Thursday, February 11, marks the 25th anniversary of a document that is second only to the Terms of Union in the profound transformation it caused in Newfoundland and Labrador in the past 100 years.
February 11 is the date on which the federal and provincial governments concluded the Atlantic Accord. We aren’t talking about the one-time load of “f” off money from 2005.
We are speaking here of the landmark federal-provincial agreement that is the underpinning of every single offshore oil penny that has ever come, bar none. Were it not for the 1985 agreement, there would be no offshore oil industry in this province, at least not the way it is today.
But there’ll be more on that later in the week.
Today, let’s take a quick look at the lighter side of events like this. Inevitably, they bring to mind the sorts of details, the tender morsels of information that only regular fans of Friday Cross Talk’s trivia show or jeopardy would bother to notice.
Who was Premier of Newfoundland – as the province was then called – in 1985?
Brian Peckford, of course.
Sadly, he is forgotten by too many people in our province, perhaps most surprisingly of all he is neglected – and has been savagely abused even - by the crowd who currently run the place.
But Brian stands out in another way.
Of all the post-Confederation Premiers who held the office as the result of a general election, Brian Peckford was the youngest person sworn into office as Premier. He was just 37 years old in 1979. He’d won the Progressive Conservative leadership and took office as Premier before the election, but unlike Roger Grimes, Beaton Tulk and Tom “43 days” Rideout, Peckford won his own mandate.
So here’s the rest of the trivia quiz for you. Sorry, there are no prizes other than the satisfaction of knowing you are a fountain of seemingly useless information too. And remember, we are excluding from our consideration those three post-Confed Premiers who didn’t win the job in a general election.
1. We know Brian Peckford was the youngest, but which Premier was the oldest at the time he was sworn into office?
2. Which Premier was second oldest at the time of swearing in?
3. Which Premier was the oldest at the time he left office?
4. a. What provincial district has the distinction of being the one from which the most post-Confederation premiers have been elected?
How many of those Premiers could be considered townies by place of birth? [To avoid any confusion, let’s restate this question to make it clear: Of the Premiers since Confederation, including Tulk, Grimes and Rideout, which one was born in St. John’s? That is who is the only townie Premier since 1949?]
5. If we take every single person sworn in as Premier (yes, including Grimes, Tulk and Rideout), list them in order from oldest to youngest at the time he was sworn in.
Perhaps your humble e-scribbler can come up with some prizes to hand out for the next contest.