Cheers & Jeers

Published on July 7, 2014

Jeers: to the indiscriminate carnage of bulldozers. Attending the Canada Day celebrations on Confederation Hill last Tuesday, reporter Tara Bradbury noticed the corner of a plaque that was almost completely covered in rubble at a construction site in front of the legislature. Further investigation revealed the plaque was dedicated to veterans and was unveiled in 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the Second World War — by none other than our current interim premier, Tom Marshall.

A newly planted tree that had accompanied the plaque was nowhere to be found. After being transferred from one department to another, Bradbury got word from Transportation and Works Minister Nick McGrath that the tree had been accidently damaged, but that the plaque and a new red maple will be re-established. So, all’s well that ends well. Except … there’s still one niggling question: if a passerby had not spotted the plaque, would it really have been rescued? We have only the minister’s word to go by.

Cheers: to plausible explanations. So, the big question on everyone’s lips these days is: where were the two PC ministers and one former minister when the first leadership contest was announced? Following Kathy Dunderdale’s departure, only three candidates decided to run for the position of PC leader and, by default, premier. All were outsiders. Within short order, west coast businessman Frank Coleman was the only one left standing, but he turned down the job at the last minute. Here’s how current hopeful Steve Kent described his thought process: “The only reason I didn’t run last time is at the 11th hour, I decided to support Frank Coleman. And Frank Coleman isn’t in the race this time, so I am.” Fair enough. But that still doesn’t explain why not one sitting MHA originally felt more qualified for the job than a complete political novice. Some say it was because former premier Danny Williams wielded his influence. Seems more like a case of collective self-loathing.

Cheers: to unclear punctuation. At least one U.S. historian believes a small dot on a transcript of the Declaration of Independence may not actually be a period, as originally thought, but an accidental inkblot. There’s apparently no sign of it on the faded parchment original. How important is this? Well, the period in question comes after the litany of inalienable rights that ends with “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” What comes next concerns the essential need for a government “instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (We assume purists don’t cling to the gender discrimination.) So, does that put the need for government right up there in importance with personal rights and freedoms? Who knows? One thing’s certain, though: agenda-driven politicians will continue the longstanding tradition of interpreting their constitution however they see fit.