BY PAUL HERRIDGE
The Southern Gazette
In the end, the 8th annual fund raising dinner for the Grand Bank Heritage’s Society’s Mariners’ Memorial June 7 was another big success for the organization.
First to the podium was Mr. King’s close friend and colleague in the PC cabinet Clyde Jackman, the Minister of Education and MHA for Burin-Placentia West.
Mr. King joined Mr. Jackman in the House of Assembly in 2007 and, representing two adjacent districts on the peninsula, the pair often work in tandem.
“It’s a great pleasure to work with Darin, there’s no doubt about it.”
Mr. Jackman shared a few tales of the duo’s hijinks together, including a comical tale on the campaign trail on the Northern Peninsula, and made light of Mr. King’s penchant for showing up in photographs.
Referencing the well-known illustrations where the title character is hidden among a cluttered page for the viewer to find, he joked, “I don’t think he knows this yet, but the word around now is, if you see a picture on Facebook for the Burin Peninsula, they say, ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Where’s Darin?
“They figure he’s got to be in the picture somewhere!”
Up next was long-time St. Lawrence councillor and renowned storyteller Pat Brake, who was not scheduled to speak, but agreed to speak off the cuff when emcee Grand Bank Deputy Mayor Clayton Welsh saw him enter the Lions Centre earlier in the evening.
Mr. Brake had the audience in fits of laughter with several jokes, and despite protestations he would “not roast” the MHA, Mr. King hilariously was the punch line for a few of them.
Up last was Grand Bank native and former MP Bill Matthews, who took the nature of roasting to heart and skewered his former student over some of the most recent political headlines.
Among them was the handling of the much-publicized – and ultimately brief – hiring freeze and layoffs within in the province’s public service.
“There’s one thing we can say about Darin. When he makes a decision, he sticks to it, doesn’t he?”
Mr. Matthews also revealed the MHA was a fan of CB radio in his youth, and joked about his handle ‘Space Boy’.
“When I reflect back on the recent session of the House of Assembly, he’s gone from ‘Space Boy’ to spaced out!”
Mr. King later admitted it was Mr. Matthews at the podium he was most ‘worried’ about.
But Mr. Matthews was, of course, poking fun at Mr. King’s expense and praised the MHA for the many good things he has accomplished for his district.
“The competition is so great for those few dollars that unless you have somebody strategically placed to represent you … it doesn’t happen automatically.
“I think you are a lucky district to have elected Darin King as your MHA.”
Mr. Matthews also paid tribute to the Grand Bank Heritage Society for its work, particularly the Mariners’ Memorial project, to honour those lost as sea.
Mayor Darrell Lafosse, who also grew up with Mr. King and shared an anecdote or two during his greetings earlier in the evening, credited the organization as well for its efforts in the community.
“The compliments that we receive and we hear throughout the town from our visitors certainly speaks volumes to your work.
“We have a first class monument to all the sailors that were lost at sea, from not only this community, but from coastal communities all around the island.”
Mr. King acknowledged, while the memorial continues to be the main project, the group has been responsible for a number of positive initiatives over the years.
“The Grand Bank Heritage Society is a wonderful organization who’ve done tremendous work, not only for the Town of Grand Bank, but for the entire province.”