stats Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


  This site         Tips

  The Web Google


  Where to Find It

Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business



Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store

Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business




  Arts & Entertainment



   Headline Index

 Other Sections

  Births & Deaths






  Facts & Arguments




  Real Estate









  Food & Dining




  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...


   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site



  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us



 Web Site

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


After telling Prince Philip about Ladle Cove, his birthplace, with no roads, electricity or television but 'where everybody took care of everybody,' he received a personal invitation to visit Buckingham Palace, but never made the trip
Special to The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article
Thursday, June 13, 2019 – Page B21

Beaton Tulk was Newfoundland and Labrador's deputy premier in October, 2000, when premier Brian Tobin decided to return to federal politics and tagged Mr. Tulk to replace him in the premier's office, on the eighth floor of the Confederation Building. "Beatie, don't forget to turn off the lights," Mr. Tobin said, according to Mr. Tulk's 2018 memoirs A Man of My Word. Mr. Tulk's four-month term, concluding Feb. 13, 2001, included a wildcat strike of lab and x-ray technicians, who were legislated back to work.

His brief time as Newfoundland's seventh premier was one chapter in a decades-long political career.

The premiership was "never a job that I wanted," he told CBC News in 2018. He had given his word to his caucus that he wouldn't subsequently run for the leadership.

"I loved the House [of Assembly]," he wrote in his memoirs, which he co-wrote with Laurie Blackwood Pike. "There's a special feeling you get when you are in there - the feeling of responsibility. ... When you are able to deliver for your own people something they might not have gotten otherwise, it is a wonderful feeling."

Mr. Tulk, who had a strong regional accent, was unapologetic about his roots in the outports of Newfoundland.

His district and his home were very important to him. "Ladle Cove was the place," he told CBC News of his birthplace on Bonavista Bay. "I was a dinner guest with Prince Philip one time and they asked me where I came from and I told them. I always believed I grew up in a cocoon where everybody took care of everybody. There were no roads, there was no electricity, there was no television. It was just a beautiful place."

He had met Prince Philip when, as Minister of Forestry, Agrifoods, Wildlife and Inland Fisheries, he was seated beside the Prince at a World Wildlife Fund dinner. Prince Philip, who was honorary chair, greeted him by asking: "Old chap, now where do you hail from?" Then, several weeks later, the Prince and Queen Elizabeth began a royal visit to Newfoundland, and the two met again at the Confederation Building. Prince Philip remembered him and asked that Mr. Tulk be selected to present him with a portrait of the bird sanctuary at Cape St. Mary's. Mr. Tulk later received a personal invitation from the Prince to visit Buckingham Palace were he ever in London. He never made the trip.

Mr. Tulk died on May 23, the day after his 75th birthday. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball noted his loss, and flags at provincial government buildings flew at half-mast.

Beaton Tulk was born May 22, 1944, in Ladle Cove, the youngest son of Sadie and Japhet Tulk. During his student days, his summer jobs included labouring at Churchill Falls for a season.

Mr. Tulk's accent, which included dropping his h's in some places and adding them in other places, was not always what the university faculty wanted to hear. "I remember on the first day of this class at Memorial [University of Newfoundland], the professor gave us each two words to pronounce," Mr. Tulk wrote. "Mine were 'hearth' and 'cloister.' I'm pretty sure you know what happened with that first one."

The professor told him he wasn't speaking proper English, and unless he pronounced it correctly there was no room for him in her class. He told her she was probably right, "then I walked h'out."

Nevertheless, he earned his bachelor of arts and bachelor of education from Memorial.

He then worked as an educator, and was principal of the Carmanville school system, but politics gradually pulled him in. A member of the House of Assembly since 1979, he was first elected as a Liberal for the district for Fogo, and re-elected in 1982 and 1985.

He lost the seat in 1989, the same election that brought the Liberals back to government. He served a stint as assistant deputy minister of Children and Youth Services, before winning Fogo back in 1993. After that election the riding was redistributed and he won what was now Bonavista North in 1996 and 1999.

His many, varied posts included deputy leader of the opposition, house leader, minister of forest resources and agrifoods, minister of aboriginal affairs, and acting minister of education.

He was out of cabinet, though, during the tenure of Clyde Wells (1989 to 1996). He and Mr. Wells were "oil and water," Mr. Tulk told CBC News, and Mr. Wells banished him to the backbench. In his memoirs he revealed he was approached to cross the floor during this time, but replied: "I play for the Montreal Canadiens, and you play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I'm sticking with my team."

His team stuck with him when in 1998 he weathered his one major scandal. John Woodrow, owner of the Paralegal Institute, a private college whose licence had been revoked, claimed he had paid bribes to Mr. Tulk's Department of Development and Rural Renewal. (Mr. Woodrow also brought a $90-million-dollar suit against the provincial government, but later dropped it.) Mr. Tulk quickly resigned. Two investigations, one by the Commissioner of Members Interest, and one by the RCMP (which Mr. Tulk requested), cleared him and he was welcomed back to cabinet in April, 1999. Notably, there was a provincial election during this "five months of hell," as he called it in his memoirs, and he won reelection with 75 per cent of the vote in February, 1999.

But his fortunes turned in 2002 when he attempted and lost a federal run in Gander-Grand Falls after George Baker was named to the Senate. He then ran in a provincial by-election for Bonavista North, the same seat he vacated for his federal bid, but lost again.

On Dec. 16, 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed him to the Canadian Transportation Agency, where he stayed for 51/2 years, until his retirement.

Mr. Tulk had a way with people, including his colleagues. He wrote that in his decades at the House of Assembly there were only two fellow MHAs he didn't like, but he declined to name them. "You must keep caucus solidarity, you must keep cabinet solidarity or otherwise people will not feel free to speak out," he told CBC News. "Be careful that you don't destroy the institutions that have served you so well."

Mr. Tulk was a die-hard Canadiens fan, an avid moose hunter and a skilled woodworker.

He leaves his second wife, Dora May Skiffington; his children, Cynthia, Christine and Conrad; and stepchildren Alicia and Kerry-Lynn.

Associated Graphic

Beaton Tulk, right, seen with then-premier of Newfoundland Brian Tobin in 1997, assumed the job of premier in 2000 when Mr. Tobin returned to federal politics. Mr. Tulk later told CBC News in 2018 that the premiership was 'never a job that I wanted.'


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Paul_Knox Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.


7-Day Site Search

Breaking News

Today's Weather


Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes

Where Manley is going with his first budget



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
Margaret Wente arrow
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game

Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
Mathew Ingram arrow
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
Andrew Willis arrow

Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
Eric Duhatschek arrow
Allan Maki arrow
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
 The Arts

John Doyle arrow
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
Johanna Schneller arrow

Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
Paul Knox arrow
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
William Thorsell arrow

Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page