RE­MEM­BER­ING BEATON TULK

The Western Star - - EDITORIAL -

Dear edi­tor: Beaton Tulk, for­mer teacher, MHA, cab­i­net min­is­ter and pre­mier, passed away Thurs­day.

He leaves behind him a strong legacy of ser­vice to the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador.

From 1979 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 2002 Tulk served in the House of Assembly as a Lib­eral MHA.

In gov­ern­ment, Tulk served as the min­is­ter of Forest Re­sources and Agri­foods, min­is­ter of Devel­op­ment and Ru­ral Re­newal and later as deputy pre­mier.

Fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of then Pre­mier Brian Tobin on Oct. 1, 2000, Tulk served as pre­mier of New­found­land and Labrador for four and a half months un­til Roger Grimes was elected Lib­eral Party leader and was sworn in as pre­mier on Feb. 12, 2001.

His time as pre­mier Tulk con­ducted him­self with ob­jec­tiv­ity dur­ing an emo­tion­ally volatile Lib­eral lead­er­ship race and com­pe­tently main­tained the ad­min­is­tra­tive af­fairs of the province. He again served as the deputy pre­mier from 2001 to 2002 and pro­vided as­sis­tance to Pre­mier Grimes dur­ing the Voisey Bay ne­go­ti­a­tions that re­sulted in a very prof­itable agree­ment for New­found­land and Labrador.

With all his mon­u­men­tal po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions to New­found­land and Labrador, Tulk had a greater per­sonal touch that was very much ev­i­dent dur­ing the 1993 fed­eral elec­tion cam­paign when he was serv­ing as the fed­eral Lib­eral party co-chair­man in New­found­land and Labrador. On an early au­tumn Satur­day Tulk took a group of ap­prox­i­mately 20 young Lib­eral cam­paign vol­un­teers — Memo­rial Univer­sity stu­dents and mostly from ru­ral New­found­land — out to din­ner as a re­ward for the hard work that they were putting into the cam­paign.

Tulk made those young peo­ple who were away from home feel wel­come in St. John’s, made them feel they were a big part of their first fed­eral cam­paign. He also made cer­tain shy townie youth feel en­gaged with kids his own age.

Tulk told us that the youth were el­e­vat­ing the spirit of the cam­paign and that our po­lit­i­cal en­gage­ment would be vi­tal to build­ing a bridge to a 21st cen­tury Canada.

On the night of Oct. 25, 1993, as the fed­eral elec­tion re­sults were com­ing in, Tulk and a few oth­ers were gath­ered in the main back­room of St. John’s West can­di­date Jean Payne’s head­quar­ters.

When it be­came clear Payne had won and a fed­eral Lib­eral wave was tran­spir­ing, a 21-year-old young Lib­eral who had been deeply in­volved in the cam­paign be­gan to cry as he shook the hands of ev­ery­one present.

When that young Lib­eral shook Tulk’s hand and Tulk saw the tears, Tulk said, “Young man, I’ve worked and run in many cam­paigns but see­ing the emo­tional ela­tion of tears of joy in your eyes makes me feel like a young Lib­eral again. You have worked your heart out on this cam­paign.”

About an hour later at the Ho­tel New­found­land party with our win­ning can­di­date Payne, Tulk and some other prom­i­nent Lib­er­als were stand­ing in the mid­dle of the lobby as hun­dreds of cam­paign vol­un­teers from both of the St. John’s fed­eral rid­ings were about to file in.

Tulk saw the young Lib­eral he had pre­vi­ously com­pli­mented come in and im­me­di­ately went up to him and brought him to meet Payne, the fed­eral MP elect, who grate­fully ac­knowl­edged his ef­forts on the cam­paign. In front of ev­ery­one, Tulk said, “This young man did so much for this cam­paign. I am so proud of his great work and pas­sion.”

Beaton Tulk made a 21-year-old kid on his first fed­eral cam­paign feel very prom­i­nent, and greatly up­lifted the boy’s spirit and self­es­teem. He helped the boy feel that he could win and mo­ti­vated him to continue on with life and at­tain mul­ti­ple post-sec­ondary de­grees and re­main in pol­i­tics.

Along with his great teach­ing and po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, Tulk gave all those young Lib­er­als a sym­bol of re­spect that we would seek the best for a bright fu­ture be­cause we had him as a tu­tor — The In­cred­i­ble Mr. Tulk.

John Ryall

Mount Pearl

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