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LETTER: Remembering John Crosbie

John Crosbie inspects the Guard of Honour after he is sworn in as Newfoundland and Labrador's Lieutenant Governor  at the House of Assembly at Confederation Building in St. John's on Feb. 4, 2008.
John Crosbie inspects the Guard of Honour after he is sworn in as Newfoundland and Labrador's Lieutenant Governor at the House of Assembly at Confederation Building in St. John's on Feb. 4, 2008. Crosbie died Friday morning in St. John's. - Rhonda Hayward/Postmedia Network

I always liked John Crosbie, but never more than in the fall of 2013 when, following the ceremony at Government House bestowing honours such as the Queen’s Jubilee Medal on two recipients, including my husband, we were chatting.

He recognized me and addressed me by name, which was a surprise as it showed how good his memory was.

Somehow in the exchange, the subject of the cod moratorium came up. He looked at me and said, “and you were right when you told CBC that the government knew about the overfishing. I knew it, we all knew it. But I wasn’t allowed to admit it.”

I am sure I almost dropped to the floor with shock.

I said, “Sir, there are witnesses to that statement,” as three other people besides John and myself were standing there.

“That’s all right,” said John Crosbie. “You were right, but I couldn’t say anything at that time.”

I asked if I could relay this conversation to the media.

He said, “Go ahead. It’s true.”

I wrote to your newspaper but it never got published.

One sees a lack of honesty in the national media all the time, for all parties, and I wish that Mr. Crosbie were still alive to comment on it.

He would say his opinions straight out, as he had tired of the political game and was far more of a statesman than many people knew.

Such people deal more in truth, tactfully put, if they are worth their salt. And John Crosbie certainly was.

I was full of admiration for his forthrightness and his courage.

He was a very decent man, as a politician and as a lieutenant-governor.

I knew him slightly as I used to pass his house on Circular Road when I walked to Belbin’s, and occasionally we would meet and chat briefly.

Once I met him at the hospital when we were both having tests; Jane was with him and was smiling and friendly as she always was when she shopped at Belbin’s.

Good, good people, who honour their history as Newfoundlanders and who will be remembered for their friendliness and for their courage and truthfulness.

I am so sorry John has died, but what a wonderful lot of memories he has left behind.

Judy Gibson,
St. John’s


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