Daz­zled by Lib­eral pro­fun­dity

The Compass - - SPORTS - Bob Wake­ham 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

Try as I might, I couldn’t con­cen­trate this past week on the fi­nal days of that bizarre and fright­en­ing elec­tion cam­paign to the south of us, the one you may have heard of — an ef­fort by mil­lions of cere­brally chal­lenged and nar­row-minded vot­ers to make a real-life Archie Bunker the most pow­er­ful man on planet Earth.

That’s not to say I didn’t give the mat­ter a thought or two; af­ter all, if Amer­ica’s ver­sion of Don Cherry had bul­lied his way into the West Wing on Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue, we might have en­tered global ter­ri­tory so bril­liantly put to film by Stan­ley Kubrick in “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Wor­ry­ing and Love the Bomb.”

But damn it all, my mind was pre­oc­cu­pied with a more parochial mat­ter, that of a cer­tain po­lit­i­cal con­ven­tion in Gan­der, the gather­ing of the Ball Be­liev­ers, those loyal Lib­er­als fi­nally able to es­cape the closet of em­bar­rass­ment af­ter be­ing locked away for over a decade by the Keys of the Tory King­dom, hang­ing mostly from the belt of the Mes­siah Daniel.

And is it any won­der that I, and many oth­ers like me, were ab­so­lutely drawn to what was hap­pen­ing in Gan­der? It was ob­vi­ous, right from the first me­dia rev­e­la­tions, that events in the U.S. of A., or any­where else for that mat­ter, paled in com­par­a­tive im­por­tance and sig­nif­i­cance to the pro­fun­dity of Lib­eral party de­lib­er­a­tions in the Cross­roads of the World.

There was no doubt the Grits had their pri­or­i­ties straight.

The first res­o­lu­tion I saw pub­li­cized, a mo­tion that made it ap­par­ent the Lib­er­als had a solid grasp on what ails New­found­land, called for — drum roll, please — a com­plete ban on plas­tic shop­ping bags. Now. You talk. Peo­ple from Postville to Par­adise, I’m sure, shouted with pure ex­ul­ta­tion and re­lief; fi­nally, fi­nally, their prayers for fi­nan- cial re­lief had been an­swered.

And if the plas­tic bag prom­ise wasn’t enough to give New­found­lan­ders rea­son for op­ti­mism that the sun is rarin’ to rise on the eco­nomic hori­zon, there was the de­ci­sion by the Lib­eral del­e­gates in Gan­der to have its govern­ment pro­vide some bucks for in vitro fer­til­iza­tion.

There is some needed con­text here, of course: af­ter New­found­land was suck­ered into join­ing Canada, the promised baby bonus was im­ple­mented, de­scribed by some at the time as “dicky dough” (I know I’ve men­tioned this at least once in the past, but when­ever the op­por­tu­nity arises, I just can’t help my­self); and Danny Wil­liams, the be­fore-men­tioned Mes­siah, took time away from his lega­cy­cre­at­ing Muskrat Falls pro­ject (now look­ing as if it will re­place Joey’s Up­per Churchill con­tract as the most ex­pen­sive New­fie joke in our history) to of­fer up his own ver­sion of “dicky dough” a few years back.

It was ob­vi­ous that our mas­ters wished to ex­ploit our rep­u­ta­tion, ac­cord­ing to end- less polls taken through the decades, as the most amorous peo­ple in Canada, or — to put it more crudely, as is my wont — the horni­est crowd in the coun­try.

But the bonuses for pro­cre­ation have fallen flat. We need more young­sters. In vitro fer­til­iza­tion, here we come! Thanks to the Lib­er­als!

But plas­tic bags and twins and triplets were just the start of the count­less il­lus­tra­tions re­cently of why it is the Lib­er­als have cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion and sup­port of peo­ple in ev­ery nook and cranny of this smil­ing land of ours.

The del­e­gates ven­tured boldly forth, those en­light­ened po­lit­i­cal de­scen­dants of Joey, and de­clared that 2019 will be — wait for it, now — the “Year of the Cod.” Yes sir, that should do the job. That should re­verse ev­ery­thing that has hap­pened in the be­lea­guered New­found­land fish­ery. The res­o­lu­tion was ti­tled “Cel­e­brat­ing Cod Cul­ture.” I can see it now: even more cod-kiss­ing and Screech-ins.

The “Year of the Cod” to­gether with Ryan Cleary’s ef­forts to end his un­em­ploy­ment — the fish­ery is saved!

To cap off that fruit­ful week­end in Gan­der, there was also the im­age of Dwight Ball on the evening news­casts, bring­ing his fol­low­ers to their feet with his charisma and breath­less prose, his head bob­bing around like one of those toy dogs in the rear of car win­dows as he at­tempted to read from mul­ti­ple teleprompters. It was one of those walk-and-chewgum mo­ments.

And work­ing the rooms and stages through­out the con­ven­tion was the an­swer to the Lib­eral prayers, their fairy god­mother, Judy Foote.

“With­out her, we’d be screwed,” one del­e­gate was quoted as say­ing in a CBC story. Says it all. Still another rea­son why the Hil­lary and Don­ald show lost in my at­ten­tion span rat­ings to the Lib­eral ex­trav­a­ganza in cen­tral New­found­land.

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