Each week the Legislature is in session we’ll give out four prizes for the best and worst moments, as recorded in Hansard.
The Legislature opened with the Speech from the Throne, which included a fair bit of news, including the intriguing idea that not all provincial government departments – or the work they do – need be located in Halifax. There is simply no reason, in this age, for almost all government work to be concentrated in Halifax. Main Streets across the province could use those jobs and the economic benefits, especially as Halifax experiences an extended period of 5-6% unemployment.
This news seemed to unnerve Conservative leader Jamie Baillie, who had a chance to move on this file as Chief-of-Staff not that long ago, and did nothing.
Jamie Baillie: I will address right now one of the items that attracted a significant amount of attention yesterday and that is on Page 15 of the Throne Speech where the government says it will “seek locations outside this immediate area for new and consolidated agencies and offices of government.” That sounds nice … but until that day comes, what a cynical and cruel promise to make to the people of rural Nova Scotia.
New Brunswick’s Energy Department is sensibly located in Saint John. Ontario moved Natural Resources out of Toronto years ago.
If When the NDP moves a department, even just one, out of Halifax before the next election, Baillie will look foolish. More importantly, his already shaky argument that the NDP doesn’t care about rural Nova Scotia will be destroyed.
So for that, Baillie wins the first Bumble Bee prize for the error prone of 2012.
After Baillie’s speech came this Killer Bee prize winning quote from the MLA for Halifax Citadel:
Leonard Preyra: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise here today and to say a few words in the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. It’s a particular pleasure to follow the Leader of the Third Party because he is such a great storyteller, particularly when it comes to works of fiction. I’m sure that speech he just delivered is going to be listed in the fiction section in our Legislative Library. I want to thank him for adding to the wonderful stories he’s been telling us about the year, particularly his reinvention of the Tory period in government. (Laughter)
Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil started off well on Thursday, reiterating his support for the government’s renewable energy plan, while slyly pointing out Conservatives regressive position on energy, earning him the Honey Bee prize for good work.
Stephen McNeil: We can agree – maybe not all of us, but most of us – that the Lower Churchill Falls is an important project that I believe will allow us to move towards a more renewable, sustainable energy market in Atlantic Canada. For those who are confused about the fact that it potentially may cost Nova Scotians too much, the inaction on energy will cost Nova Scotians much more. (Applause)
Staying as far away as possible from Baillie’s attacks on green jobs is a wise move by McNeil. The Liberals may be able to eat into the progressive wing of the Conservatives’ vote by hitting them hard on their opposition to things like renewable energy and minimum wage increases.
Drone of the Week
1 drone noun \drōn\
a stingless bee that does not gather nectar or pollen
2 drone intransitive verb \drōn\ to talk in a persistently dull or monotonous tone
Unfortunately by Friday, McNeil’s performance weakened, winning him his second prize in just the first week:
Stephen McNeil: I found it interesting as I was looking and reading this document that not once in this document did we talk about literacy and numeracy. Think about that for a second, not once did we talk about literacy and numeracy.
Well, we thought about it for a second, and found two other interesting words emphasized the the speech: education and learning.
You can play all kinds of silly games when looking for ways to criticize speeches. Why was fishing mentioned four times, but forestry only two? Why did Cape Breton receive more mentions than Pictou? Ultimately though, that sort of critique is juvenile. The Opposition Leader needs better material.