Hydroelectricity Resource in the hands of another group of ex-politicians and their crony friends, and our Oil Resource is appointed to God only knows who and God only knows who is getting benefit from it. As a result of what is going on nobody is going to tattle on each other because they are all looking out to each other's best interests. I do know that we are being told that we have to wrestle back some of our wealth because our province is not benefitting from its great endowment of natural resources. We should nationalize our natural resources to prevent this from happening. All I'm wondering now is when is the electorate of Newfoundland and Labrador going to throw their hands up in the air and say enough is enough, the corruption has to stop and it must stop NOW!

  • Colin Burke
    February 13, 2012 - 09:00

    Congratulations, LA, on the keenness of your insight into gender bias: subjecting a male premier to the same sort of satire would of course be low-brow feminist?

  • LA
    February 12, 2012 - 23:30

    I am no fan of the record of the current or former PC government. But this article is low brow patriarchal and sexist insult to women and seals. Time to retire the sewage factory, there are new waste water/effluent agreements soon coming into effect.

  • Retiree
    February 12, 2012 - 19:01

    Well apart from it being a comedy show and knowing now where Dunderdale sits on all of this, not much offered forv a secret sitting. Funny yes but we need a gov to run this place. Lot of negativity from Dunderdale blaming everone else and not much info. No decisions or facts. Sounds like her own crowd are puppets or maybe parrots. I say all the more reason to look into her spending espec before the election. You know what they say about secrets - they're toxic. Be sure to turn over the rock. Can only imagine what will be crawling out from under this one! In terms of Muskrat, seems major cover up also. Seems a lot of ex-Politicians and their business buddies getting rich. I say pay for Muskrat yourselves, the mining community in Labrador, the way you used to and not on the public purse. You bunch of scoundrels awaiting to make a fortune with taxpayers paying the funding seed money. Get your own seed money the way mines used to have to - you Investors yes you. Our own locals. Shame on you!! The cat's out of the bag now. Dunderdale can stuff it!! Too bad she doesn't like the media or your average citizen writing in. The secrecy is going to come back to bite you in the are and Danny too. It always does!!

  • What are the secrets the House closure are covering up
    February 11, 2012 - 12:22

    Mr. Wakeham what a great description you have depicted here in satire of what is going on in the House of Deciption!. I assume this was the type of governance that has gone on down through the years that have allowed so many of our Natural Resources to be approved for development that benefitted some ex-politicians , Bureaucrats and others more than they did the peoople of Newfoundland and Labrador. I am wondering at the moment is the closure to ensure that the risky Muskrat Falls Project can be rammed through with not having to listen to the desires of what the electorate of the province would prefer on this project. Some probing questions needs to be asked and answered on what is going on now and what has gone on in the past!

  • BR
    February 11, 2012 - 10:35

    Excellent !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love it too.

  • macy
    February 11, 2012 - 08:52

    I love it, I love it !!!!!!