Nfld. & Labrador

Bullies, boasts and mustard pickles: some of the things people told us in 2016

CBC Newfoundland and Labrador pulls highlights from the interviews we recorded over the last 12 months.

When all is said and done, 2016 did not disappoint for colourful characters, compelling stories and moving narratives. Here are some of the quotes CBC Newfoundland and Labrador recorded during a rather hectic year. 

"I haven't seen Newfoundlanders this upset since Danny Williams resigned." — Twitter user Ryan Graham, commenting in March on the end of Habitant and Zest brands of mustard pickles.

Nick Whalen eye roll 0:31

"She tried to provoke a reaction, and she obviously provoked one out of me. It was a bit of a Kramer experience, a full-body eye-roll." — Liberal MP Nick Whalen, who couldn't hide his reaction to Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant's accusations that the Grits have disdain for the military. 

"It was a big deal in the last U.S. election to 'drain the swamp,' I think we've got a swamp here that we need to drain." — Former mayor Andy Wells, taking aim at spending at St. John's city hall. 

Andy Wells and Dennis O'Keefe found themselves exchanging sharp words, again, in December. (CBC)

"He's been watching too much CNN." — St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe's response

So, sorry about that ghetto thing …

Here & Now host Debbie Cooper speaks with Globe and Mail Columnist Margaret Wente about her latest column on Newfoundland and Labrador. 5:49

"I think I got Newfoundland wrong and I think I got Newfoundlanders wrong." — Pundit Margaret Wente, speaking with CBC about why she retracted a notorious 2005 Globe & Mail column that described Newfoundland as a "vast and scenic welfare ghetto."

"I'm trying to get home and I have no way to get home." — David Layden, a Corner Brook man who had worked at the Walmart in Fort McMurray until wildfires broke out this spring. 

Seeing it through

Dwight Ball found himself on the defensive for much of the time after the spring budget. (The Canadian Press / Paul Daly)

"I'm as stubborn as they comes, and as committed as they come to the people of this province." — Premier Dwight Ball, responding in June to calls for his resignation from demonstrators unhappy with budget cuts and fee increases.

"Everyone thinks it comes easy for us. It doesn't … we broke everything, but we kept going, kept turning, kept fighting." — Robert Gardner, describing the gruelling Cain's Quest snowmobile competition he won in Labrador with teammate Andrew Milley.

Tragic ends 

Hailey Baker took her own in life in September. (Hailey Baker/Facebook)

"I am not ready, I cannot leave, I am not safe." Hailey Baker, speaking to CBC about her anxieties about the mental health system in the wake of her attempted suicide on Signal Hill. Baker took her life several months later.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Harbour Grace in April to pay tribute to Quinn Butt. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

"As you can see tonight with everybody here, she'll never be forgotten. Always in our hearts." — Lisa Stone-Drover, who attended a moving vigil in Harbour Grace in memory of five-year-old homicide victim Quinn Butt

Talk of the Tories

Paul Davis said in October he decided to step down in the best interests of the party. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

"I don't feel like I'm being forced out." Paul Davis, who announced in October he was stepping down as PC leader

"Lynyrd Skynyrd has a song, Free Bird, and that's kind of the situation I'm in right now." — Former PC leadership runner-up John Ottenheimer, describing why he's sitting out the race to succeed Davis

Steve Kent pulled back support for Kellie Leitch's Conservative leadership bid, citing her stance on a Canadian values test for new immigrants. (Liam Richards/Andrew Vaughan Canadian Press)

"We're an open, caring, tolerant, inclusive people and I think that's where most Canadians are."Steve Kent, explaining why he withdrew support for federal Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch. 

Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Kathy Dunderdale speaks with the CBC's Carolyn Stokes about her new job at the Gathering Place and life after politics. 2:53

"People have no idea what they're giving up when they go into politics, because your life is never truly your own again after." — Former premier Kathy Dunderdale in August, speaking publicly for the first time since resigning in January 2014. 


