In a display
of partisanship, fundamental unfairness to the Member for St. John’s Centre,
Gerry Rogers, and unspeakable bad judgement, House of Assembly Speaker Ross
Wiseman engaged in a political hatchet job on Tuesday, with the Government, to embarrass
the NDP.  

The House of
Assembly is more than a place where laws are made.  It is a debating forum where the people’s
issues are supposed to be given light by their elected representatives. The cut
and thrust of debate often has a contentious quality.  It is the Speaker’s role to ensure that it is
conducted in an atmosphere of decorum, failing which the disrespectful (including
any who fail to comply with a ruling by the Speaker) are punished. 

For this
reason the Speaker, though an elected partisan, must be one capable of rising
above partisanship.  He must possess a
good intellect, an ability to listen to the arguments of all parties and be
capable of rendering a fair judgement. 
In short, he must be one who is not possessed of an ‘apprehension’ of

In the case
of the Member for St. John’s Centre, the charge was not one that arose in the
heat of debate.  It was raised in a
Statement by one, no less than the Minister of Justice.  Darin King confirmed that this hatchet job
was not only malicious; it was determinedly so. 
The Minister charged that Rogers was a member of the Facebook group “Kathy
Dunderdale must GO!!!” in which, according to CBC, “users had posted comments
containing death threats against the Premier”.  We are talking “Facebook”, which like many
other social media is a constant source of hacking and impersonation.  Even this scribe had his Twitter Account
hacked; imagine what a target are the social media accounts of elected Members! 

Anyone who
is even is peripherally familiar with social media, would have to weigh in
favour of the Member on the basis of her own simple denial. What is more, even had
even the Member acknowledged that she was a voluntary member, which she did not,
she could not be faulted because some of participants in the group chose to be
stupid or worse. That the Speaker chose to demand an apology from the Member,
in the absence of a single shred of evidence that her membership in the group was
voluntary rather than ‘volunteered’ by  a
person unauthorized, indicates a level of judgement, on his part, that is both baffling
and disturbing, at the same time.  Evidently,
according to the Speaker’s twisted logic, if one Tory is a crook they must all
be crooks! The concept of guilt by association is truly beneath contempt.

That the
Speaker willingly engaged in a hatchet job on the Member for St. John’s Centre
is a certainty.  That he is a disgrace to
the esteemed office of “The Speaker” is uncontestable. At least three other
things are certain. 

First, this
plot was hatched in the Premier’s Office. 
The Government is fearful of the NDP; it will do anything to cause one
of that Party’s Members embarrassment, even if it risks embarrassing itself.

Second, Darrin
King was given his instructions and like the weak Minister he is proving to be,
was incapable of calming his First Minister. 
The lady is clearly possessed of a bunker mentality; one that is getting
worse, as the political thermometer heats up. That a Minister of Justice, one
whose role is to act with uncompromising integrity, a beacon for fairness and
high principle, would engage in such a contemptible tactic, is tough to
contemplate.  Gerry Ottenheimer was a
former NL Tory Leader, Minister of Justice and served as the Speaker for
several years.  Notwithstanding his years
as a partisan, his service, as an impartial legislative ‘arbiter’, was beyond
reproach. He must be rolling over in his grave at the antics of this lot.

Third, that
the Speaker exhibited such a high degree of bad judgement, for which there is
likely no equal in the annals of Hansard of this Province, he ought to step
down, forthwith.

Tuesday was
not a good day for democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. Without doubt, the accusations such that they were and the elaborate chain of alleged associations and conclusion jumping could not have taken place anywhere but under the safe umbrella of the legislature's Member's privilege and immunity. If the same accusations were uttered outside of the house, I am sure that the Minister of Justice would be facing a gigantic lawsuit. It is telling that these accusations were made only in the house and not employed in having the alleged threats investigated by police. All the more distasteful was the way that Premier Dunderdale was likened as a victim to people hurt and killed in Boston this week and at the tragic crimes of the 9-11 attacks. How low would anybody have to be willing to go in hopes of piggy-back riding genuine sympathy for those poor victims? It is the most soul-less political "prank" I have ever seen.

  2. I spend most of my day on a computer. I am an accountant by trade and most of my work is done there. I am active on Facebook and a few other media. I am continually astounded at products, videos, links that I am purported to have agreed with – in the hope, I image, that my friends might be entices to look closer because I have. Even my email account is a flurry of activity telling me how to hire an accountant, what scotch I should buy, who can best prepare my taxes – clearly, except for the scotch – a bad drilling job on my email as I would hope all they are recommending I could do myself; though they might know something I don't.
    I believe little of what I find on Facebook, and I hold suspect each and every link and comment that appears to come from a friend. I am a nobody – I can only image how malicious this could get if someone WANTED to malign me.

  3. The old sitcom “Happy Days” have had numerous contributions to popular culture. One of these contributions is the term “Jump the Shark” in reference to the 5th season when the Fonz made the jump which marked the gradual end of the sitcom’s relevance in American life. To quote wikipedia “the usage of jump the shark has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment when a brand, design, or creative effort's evolution loses the essential qualities that initially defined its success and declines, ultimately, into irrelevance”.

    There were so many issues which should have been debated in the house of assembly yesterday. The massive government layoffs, the price of Brent Crude dipping below 100 $/barrel (already 5% less than what was forecasted in the budget), or the fact that hydro used 600 GWhr less energy in 2012, when compared to the famous DG2 estimates.

    Newfoundland has many serious challenges. Instead of debating issues, this government decided to play petty politics and try to fabricate a crisis. I encourage the people of the province to review the hansard webcast. I was embarrassed for King, and the premier. Most importantly I was embarrassed for this province. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are not naive, and we deserve better.

    Yesterday Premier Dunderdale, Darrin King, and Ross Wiseman, all jumped the shark…

  4. If this "guilt by association" philosophy espoused by the NL Conservatives is carried through, then every member of the Conservative Party of Canada who did not resign in March of 2011 is guilty of contempt of Parliament, and if they're still members then they're guilty of receiving inappropriate campaign contributions. What a crowd of miscreants!

    I'm appalled at the events that took place yesterday; I take comfort, though, in the fact that there has been a huge outpouring of support for Ms Rogers as a result.

  5. There Have Not been Many Good Days For Democracy Since This Government Took Over… Then Brought In Bill 29 To Cement Their Aragance… Imagine The Minister Of Justice Taking That Kind Of Action Without A Shread Of Evidence… Mr. King Is The One That Should Be Removed From The House… Guess he Will Have To Back Paddle Again Now… Shameful !!!!