Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crosbie: ‘I’d sooner have a foot in my mouth than be afraid to say anything’

John Crosbie Says, ‘The Pope and The Archbishop Can Kiss My--’

— The front-page headline of the Oct. 17th, 1919 Morning Post, a then-St. John’s newspaper owned by Sir Richard Squires.

•••

And people wonder where John Crosbie gets it from.


John Carnell Crosbie, NL’s current Lieutenant Governor, has a famous tongue, a direct inheritance from his grandfather, Sir John Chalker Crosbie (1876-1932), who started the family’s political and business dynasty, which flourishes to this day.


The Crosbie family bloodline (and nerve of it) was brought home to me Wednesday afternoon at Government House in St. John’s when the Lieutenant-Governor pulled me aside after an MHA swearing-in ceremony.


Crosbie asked if I had seen a copy of “the newspaper.”


I thought he was referring to The Independent, the defunct St. John’s newspaper I once ran, but Crosbie was actually talking about an obscure city newspaper from almost a century ago.


Crosbie led me to a room and showed me a framed copy of the front-page of the Oct. 17th, 1919 Morning Post.


The main headline was incredibly sensational for the day (see the quote that starts this post), but then the newspaper was a political one, and politics in NL has always been No Holds Barred, the title of John Carnell Crosbie’s memoir.


Telling a suicide-bomber joke doesn’t sound half as serious as telling the Pope and Archbishop what to kiss.


Especially a century ago when Popes and Archbishops appeared much closer to God than they do today.


Crosbie may be his grandfather's spit.

•••

The swearing-in ceremony at Government House was for new Opposition MHAs Dale Kirby, a New Democrat (St. John’s North), and Jim Bennett, a Liberal, (St. Barbe).


Crosbie spoke about the importance of a good opposition, “which every government needs.”


As always, Crosbie was funny.


"No heckling please," Crosbie said at one point during the ceremony after Kirby's infant baby boy made a noise.


Of his most recent controversial joke, Crosbie said: “I’d sooner have a foot in my mouth than be afraid to say anything.”


To survive in NL politics you have to be a character, which is no easy task in a land of characters.

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