'A bright light shone from the heavens and a halo crested on the head of the premier' was how Nicky Skinner, a prominent local Liberal described the scene. The future looked bright indeed on that crisp September morning barely three months ago. As a climax to the love-in, a white dove blew in on the northeast gale and perched on the aerial atop Confederation Building. Surely we needed no other signs that the promised land lay just beyond the nearest fog-bank.
Premier Duh-wite introduced the new crop of ministers and their deputies to the people of our blessed land. They stood beside Himself in all their glory with pasty smiles that highlighted their naughty dreams of the bounteous manna that lay within their grasp.
"We look forward," said Dear Leader, "to the fresh ideas and unique skill sets which will bring prosperity to our province."
One hundred sixty-eight hours later (including the Lord's day), we received the first indication of Lucifer at work to derail the Liberal's good works. An open cellphone line caught Minister of the Environment, Perry Trimper, with his pants down--driving through the City of Gold, no less, with another prominent Liberal.
Did he ass-dial? We don't know. What we do know is that it was Friday, the thirteenth. That's a bad day by anyone's stretch of the imagination. For God's sake, stay home. The devil and all his demons are let loose on the world that day. Trimper's trials had just begun.
His racist conversation with his 'colleague,' disparaging the Innu and by extension, all First Nations people, automatically recorded itself on the phone of Mr. Dominic Rich of the Innu Nation, a thousand kilometers away in Labrador.
The classic case of bearing false witness. That very day, Premier Duh-wite erased Trimper's name from the Liberal Book of Life.
We know where that leads.
But that was not the only devilish concoction brewing in the Liberal cauldron. Out in Fortune Bay, Mowi (Northern Harvest) had unleashed an unprecedented environmental disaster on the harbors and beaches, and in the pristine waters along the coast. With the connivance of two levels of government, Mowi pumped thirteen thousand tons of festering, slimy, salmon slurry into the ocean. Massive fish 'mortalities' became massive cover-up.
Enter Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources. More cover-up, and a betrayal of his mandate to protect the interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We were unable to determine whether his loyalties lay with Mowi or with the Liberal Government. Had he given the 'kiss of Judas' to Duh-wite? Had he become the high priest, Caiaphas, who turned us all over to aquaculture mega-corporations? Would the environment be crucified?
In the People's House, he became a klazomaniac in jack-boots.
He snarled, shouted, pointed fingers at others. Remember Ahab and Jezebel? Thou shalt not spread a false report--malicious lies--alternative facts--false narratives. The opposition MHAs became moose poachers and racists. In olden days, a good old-fashioned public stoning in the middle of Bowring Park would have been the penalty.
Nowadays, an apology is just fine.
Through it all, Dear Leader maintained a spiritual silence for the entire month of September. Rumor has it that he hid in a lean-to on the Gaff Topsails scourging himself with juniper boughs. His disciple, newly appointed environment minister, Derrick Bragg, took a self-imposed vow of silent meditation as well and retired to a cave at Brimstone Head on Fogo Island.
Along came December and all the promise of peace and goodwill from 2000 odd years ago.
Not in the House of Assembly.
Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour, (Christ)opher Mitchelmore, is caught red-handed violating the laws of Leviticus against deferring to the rich and privileged and engaging in cronyism. One Carla Foote, a party hack, and daughter of the Lieutenant Governor was appointed to a plum job at the rooms.
Didn't Christ himself teach us not to engage in partiality because of social or economic status? I think so.
At the root of it all was dishonesty, bearing false witness, and lying. "She is going to be the connector between government, all of core government and The Rooms and the public," said Mitchelmore a year ago.
Like a coupling in a sewer pipe.
As you may have gathered, I am not a religious person by nature. That said, over the last two sessions of the House of Assembly, politicians have sorely tested my faith in humanity. I have, therefore, increasingly looked to the spiritual realm for solace, serenity, and common sense.
My search for comfort has not been limited to the scriptures of Christ, although they have much to recommend them in times of trial and tribulation. St. Luke, for example, maintains that lying is an evil, greater than drinking wine--of the two, I am more partial to the latter. Favoritism is sinful said James, son of Zebedee.
The Talmud of our Jewish brethren teaches us that the liar's punishment is that no one believes him even when he is telling the truth.
The Qu'ran of our Muslim brothers and sisters classifies lying as one of the seventy greater sins. All the evils have been locked in a room, and the key is lying. Even the angels curse the liars. All the faithful stay on the right page by memorizing the major sins: collecting taxes--my favorite, frequent lying, a leader deceiving his people, betrayal of trust, and highway robbery ie, the Ball levy. There are sixty-five others.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism--they all provide the same direction. Bob Marley, in his Rastafarianism, said it best: "Excuse me while I light my spliff. Good God, I gotta take a lift. From reality, I just can't drift. That's why I'm staying with this riff." It's a little obscure but that was Marley at his best.
But perhaps good advice for ministers of the crown who now control the supply of weed.
All of it boils down to just one thing, one pearl of wisdom, one commandment. Remember when you were a child and trouble became your constant companion; you stole a penny from the collection plate, lied, and blamed it on your friend. Then, your mother and father threatened to disown you, and your siblings scorned you for bringing dishonor to the tribe. Who was the one person who offered support, solace, and a soother for the troubled soul while at the same time placing you firmly back on the straight and narrow?
Albert Einstein famously said that you don't really understand something unless you can explain it to your nan.
So my commandment is this: if nothing is going well, call on your nan.
As for you, Christopher Mitchelmore, after that crappy apology in the House last week, think about what your nan would have said.