The Bees’ Knees – Prizes for Week 5

Each week the Legislature is in session we’ll give out four prizes for the best and worst moments, as recorded in Hansard.

Bumble Bee:

There was a rare event on Thursday, April 26th. A resolution criticizing the NDP from Liberal Manning MacDonald was read in the legislature. The problem? It was read by Wayne Gaudet. It served as a reminder of how rare sightings of the Liberal MLA have been this spring session. Or for that matter, last fall’s session as well.

For poor attendance, Manning MacDonald receives this week’s Bumble Bee prize.

Killer Bee:

The Conservatives and Liberals are fond of using phrases like “union buddies” when describing this province’s labour leaders and the NDP. They have used far worse names as well, which is part of the reason the Conservatives and Liberals struggle with building a working relationship with Labour when they are in power.

Conservative Chris D’Entremont went with “union boss pals” last week, and when asking “which side are you on?” unknowingly using a phrase from a Labour standard, setting up a wise answer from Deputy Premier Frank Corbett.

Chris D’Entrement: The member for Argyle (D’Entremont is speaking of himself in the 3rd person here) knows that the NDP’s union boss pals are the driving force behind labour disputes. The NDP may not like being on the opposite sides of their buddies, but government has the responsibility to do what’s right on behalf of citizens who elect them. So far the NDP Government has failed in that responsibility, so it begs the question, which side are they on?

Frank Corbett: With that line of questioning I’m reminded of an old union song of, “Which side are you on, boy, which side are you on?” We’re on the side of Nova Scotians.

Workers and their advocates were watching the NSGEU negotiations closely last week. For cheerfully reminding them of the NDP’s strong labour past, while in tough negotiations with labour, Frank Corbett wins this week’s Killer Bee prize for smart politics.

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

Is there a business case for bringing back the CAT? No. Is there one to be found for a ferry that both shuttles American tourists and ships Canadian freight without a federal or provincial subsidy? Unlikely. What about a business case for the second ferry option where there is a million dollar subsidy from a few levels of government? Now that is far more likely.

Now that the NDP have committed to a truly independent panel to review the business case, the MLA for Yarmouth has essentially received ‘Yes’ for an answer but seems determined to get a ‘No’, winning him the Drone of the Week prize.

Zach Churchill: We don’t know what resources have been allocated by this department to actually restore a ferry service if the panel says that we should. So my question to the minister is, what resources are allocated in the 2012 budget to restore a ferry service?

Percy Paris: I don’t know why we would put in a line item for something that doesn’t exist. Secondly, the fact that we have put together an expert panel has been endorsed by the international ferry association, by individuals and groups and organizations that have far more expertise than the member for Yarmouth does.

Honey Bee:

Receiving a variety of questions from a variety of opposition MLAs on wait times gave the NDP’s Health Minister Maureen MacDonald an opportunity to point out the steady progress the government is making.

Maureen MacDonald: The department is working hard to address wait times and to meet our wait time guarantees. As I indicated, there are five areas that the national wait time guarantee program was focused on. Breast cancer mammography wasn’t one of those areas that the provinces and the federal government had agreed to but, nevertheless, it’s a very important area and we do have a phenomenally successful and comprehensive screening program for breast cancer here in Nova Scotia – largely thanks to the dedication of the staff who lead that program…

While we still have more work to do in the five areas of wait time reduction, we are making progress. For example, radiation therapy has increased from 62 per cent within the benchmark in 2009, we are now at 83 per cent. So I take great pride in knowing that we are moving in the right direction in terms of improving waits for important health care treatments…

I remind the honourable member that during the estimates I provided a detailed breakdown of the number of GPs who had come to Nova Scotia in the last year and started to practice here, the number who had left, the number of specialists who had come, and the number we have lost. We actually had a net gain in both GPs and specialists. Nova Scotia, by any account in all independent national reports, leads the country in the number of physicians that we have per capita…

That does not mean we can rest on our laurels. We have the highest numbers of physicians per population, but the distribution of those physicians can be very problematic in that we have shortages – chronic shortages in some areas, and difficulty getting physicians into certain parts of the province. More important is the need to plan for the future needs of the population. The physician resource plan will do exactly that.

For her continued strong work promoting her department’s achievements in the legislature, Maureen MacDonald wins this week’s Honey Bee prize.