The Current

Rick Mercer on the time a gun-waving John Crosbie threw him off his lawn

Firebrand politician John Crosbie has died at 88. Rick Mercer remembers the man who played a dominant role in his beloved Newfoundland and Labrador for decades.

Late politician was a gentleman with a 'great sense of humour,' says Mercer

The late politician John Crosbie in 2011. He died Friday, aged 88. (Paul Daly/Canadian Press)
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Rick Mercer remembers the late politician John Crosbie as a gentleman with a "great sense of humour" — something he displayed while filming with Mercer for CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

The pair filmed the skit at Crosbie's home in the late 1990s, Mercer told The Current.

"We came up with this gag where he was going to throw me off his land at the end, and he said: 'Oh, I've got something for you.'" 

Crosbie went into his shed, and re-emerged with a gun. 

"He threw me off the lawn and he said: 'The CBC can kiss my…' and blam, he fired the gun over my head," Mercer said.

"It was a great moment, it scared the hell out of me."

Mercer remembers that Crosbie's wife Jane Furneaux came running out of the house.

"She said, 'John, you told me you got rid of that!'" Mercer said.

"And he looked at me and he said: 'It's time for you to go.'" 

The veteran politician died Friday, aged 88. He spent more than 50 years in public life, serving in several federal cabinet portfolios, and latterly as Newfoundland and Labrador's lieutenant-governor.

Watch Crosbie here in a later episode of 22 Minutes with Mark Critch and Shaun Majumder:

Mark Critch brings Raj Binder (Shaun Majumder) to meet Nfld. Lt. Governor, John Crosbie, and share some Newfie jokes. 2:36

"In many ways, he was our most famous Newfoundlander for many, many decades," said Mercer. 

"And we were OK with that because he embodied all the qualities that we're proud of: He was hard working, he was passionate, he was capable and had a hell of a sense of humour."


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Karin Marley and Joana Draghici.

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