In our review of the 1565 questions asked by the Liberals and Tories during Question Period in 2012, we noticed more than a lack of interest in the minimum wage and climate change and sparse attention to rural roads or farmers’ loads. We also wondered why 3 Liberal MLAs were given so few opportunities to raise their voice.
Out of the 939 questions asked by the Liberals in 2012, Manning MacDonald asked 9 of them. Junior Theriault, a dynamic speaker with a good understanding of rural Nova Scotia, asked 10. The MLA for Clare, Wayne Gaudet, managed 20 questions.
Of course, Opposition Caucuses will nearly always offer their leader two sets of questions each Period, and their health, education and community services critics a chance to stand up each day as well. We don’t think the 13 Liberal MLAs should have equally split their questions with 72 each. But the Tories do a far better job of allowing all their MLAs time to question the government. And the people Gaudet, MacDonald and Theriault represent should see their issues raised in Question Period.
In the Spring Sitting of the 2013 legislature, we would like to see these MLAs get their fair share of time. Allotting 2% of Liberal questions for each of the two retiring MLAs, and 4% for Wayne Gaudet (we have not definitively heard he is not running again) would be fair.