Cheers: to a quick response. They’ve got this down to a science: the day after Regatta Day, city crews already had the event’s massive mess well in hand. It’s hard to believe how much mess there really is: spin tickets, food packages and all sorts of garbage left underfoot. But by Thursday evening, the biggest impression left on the shores of Quidi Vidi was the trampled-down grass and a hint of horse manure in the air. Well done.
Jeers: to the tough travelling life of the minister responsible for festivals. It’s a gruelling slog, but someone’s got to do it, even if there’s been a halt to discretionary travel for budgetary reasons. We got the news earlier last week: “The Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, will attend the following regional festivals over the next week: Wednesday, August 1 — Grand Bank Theatre Festival; Friday, August 3 — Joe Batt’s Arm Festival; Saturday, August 4 — Change Island Day; Sunday, August 5 — Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival (St. John’s); Monday, August 6 – Gander Day Breakfast and Botwood Day celebrations.” So, from the Burin to up near Fogo, into St. John’s and out to Gander. In case you’re counting, using the provincial government’s own road distance calculator, that’s 1,774 kilometres on the road, or 15 hours and 46 minutes of driving. (By our loose calculation, equal to 9,460 verses of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”) Plus a couple of trips on the schedule-challenged intraprovincial ferry fleet. If this is Monday, this must be Botwood.
Cheers: to the fish that didn’t get away. Placentia-born Frankie Brennan, visiting from Fort McMurray, was fishing for cod near St. Jone’s Within, Trinity Bay, during last month’s recreational fishery. He felt a fat one on the line and got it halfway out of the water. That’s when the 20-pound-tested line snapped under the weight of the 30-pound beast. The fish fell back into the water. For a brief second, fish and fisher stared at each other. Then Brennan made his move. He bent over the gunwale, plunged his arms into the water, grabbed the fish under its belly and hoisted it over his shoulder into the boat. His boat mate, Dennis Robbins, laughed in disbelief, saying he’d never seen anyone catch a cod that way. Quipped Brennan: “This is how we fish in Placentia Bay.”
Jeers: to the indefensible. Federal cabinet minister Bev Oda announced her retirement shortly before a Stephen Harper cabinet shuffle that probably would have cost the minister of $16 orange juice and entitlement her job. Since then, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has calculated that, based on her eight years in office, if the 68-year-old Oda lives until 80, she’ll draw some $700,000 in pension benefits, despite having contributed only around $130,000 to the parliamentary pension plan. Set for Life, without even buying a ticket. Pension rules for our politicians simply have to change.