National Treasure #118: John Crosbie

“No, I don’t speak Mandarin Chinese either.”
– Crosbie’s retort when running for leadership
of federal Progressive Conservative Party
and asked whether his inability to speak French
would hinder him as PM (1983)

That’s vintage Crosbie. Politically incorrect and proud of it. Or maybe, just maybe, oblivious?

“I don’t care if he is having sexual relations with effing cats.
He’s a fine man and he’s our candidate…I’m supporting Ross 100 per cent.”
– What Crosbie reportedly told party workers concerned about a candidate
who refused to deny rumours that he was gay (1988)

Yup, that’s vintage Crosbie too.

John Crosbie would have made an interesting Prime Minister. As it was, he worked as a lawyer and then held numerous political positions:

  • Municipal – Member of St. John’s City Council
  • Provincial – Cabinet minister in Joey Smallwood’s Liberal cabinet as well as in Frank Moore’s Progressive Conservative one
  • Federal – Progressive Conservative member of Parliament and cabinet minister under Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney

Federally, he annoyed female Liberal politicians with his breezy and dismissive remarks about and to them, but he also did several things they likely agreed with:

  • Espousing choice on abortion
  • Liberalizing divorce laws as Minister of Justice
  • Appointing more women to the bench than his predecessors
  • Advocating for gay and lesbian rights before that was a given

He served as Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador from 2008 to 2013, a position in which he offended some at least by wearing a sealskin coat to several events when members of the Royal family visited the province – a statement of support for the annual seal hunt.

Yup, that’s Crosbie.

See more here:

Parlinfo entry

His hardest political moment

Reflecting on his “Pass the tequila, Sheila” comment


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