My grandfather Malone was a real St. John’s man. He was Catholic and anti-Confederate. The capital had voted heavily against Confederation in the 1948 referenda. My grandfather worked for the ultimate St. John’s merchant firm which was Bowring Brothers and it appears he bought whole hog into the notion that “the firm” was important.

He looked after the horses that Bowring Brothers owned and went to “the ice” once, not as a sealer covered in blood and guts, but as a ship’s carpenter. I still have the old wooden trunk he took to the hunt on “the Eagle”… that trunk was for his personal belongings.


I remember well his interest in politics. He was an ardent P.C. supporter. That party in the early days was largely, although not exclusively, the remnants of the St. John’s anti-Confederate movement. Now Mom and Dad and all the rest of the family were Liberal. 

My family was a Liberal “family” and so I became Liberal. It’s the way things were. Dad did work for a Water Street company which was Parker and Monroe Limited (the Friendly Shoe Men) but he hated it there. Luckily things have changed now. I have no idea how my sons vote. When they were younger they seemed to be against everything. Who knows now. 

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 By a circuitous route that brings me to an expression, I heard grandfather use in a political context. It came after Liberal upstart Rick Cashin ousted P.C. heavyweight W.J. (Billy) Browne in a federal election in St. John’s West. I think it was 1963. When the votes were first counted it looked like Browne had squeaked out a victory, but when the armed forces vote was included, the so-called “service vote,” Cashin had the victory. The Liberals always won the service vote. Grandfather Malone the next morning lamented the Cashin win and said that he had “lost” his vote. To him “losing” his vote meant he didn’t vote for the winning candidate.


Well, we know better now. Voting is a process of choice and the last time I looked it was the envy of a large part of the world.

When we vote we get to choose who is going to govern and when we vote we are a participant in the process. You can’t possibly lose in that setup. If you vote you are a winner whether or not your candidate gets elected. The only way you lose is if you decide to opt out of the process.

You are getting the message. Go and vote in this election if it hasn’t already happened or in the next one if you are reading this after the votes have been counted. Make sure you don’t “lose” your vote.


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