I was
expecting a call from Uncle Gnarley.  The
old man had not gotten me to Post anything, for him, in quite a while.

I was happy
to finish “Peering Into A Political Pressure-Cooker”.   It was a depressingly tough slog for someone
with an optimistic bent.  Politics is not
conducted in isolation, it may be an activity often removed from the public,
but it is always about public money.  So,
not only politicians are affected when the fever of bad leadership threatens contagion,
it is a problem for us all.

The Blog piece
out of the way, I thought I might sketch some suggestions as to how Dunderdale
might put the Government on “re-set”. She has lost much public confidence.  She says the problem is her tough decisions.

Still, it is
hard to mistake public policies, like Bill 29 and terrible Budget practices,
for tough love. 

I have to
admit, the notion of a new script for a Premier, one down on her luck, caused
me to think the exercise whimsical. Then, I thought, a little whimsy is hardly worse
than sheer presumption.  I would be the
last person in the world whom she would ask to “re-set” her Administration.

The problem
with incurable optimists is that they isolate themselves from cynicism, leaving
it to others to be sceptical.  Uncle
Gnarley is certainly one of the latter. Of course, he hasn’t been around since
his fishing trip on the Labrador, which is why just possibly I am overdue for
an attitudinal correction.  Nav has
probably already gotten his.

After posting
Premier, A Province-Wide Address is Required, sometime ago, I got to thinking that if the
Premier did a “re-set”, it would only make sense that she engaged the whole
Province, as long as it didn’t conflict with “Republic of Doyle”.

I had in
mind a big production, one my long passed namesake in showbiz, called “a really
big shew”.  The Premier might ask all
broadcast media for time.  Now that she
is back on Twitter, even social media would not be denied.

I had the
idea that the Premier could be a “Fireside Al” type.  He used to read stories on the CBC and,
anyway, Dunderdale is always game for a little fiction.  A few junks of wood flown down from the
Muskrat Falls site, a couple of lumps of coal, of which she seems to have
plenty, would be all that is necessary to illuminate her remarks.  Certainly the logs for the fire would be no
more expensive than any other part of the Muskrat Project.

everyone knows you have to grab the audience quickly.  Having made her opening greeting, she would
begin to apologize right off the bat, saying she was sorry for Muskrat Falls,
sorry for Bill 29, sorry for the Budget fiascos, sorry for laying off so many
public servants, sorry that she had picked a fight with Jerome Kennedy, sorry that
she couldn’t give him what he was demanding. 
The torrent of apologies would continue. 
The Premier would state she was sorry Tom Marshall is such a wimp, sorry
that she told everyone in the Caucus not to dare run against her, else she
would sic Danny Williams on them and they would be sorry, too.  She would throw in three or four more mea
culpas if, at any time, she thought the contrition not sufficiently heartfelt.

If the
Premier shed a few tears, of remorse; that would be great.  The public would just lap it up. Sure, all
Danny had to do was crook his little finger and everyone went gaga.  If her mascara started to run, all the
better; she would just look like a choir girl, on Ash Wednesday. I just know we
could count on Wendy Mesley to convene a Panel to discuss its national
implications!  The most inspirational
moment would begin, of course, with the “snottin’ and bawlin’”, an approach
perfected, years ago by Tammy Faye Bakker, the American televangelist.

As I was
thinking through this great charade, it came to my attention that these ideas would
be bolstered with the affirmation, no less, of high level academic authenticity.  Saying you are sorry, according to a recent Harvard University Study, even if they are “superfluous apologies”, will likely
result in one being “perceived as likeable and trustworthy”.
 According to the Study’s Author, these expressions of regret or sympathy, or
any act of saying you are sorry, shows “empathetic concern”.  And god knows, empathy to Dunderdale, is not exactly
like loaves and fishes.

difference, of course, is that Dunderdale’s would be “serious” apologies and
not the “superfluous” ones that the Harvard Researcher studied. So, imagine the
moral bounty she would create. 

Now, the
Premier, being one fond of extemporaneous articulation, (saying all sorts of stuff
off-the-cuff), would want to tell the public how it feels to engage in an
activity so restorative and downright uplifting.  She might burst out into a bunch of hallelujahs,
arms flailing and shout to the top of her lungs:  why did I ever think “sorry” would be the
hardest word?

At this
point Dunderdale would tell the public she never really wanted to be Premier
anyway, that Danny had put her up to it; that all she had ever wanted was to
sing.  With perfect pitch, accompanied by
Clyde Jackman on the guitar, she would belt out….’that it never crossed her
‘achy breaky heart’ that we wuz ‘hurtin’ so bad’.

I was
getting excited about all these great themes when suddenly the phone rang.  I didn’t even want to answer, such was my
enthusiasm for the Premier’s “extreme make-over”.  But, I was left with little choice; it was
Uncle Gnarley. 

Before he
got a word out, edge-wise, I made him listen to every single idea for getting
Premier Dunderdale back into the public’s good books.  When I was finished, for the briefest of
moments, I thought he might say:  good
job, Des.  No such friggin’ luck!  All I got was this huge pregnant pause………………and
then…an ungodly roar…… 

In an
instant, I realized whimsy was not something one should try on Uncle Gnarley.  But, it was too late.  “Have you gone off your god damn rocker,
son.  You must be out of your cottin
pickin’ jeesley mind!  Don’t you know
Dunderdale doesn’t do apologies!  She doesn’t
apologize to anyone or for anything.  Do
you know why, dumbbell?  Because she
thinks she’s right and everyone else is as stunned as her arse.” 

But, Uncle
Gnarley, I begged him….listen for a second; but it was no use…. 

Gnarley continued (and I knew he must now be beet red); “the only bloody
surprise is that she hasn’t re-written Joe Smallwood’s Book, “No apology From
Me”.  Except Dunderdale would only have enough
originality to call the damned thing, “No Apologies From Me”. 

And, then, what
did Uncle Gnarley do?  Just as Dunderdale
had done with the PM’s Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, he ‘banged up’ the phone!

I knew Uncle
Gnarley was right.  I just couldn’t
understand what possessed me to think the Premier salvageable.  I said, thanks Uncle Gnarley, knowing the
line was already disconnected. 

When it
comes to our Premier, hope is just not something an optimist can afford.

I promised
myself to forever put away whimsy.

From now on,
when these Harvard researchers come up with some new theory, I’m gonna let them
try it on the Republican Tea Party, first.

about it, now, the apologies wouldn’t have worked, anyway.  Sometimes it takes an Uncle Gnarley to remind
us, there’s no cure for bad judgment.

Perhaps, only
an election will work, if not for Dunderdale, then for us. The Nova Scotians seem
to have hit on an excellent idea! 
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. The news is generally depressing. I read much of it online. My wife says perhaps she should give me a "tap" whenever I picks up the laptop. I made no comment to that, but wondered if her suggestion was probably a good one.
    Four hours later I felt the urge to check out Uncle Gnarley. I soon became self aware that I was smiling. When I got to the "achy breaky heart" bit, I noticed I had a real belly laugh. Further on, another belly laugh, where Uncle Gnarley says " she thinks she right and everyone else is as stunned as her arse". To think, laughter is the best medicine, Reader's Digest used to say, and free of charge on this site. Thanks Des. Winston Adams

  2. She (Kathy) couldn't get elected mayor in her hometown…What does that say for support. Also, Darrin the 'twit' and 'clyde' the great are worst again!!! Baglicking at its finest. Cant wait for them to be shown the door. Oh! and don't get me started on that O'brien…he used to turn my guts back when he advertised milk on sale on the radio in gander before he was the MHA! 😉