27 April 2007

Fabulous Fabe

More than a few in Newfoundland and Labrador were surprised by this picture [Tom Hanson/Canadian Press].


Because instead of federal finance leprechaun John Flaherty sitting next to the Prime Minister, there was Avalon member of parliament Fabian Manning.

Normally a member doesn't get to sit on the treasury benches unless he or she is a member of cabinet. Yet, there's a nattily-dressed Manning, looking on as the much more sartorially splendid Prime Minister tackles questions during the daily Question Period.

Now Newfoundlanders and Labradorians weren't struck by the attire of the two men, although some will certainly note that Fabe looks good without high-priced help.

Nope, wags across the province were wondering why Manning is cuddling up to the Prime Minister during the fracas over Equalization promises. Some are even going so far as to add the Avalon MP to a list of fellows elected to parliament who seem to have turned their backs on their province. They wonder if Manning won't be getting his come-uppance at the polls for supposedly betraying the province.

It's a good question.

Except that the whole premise of the question is based on the belief that one can only be a good, proper, loyal and trustworthy Newfoundlander by backing the provincial government in the crise du jour.

Manning might pay, but by the time of the next federal election - anyone wanna bet on 2008? - odds are good that the ruckus with Harper will be forgotten and Manning will be re-elected handily. On top of that, Manning is the likely choice to replace Loyola Hearn should the province's current federal cabinet representative opt for retirement.

Odds are also good that Manning - ousted from the provincial Tory caucus in a dispute with Premier Danny Williams - will be taking advice from John Crosbie on how to conduct his business. Wouldn't that be an interesting development: Premier Danny Williams dealing with the guy he wouldn't have stay in his own caucus, and the fellow from the Southern Shore having his hand on bags of federal cash.

Talk about come-uppance.


Update: A quick check of the Commons seating chart indicates that The Fabulous Fabe was actually sitting in the seat normally occupied by Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transportation.

The finance leprechaun must have been absent that day or just not in the shot.