09 February 2010

Trivimania: the Premier Edition

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?

b.  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?]

And finally,…

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.



Mark said...

1. I'm gonna guess Beaton Tulk was oldest at his swearing in. But Danny Williams is certainly the oldest Premier we have ever elected.

That would make Williams the answer to question # 2.

#3 must be Smallwood.

4(a) It's either Humber West or Bay of Islands. Tobin and Wells both represented Bay of Islands, while Moores and Williams represented Humber West. Joey may have represented one of the Humber ridings early on, so I am going to guess it's Humber West. Someone'll run to Wikipedia and prove me wrong.
4 (b) Assuming the answer to (a) is Humber West, then the answer is two, if it's Bay of Islands the answer is neither.
5. Tulk, Williams, Grimes, Moores, Wells, Tobin, Rideout, Peckford

Mark said...

P.S. I am assuing that by "swearing in" you mean their first "swearing in".

Ed Hollett said...

Doing trivia when you are tired is the same as doing it when you are drunk.

What i was basically trying to distiguish was the Premiers who actually got the office through a general election, and for those like Peckford who were sworn in as Premier before that, the date on which they were first sworn in.

I cut out Tulk, Rideout and Grimes for most because they never won a GE as Premier. Then I tossed them in at the last one to see.

Since I was relying on my tired memory and not an actual reference, let me take another stab at the district one. I may have gotten it cocked up. The n again, someone might want to try and take a run at sorting out the Humber West and East seats and the Bay of Islands seat. You are in the spot I was thinking of but I may have cocked up the details.

Mark said...

Wells ran in Humber East as leader in 1989, but lost the seat. He was subsequently acclaimed in a byelection a few months later in the neighbouring district of Bay of Islands, the same district which Tobin represented briefly when he first became Premier.

Moores and Williams have both represented Humber West. That's for certain.

Joey intended to run in Humber East in Squires' last campaign (pre-Confederation), but did such a bang up job organizing the place that Squires instead ran there himself.

I presume that Wells' original seat, from his days in Joey's caucus, was what is now Humber East, although the boundaries at the time may not have coincided with the three Corner Brook area ridings which have existed since the early 1970s.

...not that I spend any time analyzing past trends in any of the Corner Brook area ridings, or anything.

Greg.com said...

Can't answer Ed's trivia questions but can add that Brian Peckford is well known in my hometown of Qualicum Beach B.C. for his frequent contributions to the local newspapers.

Ed Hollett said...

I double-checked with the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mark.

Under the entry on elections there is every result, by district in every general elections from the dawn of time to 1979 or so.

If you think about it for a minute you are on the right track.

There is however one seat which has been held by more Premiers than any other. You missed a Premier in one of your accounts. The fellow moved around a couple of times in different seats.

On 4 (b), the townie question, I'll rephrase it to make it clear: which Premier since Confederation was born in St. John's? Include them all, include Tulk, Grimes and Rideout.

Mark said...

I have no encyclopedia to check, but did Brian Peckford and Tom Rideout both represent the Baie Verte-Springdale riding?