Friday, January 4, 2013

Don’t forget to take your 'knockers' with you, Mr. Crosbie


Tour being given by Mr. Aubrey Green during "Their honours" visit to Francois, NL, in August 2012. The image adorned this year's Crosbie Christmas card.

John Crosbie's five-year term as NL's lieutenant-government will end shortly. In January 2008, near the eve of Crosbie's swearing-in ceremony, I wrote the below column for The Independent newspaper. No word on an official ceremony to reunite Crosbie with his knockers.
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Snip snip 
By Ryan Cleary, The Fighting Newfoundlander, Jan. 25, 2008 
I already miss John Crosbie, and he hasn’t even had his “knockers” removed yet.
That’s his word, not mine. I can’t imagine Crosbie without the sizeable knockers he walks around with. 
A mortal Newfoundlander would have to use a wheelbarrow. 
I can tell you this: he wouldn’t have had much of a career without his knockers. 
He definitely wouldn’t have been able to pour Sheila Copps that shot of tequila before he asked her to “lay own and love me again.”
But then the problem with feminists is that they have no sense of humour (Crosbie’s words again, not mine). 

They don’t know when to just “quiet down, baby.”
I come today not to bury Crosbie, but to indirectly praise him, and give “the old curmudgeon,” which is what he called his one-time column in the pages of this newspaper, a couple of last knocks for good measure. 
Crosbie is of that rare Newfoundland breed of politician who tells it like it is, who tells it without script, who opens his mouth, even after thinking, and still manages to ram both feet in good and stogger tight
Crosbie is to be sworn in as the province’s next lieutenant-governor on Feb. 4th during a ceremony at the House of Assembly, a rather formal setting for such a bloody procedure. 
Crosbie will no doubt take it like a man, silent and suffering, as long as the sergeant-at-arms lets him borrow the golden mace to clench down on. 
Imagine the bite marks from a Great White Crosbie.
God knows what will come out of his mouth before its sewn tight with regal stitching. 
How’s this for off-the-wall: “Eagles may fly but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines,” Crosbie told a recent gathering of political science students at Memorial University, “and I don’t know what I’ll be sucked into.”
That’s easy enough — Government House, the ultimate political pasture, the grandest retirement home in the land. 
BELLS AND WHISTLES 
As the Queen’s representative in Newfoundland and Labrador, Crosbie and wife Jane will take up residence on Military Road in Town, where they will be treated to all the bells and whistles that go with the post — private secretary, a gardener, chauffeur and cook.
All Crosbie will have to do is hand in his knockers at the door, and serve as the model of political correctness for the length of his five-year term.
Crosbie probably hopes that his relationship with Danny will be similar to that of former British prime minister Tony Blair and the Queen herself. 
The two used to consult on a regular basis on government business of the day. 
I wonder if Danny knows how to curtsy? 
At the very least the premier will have to learn to unclench his fist long enough to dangle his pinky from a dainty teacup.
“He’s a terror,” Crosbie says of Danny. “He’s got us all terrified.”
Not Crosbie, of course, who has Jane to hold his hand when times get tough.
Crosbie and I got into a wee scrap at the aforementioned conference. He went off his head when I said the Newfoundland fisheries were Confederation’s greatest failure
He pointed to the fish-aid package that the Mulroney government eventually approved as an example of Canada’s extreme generosity towards us. 
No doubt the money was good, I told him, but the cash created a passiveness in our people.
We should have went off our heads when the Grand Banks were emptied, but there was bread and butter on the table and moose in the freezer. 
What else is there to want and wish for?
Crosbie dared to defend Stephen Harper. 
“He hasn’t been able to carry out his promises because they were too damn hard to carry out.”
Crosbie still has the spark, but it’s flickering. 
Who will be left to carry the torch?
It’s always good to have an old political warhorse to call on, to put the younger politicians in their place, to speak their piece with so much more attitude than agenda. 
Brian Peckford criticized Danny not so long ago for leaving the fishery behind, and the premier was quick to put Peckford in his British Columbia place. Roger Grimes is one of the few retired politicians willing to speak freely, only the people aren’t so willing to listen.
They listen to Crosbie. 
The leaders of today, Danny excluded, aren’t as colourful as they once were. 
Crosbie cut his teeth on Joey Smallwood’s leg bone. 
No one bares their teeth at Danny, not yet they don’t. 
Crosbie dared to run for prime minister when he didn’t speak a word of French. 
His Chinese was probably better. 
Some say that an English-only speaking leader will never serve as PM, but the same people also said a Townie lawyer would never be premier. 
Crosbie dared to dream.
The three Conservative seats on the island’s east coast are said to be up for grabs, but the Liberal candidates who have stepped forward are uninspiring. 
Where is the voice of passion? 
Who are the leaders of tomorrow?
They aren’t working as editorial writers for The Telegram, I can tell you that. 
They’ll tell you on any given Saturday to stop moaning, that things aren’t so bad, that we’re survivors, and that’s enough. 
Such men never had knockers to begin with.

Let there be no doubt that I was a fiesty columnist. 

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