Rumors are circulating throughout New Brunswick today that Premier Shawn Graham may be undergoing an intensive psychiatric assessment under the province's mental health act.
Under the act anyone exhibiting behavior believed to be dangerous to themselves or to the general public can be detained without their permission until such time as a full assessment of their mental condition is determined. Typically an assessment of this type is expected to take anywhere from two to three weeks.
It has not been confirmed at this point but Premier Graham is believed to have been taken into custody by Fredericton police at around 9:00am Atlantic Time on Thursday and brought to the city's health facility. The authorities were called after several members of Mr. Graham's Liberal party and thousands of citizens across the province noticed that for several weeks the Premier had been acting very strangely and making illogical statements.
One Liberal member told me, on condition of anonymity, "I can't figure it out, he must be mad! He says he wants to give someone else control of our energy supply so we can have energy independence. What does that mean? It only makes sense if he wants us to be independent from using energy but we need that energy badly!!! I just don't know."
He went on to say, "I used to think the Premier knew what he was talking about but now he's saying everyone in the province is a bigot and that they're all stupid. Just yesterday he told me he and Jack Keir are going to build a snow fort and fight the raging hordes who are attacking them. Jack's out back now making snow balls for ammunition."
My source then began ripping out huge clumps of hair from his head and looking about wildly. This reporter on the scene promptly moved along.
Another source noted, "Shawn (Graham) has all but destroyed our party, our caucus is in shambles, everyone in the province hates us and if we don't keep him from selling everything in sight there'll soon be nothing left to govern. For his own good and the good of the province we had to act and act quickly before he did any more damage."
At that point the first Liberal member we spoke with, now hairless, ran screaming up the hall and was quickly joined by several other members of the party in a similar state of panic.
When I contacted the Premier's office for comment the phone was answered by a representative of Hill and Knowlton, the Premier's recently hired public relations firm, who would only say:
"Premier Graham is quite busy managing the affairs of the province, as he was elected to do. We expect Mr. Graham will be making a public statement in about 2 to 3 weeks concerning his aspirations to sell the city of Saint John to Poland for some Oreo cookies."
"There will be no further comment at this time."