The Bees’ Knees – Prizes for Week Three

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

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

Here are the people Liberal MLA Geoff MacLellan opposed investing in this week: DSME workers in Pictou, mill workers in the Strait, forestry workers in Queens County, shipyard workers in Shelburne and IT workers in Halifax. One reader cheekily suggested that the Liberals were exhibiting signs of being fair to all regions of the province by opposing jobs in all parts of the province. Glace Bay MLA Geoff MacLellan wins this week’s Drone of the Week prize.

Honey Bee

Premier Darrell Dexter reminded Liberals of the two of Stephen McNeil’s biggest errors on electricity this week – on efficiency programs and power bill taxes.

Premier Dexter: The consumer groups, ecology groups right across the province said what they wanted was an independent efficiency organization that would be free of government, paid for so that they could deliver services that would benefit the entire population of Nova Scotia. Ratepayers, as a result of this, saved $100 million. In fact the savings are actually greater for the poorer Nova Scotians because it makes up a bigger part of their bill.

What they tried to do is manoeuvre around what they said. The Leader of the Official Opposition voted against the HST coming off of home electricity then he voted in favour of the Progressive Conservatives putting it back on. He campaigned against it twice. In the leadership debate – he would remember, I certainly do – he said taking the HST off was bad, bad public policy. Does he believe it or doesn’t he? (Applause)

For continuing to take the battle to the opposition benches, Darrell Dexter wins this week’s Honey Bee prize for good political work.

Bumble Bee

While the rest of the Liberals were pretending to forget their history of supporting tax credits for business development, retiring Liberal Manning MacDonald went off message.

Manning MacDonald: Stream was in Glace Bay long before this government ever came to office in Nova Scotia. It was brought to Nova Scotia – it was brought to Cape Breton – by a payroll rebate system that the previous Liberal Government of this province set up.

Manning MacDonald is correct. The Liberals have always supported big business. Unfortunately for him, the Liberals are now pretending to be against big business. He wins this week’s Bumble Bee prize, for providing another example of the Liberal’s weather vane politics.

Killer Bee

Normally, when an MLA uses an unparliamentary phrase, they retract it and replace it with a more benign word. Not so with Pictou’s own Clarrie MacKinnon.

Clarrie MacKinnon: As I listened to families, small business owners, and young people in Pictou County and all parts of Nova Scotia, I feel their energy and I feel their enthusiasm. There is hope, there is hope coming from this side of the House, not the despair and hopelessness that exists over there. IBM could have picked any place in Canada to bring their expertise, research and jobs. I think they chose the best place to build their future.

I just want to reiterate that this side of the House has real leadership as we go into the future. We are not looking at the Headless Horsemen on the other side of the aisle, Mr. Speaker, and that just came to mind, looking at them. Thank you.

The Speaker: Excuse me. “Headless Horsemen” is probably not parliamentary language. I would ask the member for Pictou East to retract that statement.

Clarrie MacKinnon: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to retract the “Headless Horsemen” comment, but I do not have other adjectives.

The Bees’ Knees – Prizes for Week 8

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:

The federal Conservative cuts to Parks Canada (Fortress of Louisburg in particular) saw Pam Birdsall and Manning MacDonald sticking up for Nova Scotia. But When Alfie MacLeod stepped up for the Conservatives, he chose to protect his Harper cousins in attempting to adjourn debate. He was defeated.  Alfie MacLeod wins the last Bumble Bee award of the session for trying, and failing, to limit debate.

Killer Bee:

In response to MacLeod’s remarks defending the Harper government, Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon’s opening stirred up a hornet’s nest in the opposition benches:

Clarrie MacKinnon: I really didn’t intend to speak on this but what really got me upset was my good friend, the member for Cape Breton West. I lived in that constituency, I know him well, I like him a lot but I can’t believe that he is an apologist for the Harper Government, I just can’t believe it. That is what he was doing in his remarks, he was saying that there were no job losses. (Interruptions)

The Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for Pictou East has the floor.

Clarrie MacKinnon: Instead of taking the Harper Government to task for the cuts, he tried to transfer the blame to the provincial minister responsible for tourism and that is not fair. I used to think there were some Conservatives who were progressive. I don’t think there is anything such as a Progressive Conservative any more. (Interruptions)

The last Killer Bee prize of the session goes to MacKinnon for saying out loud what so many voters have begun to wonder.

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

Again and again, Conservative MLAs make themselves red-in-the-face with thoughts of labour voices finally getting a seat at the decision-making table. This week, Victoria-The-Lakes MLA Keith Bain, wins the Drone of the Week prize for criticizing labour advocates Linda Power and Ray Larkin. Governments have to work with all communities, including Labour, or have to work through some very tiring labour pains.

Honey Bee:

In a debate on Community Access Program (CAP) sites, Kings North MLA Jim Morton reminded Nova Scotians of the importance of the program the federal Conservatives have just cut, and winning the final Honey Bee prize of the legislative session.

Late in the evening of Thursday, April 5th, you will remember – as all my colleagues in this House will remember – that was the evening before a long weekend that began with Good Friday – The federal government sent a letter to CAP site officials across the country advising them that the program, which had been in place for more than 10 years, would be discontinued.

I think that decision tends to fail to recognize the value of those Community Access Program sites. These are valuable community resources. They contribute to economic development by giving everyone in the community access to information. They’re an important social resource, because they allow people to connect with family and friends, to make contact with the services they need throughout the community, and in fact, throughout the world.

In many cases what they’ve done is help introduce older Nova Scotians, in particular, to the world of computer technology and help them become more comfortable with a modern means of being in touch with each other. They’ve certainly created a means of access for economically disadvantaged or poor Nova Scotians, for those people who may be temporarily poor because they’re unemployed and don’t have the means to provide themselves with that kind of computer access. Those people who are receiving income assistance, or who maybe are living on minimum wage, have found a Community Access Centre as one of the important ways of staying in touch with the wider world.

There were 500,000 hours of CAP site Internet time logged in the fiscal year that just ended. The usage numbers over the years since 1995, when the program was implemented, have either remained stable or escalated. There has been no indication that the interest in this program has diminished.