Con­grats, Min­is­ter of Thinga­ma­jigs and Whatchamac­al­lits

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - Rus­sell Wanger­sky Rus­sell Wanger­sky’s col­umn ap­pears in 36 SaltWire news­pa­pers and web­sites in At­lantic Canada. He can be reached at rus­sell.wanger­sky@thetele­ Twit­ter: @wanger­sky.

It’s a long and hon­oured tra­di­tion. Or is it a long and honours tra­di­tion?

Any­way, on Thurs­day, Nov. 8, at a lit­tle af­ter 5 p.m., Pre­mier Dwight Ball shuf­fled his cabi­net, and crossed a cru­cial line in the land of pol­i­tics. The shuf­fle for­mally crushed the idea of ei­ther Ed­die Joyce or Dale Kirby re­turn­ing to the cabi­net fold, and, un­like the usual cabi­net shuf­fle an­nounced a day early and du­ti­fully at­tended by the me­dia at Gov­ern­ment House, this one just got a news re­lease.

But back to that cru­cial line just crossed.

As of now, two-thirds of the 27 sit­ting Lib­er­als are now ei­ther cabi­net min­is­ters or par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries. (If any­one’s won­der­ing what a par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary does, it looks pretty much like at­tend­ing pub­lic events on be­half of cabi­net min­is­ters who can’t or don’t want to at­tend.) An­other four Lib­er­als have leg­isla­tive ti­tles: Perry Trimper is the Speaker of the House, and there are Lib­er­als who are the deputy Speaker and chair of com­mit­tees, the deputy chair of com­mit­tees and the Lib­eral cau­cus whip. An­other will soon be­come the Lib­eral cau­cus chair­per­son.

That means, of course, only four Lib­er­als are left who don’t have an ex­tra ti­tle to cut and paste onto their busi­ness cards.

Ti­tles are a fine thing; heck, some peo­ple are even will­ing to pay money for them.

Ap­par­ently, you and your spouse can be­come the 21st Lord and Lady of Back­en­hoe for just 2,650 Bri­tish Pounds (sales tax ex­tra) - it’s the per­fect ti­tle, isn’t it, for the neig­bour­hood con­struc­tion ti­tan? There doesn’t ap­pear to be a Lord of Fron­tend Load­ern.

Be­com­ing the 15th Lord and Lady of Lit­tle Hol­well or Nether Hol­well is the same price, as is the op­por­tu­nity to be the 4th Lord of Ain­derby Quern­how (and that’s a lord­ship with his­tory; it was orig­i­nally held by Flot­mann the Saxon in, like, 1066).

But you don’t have to pay for the cur­rent round of Lib­eral ti­tles; in fact, in Lib­eral-land, some of the se­nior ones pay you.

Some­times, there are so many ti­tles rolling around that they just get stacked up on one an­other.

Look at Tom Os­borne, who is - take a big breath - “min­is­ter of fi­nance and pres­i­dent of Trea­sury Board, min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Hu­man Re­source Sec­re­tariat, min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Of­fice of the Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer and min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the New­found­land and Labrador Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion” or the MFPTRMRHRS­MRPSCMROCI­OMRNLLC for short.

Se­ri­ously, at this point the Speaker of the House of Assem­bly just calls Chris Mitchelmor­e, the min­is­ter of tourism, cul­ture, in­dus­try and in­no­va­tion, “the min­is­ter of TCII” in ques­tion pe­riod, be­cause no one can be both­ered to say the whole thing any­more. (It’s bet­ter than the old 2010 De­part­ment of In­dus­try, Trade and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, which used to go by the nick­name “In-turd.”)

There aren’t many lively ti­tles, though there is the fact that Lt.Gov. Judy Foote is “the Keeper of the Great Seal of New­found­land and Labrador,” able to stamp doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing those nam­ing cabi­net min­is­ters.

Imag­ine, though, if the names were a lit­tle bit more florid.

Dwight Ball could be “His Ex­cel­lency the Pre­mier and Slayer of Past Tories, Am­bas­sador to the Oth­ers and Sit­ter at the Head of the Big Ta­ble.”

Os­borne could be “Tom Os­borne, Lord High Pay­mas­ter, Keeper of the Colos­sal Debt and Key-Master of the Great Liquor Cel­lar.”

The mind bog­gles.

In any event, sprin­kling a few new ti­tles around should quell the grum­blings in the back­bench for a while - ex­cept for those left sit­ting with­out them. (But guys and gals, if you’re re­ally des­per­ate and down in the dumps about be­ing ti­tle­less, drop me a quiet note and I’ll show you how to be­come the next Lord or Lady of Thing­den and Burton La­timer - 3,150 quid, and worth ev­ery last penny.)

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