20 April 2007

Hearn hits back

Federal fish minister Loyola Hearn delivered a luncheon speech on Friday in which he took a few strips off the provincial government, in return for the strips Premier Danny Williams took off Hearn's hide a few days ago.

Hearn, seen at right at a function some months ago, seemed to be either pointing fingers at the Premier or, perhaps, inviting the feisty Mr. Williams to see what happens when he pulled Hearn's finger.

There is nothing uglier than a fight within a family.

Regular Bond readers will recall the cat fight last year, left [not exactly as illustrated], over Premier's scheme to install Andy Wells as head of the offshore regulatory board. That, too, had all the earmarks of a fight a la Crystal and Alexis.

Incidentally, Hearn's remarks as quoted by the CBC story kinked above as well as other reports on the speech, will seem familiar to Bond Papers' readers. Several federal departments are regular Bond readers but that is likely nothing more than a coincidence.

One thing is certain from today: John Crosbie had some good advice for both Williams and Hearn. Premier Williams should consider Mr. Hearn a potential asset in trying to deal with the current dispute on a diplomatic level. Crosbie knows exactly how much can be accomplished by a federal regional minister on behalf of the province.

He's done it before throughout disputes between St. John's and Ottawa during both the Brian Peckford and Clyde Wells administrations. The relationship between a premier and a regional minister doesn't always have to be amicable.

Heavens knows that Wells and Crosbie often had a few choice words for each other both publicly and - to tell tales out of school - in private. Let's just say that soundproof doors aren't quite so soundproof when two strong-willed politicians are involved in what can euphemistically be termed a difference of opinion. Through it all, though, they still met and they still took each others' telephone calls.

Can the same be said of the current situation?

Maybe Crosbie has another clue to a fundamental change that needs to happen.

If not, then Hearn's comment today on fighting it out in an election might be the only way to resolve matters. Perhaps Mr. Williams would consider running as an independent Progressive Conservative in the next federal election, potentially leading - as did Lucien Bouchard - a nationalist bloquiste party.

Williams could even take Hearn on directly, that is if Hearn will be running next time out. As much as your humble e-scribbler would not like to see that blood letting on his own front lawn, that contest might just get all the testosterone out of the air and let people start building productive relationships again.

No need for Canadian Tire to stock up on mounds of absorbent pads just yet, though. Current word from Ottawa is that there won't be an election until sometime in 2008.

In the meantime, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are likely to hear the family next door in a knock-down, drag-out on the front lawn for months to come.