Professor Bill Montevecchi collected discarded seabirds near Upper Gullies, in Conception Bay South. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"This isn't hunting. This is just a crime against nature." — Scientist Bill Montevecchi, on the discovery of about 50 dumped seabirds on a Conception Bay South beach. 

Cathy Bennett with some of the messages that have been posted about her over the past year. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

"This is how it starts, because we excuse it, we don't call it out, we push it under the rug. I want all women to stand together, to be braver, and not be bystanders as others are abused … I want to put an end to cyberattacks that demoralize, humiliate and escalate." — Finance Minister Cathy Bennett, who spoke emotionally in December about online bullying and attacks. 

"I was flabbergasted. I was frozen. It was a hardcore porn film."Firefighter Brenda Seymour, who blew the whistle on the playing of an X-rated video at a Spaniard's Bay training session.

Opening up 

"You come to a point where you think you're totally in control of something, and you realize you're not."Liberal MP Seamus O'Regan, speaking after he sought help at a wellness centre for a drinking problem

"It's a shrine down there, it's a real museum of the cultural history of Newfoundland." — Cave diver Jill Heinerth, describing an underwater dive in the abandoned mines of Bell Island.

End of an era? 

"I wouldn't want to be starting off today as a young guy going to Fort McMurray. A lot of the work is not there. It may come back at some point, I suppose ... but when, we don't know. No one seems to know."Longtime Fort Mac commuter Tom Kennedy, featured in our Casualties of the Collapse series.

Ernest Simms says the Northern Peninsula is looking at a population decline it has never seen before. (CBC)

"I don't think there's any win. I think we're looking at a population decline that we've never seen before."St. Anthony Mayor Ernest Simms, reflecting on the already tough demographics of the Northern Peninsula. 

PM in the pews 

"It was a big surprise to me. To go to church, to be told by the RCMP that I would get a big guest, the Trudeau family." — Rev. Anthony Aikins, who presided over an Easter mass on Fogo Island attended by a vacationing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Fighting over fish 

Reg MacDonald, a fisherman from Summerside, knows who he is rooting for and it's not what he calls "the saltwater mafia." (Chris Ensing/CBC)

"We're looking at taking down what I consider as the saltwater mafia." — Summerside fisherman Reg MacDonald, explaining why he supports the fledgling FISH-NL union that is challenging the FFAW.

"You tell a fella you're going to knock his head off and shit down his neck, that's a figure of speech. If I wanted to knock his head off, I'd have no trouble doing it. I don't know about shitting down his neck." Fisherman Wayne Meade, about what was said at a FISH-NL meeting in Fortune in early November. 

Surprising turns of events 

Contempt proceedings against 96-year-old Dorothy Michelin were eventually dropped. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing to wait 96 years to be called to court and be called a criminal. I don't know what to make of that, my dear." — Dorothy Michelin, 96, of North West River, on being charged with contempt of court after taking pictures at Muskrat Falls. The charges were dismissed. 

Cheryl Feltham was struck by debris while driving along Waterford Bridge Road in St. John's. (CBC)

"I took my tongue and I felt the roof of my mouth and realized it was a tooth that shouldn't have been there." — Cheryl Feltham, who had her face smashed by a flying metal object that came through her windshield while she drove on Waterford Bridge Road.

"It rolled on its side, everything went flying. It was pretty intense. I really thought that was it." — Karen Case, a passenger aboard a transatlantic American Airlines flight that was diverted to St. John's in January after extreme turbulence. 

On the lighter side 

"It's like a palace up there. I keep expecting to run into Gordon Pinsent." — A Canadian guest renting an apartment belonging to Cameron and Mitchell of Modern Family, in a shout-out in January about the acting legend. 

Claudio Fracassi shows some of the soups he serves at his Ottawa restaurant. (Soup Guy Plus Facebook page)

"If anybody who comes from Newfoundland as a tourist or visiting for business, you tell me, I'll take your word for it … and you want to come in and try the Jiggs dinner soup, it's on the house." — Ottawa restaurateur Claudio Fracassi, who sells a soup based on the flavours of the Newfoundland staple.