Top News

Bob Wakeham: Written all over their face

Ches Crosbie speaks to supporters and reporters at his campaign launch Tuesday, where he officially announced he is running for the Progressive Conservative party leadership. He also revealed that 24 years ago he was convicted of refusing the breathalyzer while drinking and driving.
Ches Crosbie speaks to supporters and reporters at his campaign launch Tuesday, where he officially announced he is running for the Progressive Conservative party leadership. He also revealed that 24 years ago he was convicted of refusing the breathalyzer while drinking and driving.

 

 

You’d be hard-pressed to locate a smile on the two mugs that seemed to jump off the websites of The Telegram and the local CBC one morning this past week.

Terry Paddon, the auditor general, had an understandably sorrowful puss, his last report before taking retirement not exactly an inducement to celebratory jigs from St. John’s to St. Jacques, predicting, as it did, rough and tough economic times for the province.                    

The only other nearby face on the media sites with an equally sad countenance belonged to Ches Crosbie, the demeanour a result of the fact, I would presume, that the announcement of his candidacy for the PC leadership was virtually lost in the headlines to his revelation of being caught by the cops drinking and driving a couple of decades ago and being convicted of refusing the breathalyzer.

In one case (so to speak), we have the auditor general providing Newfoundlanders with the kind of information that would drive even the head of the total abstinence society to imbibe, and, in the other, a past incidence of illegal drinking that might impede the present-day ambitions of a fledgling politician.

In contrast last week to the pitiful shots of Crosbie and Paddon, there was the smile from ear-to-ear of Premier Dwight Ball.

And continuing with booze as the common denominator here, I can’t help but note that much of this financial mess Paddon is now describing had to have come about because of the philosophy of Danny Williams and company to make hay while the sun shone, when Newfoundland briefly enjoyed a departure from its have-not status — a time when the Tories were singing “let’s forget about tomorrow” and spending money, as the ancient cliché goes, like drunken sailors.

I don’t know about you, but I take little solace in the reaction of Finance Minister Tom Osborne — a member of the Williams administration, it should be noted again and again, with the operating mantra of live for today — to Paddon’s gloom and doom prediction, a response draped in the sort of platitudes politicians always seem to lean on when confronted with troubling financial news: “strong fiscal management” will continue, along with encouraging “strong economic development,” blah, blah, blah.

And if you managed to get by Crosbie’s confession of getting nabbed by the cops 24 years ago in St. John’s, and read or heard about his platform and philosophy, there were few details there, as well, of any plans to counteract this plunge into the economic sewer we seem to be taking, just more Osborne-like generalizations: the wannabe leader is promising to “rebuild the economy,” “restore confidence in government,” and “revitalize the PC party.” Wow. That should cause a stirring in the stock markets, and cries from the financial wizards of “We want Ches!  We want Ches!”

(Just getting back for a moment or two to that driving indiscretion: how was it that Crosbie’s conviction managed to stay on the q.t., to slip below the news radar back then? A prominent lawyer, son of political icon John Crosbie, after all, in court, facing serious charges? Just wondering. 

Also, many of us — I use the word “us,” having, as I do, an impaired driving conviction on my record — would be curious as to how Crosbie went about obtaining a pardon for his crime. Again, just wondering).

In contrast last week to the pitiful shots of Crosbie and Paddon, there was the smile from ear-to-ear of Premier Dwight Ball.

And who can blame the Mannequin Man? After all, the latest polls indicate that the popularity of his government is on the rise, a dramatic change from just a few months back when the Liberals were so far in the dumps that even Paul Davis was starting to reconsider his decision to relinquish his leadership of the PC party. (Davis, political historians will certainly note, has reconfirmed that he’s definitely out of the race, leaving only the before mentioned Crosbie, the Breathalyzer Man, as the lone candidate).

There’s obviously a fickle crowd of voters out there, so if I was Ball, I wouldn’t take those latest results to the Bank of Smiles.

Any day soon, he could be appearing on a news agency website, with the kind of mournful look we saw on Terry Paddon and Ches Crosbie.

One morning.

This past week.         

                          

Bob Wakeham has spent more than 40 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at bwakeham@nl.rogers.com                       

                              

 

Recent Stories