The new­est game in town

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Editorial - Bob Wake­ham

Hey, step right up, folks, we have a leg­isla­tive game of chance for the ages!

For­get Chase the Ace, the sen­sa­tion that prompted longer line­ups in New­found­land than did the first of­fer­ing of le­gal cannabis and may have even forced Gam­blers Anony­mous to seek ex­tra vol­un­teers for their phone lines.

No siree — the bags of cash of­fered up by the Chase the Ace op­er­a­tors were in the mi­nor leagues of win­nings com­pared to the type of ma­jor-league trea­sure that went on dis­play and avail­able for con­sid­er­a­tion re­cently.

And I’m talk­ing about — drum roll, please — Chase the Mem­ber, as in MHA Paul Lane, the floor-crosser who re­vealed to his St. John’s sub­ur­ban con­stituents in the Mount Pearl area this week that all three po­lit­i­cal par­ties (count ‘em, folks, three in to­tal) have ap­proached this man-with­out-a-cau­cus to talk about a pos­si­ble place for him within their cosy fam­ily of MHAs.

Paul Lane, the pot of gold at the end of the rain­bow. Who’d have thought?

Yes, we know, folks, Paulie was a proud mem­ber of two of those fam­i­lies in the past, and yes, he left the PC bo­som where he had raised par­ti­san­ship to a new level, and headed across to that very same fam­ily he ob­vi­ously viewed as a New­found­land ver­sion of the So­pra­nos and planted a kiss of loy­alty (fig­u­ra­tively, of course) on the cheeks of God­fa­ther Dwight.

But, alas, the hon­ey­moon ended with a messy divorce, and Cross­ing Lane was dis­patched from the Lib­eral fold af­ter tear­ing into his God­fa­ther’s bud­get, and be­gan life as an in­de­pen­dent.

But that was in the past; now this po­lit­i­cal free­lancer, this no­mad, is up on tick­ets to a point where, if you be­lieve the Man from the Pearl, he’s be­ing courted by even his two for­mer or­ga­ni­za­tions, an­other ex­am­ple of the any-warm-bum-will-do ide­ol­ogy uti­lized in the search for power, in the fill­ing of leg­isla­tive seats.

And the one party that has yet to have en­joyed the plea­sure of his cau­cus com­pany, that has yet to have ben­e­fited from his po­lit­i­cal prow­ess, the NDP — two mem­bers strong — are also play­ing the Chase the Mem­ber game. (At least, ac­cord­ing to Lotto Lane).

Where will he go, folks? All other mat­ters in the prov­ince have come to a stand­still as Chase the Mem­ber gains mo­men­tum. “Here and Now” is gear­ing up for live hits, if An­thony Ger­main grows tired of tak­ing a ver­bal sledge­ham­mer to Christo­pher Mitchelmore. The line­ups will start be­fore you can count to 52.

Ches Cros­bie, the rookie leader of the PC party, who knows some­thing of bet­ting on the fu­ture, im­plied re­cently he had been ap­proached by more than one MHA seek­ing a couch in his Tory com­mon room. Could it pos­si­bly have been PC/ Lib­eral/In­de­pen­dent Paulie?

It’s all part of the Chase the Mem­ber race. Paul Lane, the Ace of Spades, could be plucked from the deck of obliv­ion and in­serted into which­ever party has the most to of­fer, or the most to gag down.

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