Each week the Legislature is in session we’ll give out four prizes for the best and worst moments, as recorded in Hansard.
Liberal MLA Diana Whalen challenged NDP Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald’s revenue projection assumptions in the balanced 2013-14 budget.
The problem? The major banks think the Finance Department’s projections might be too conservative in their outlook.
Maureen MacDonald: All of the economists in the big financial institutions in the country looked at the assumptions that were put together by the economists in the Department of Finance, and they compared those assumptions with their own forecasts, and they find the assumptions to be reasonable. In fact, they found the assumptions in the Department of Finance to be conservative compared to their forecasts for the coming year.
Whalen wins the Bumble Bee award for trusting her political researchers over the Canada’s leading economists.
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
Liberal MLA Keith Colwell complains about government spending on advertising. He says there is too much. And he says there is too little. This week, he was claimed John MacDonell could not get the word out about the Heating Assistance Rebate Program. MacDonell swatted Colwell’s complaint away:
John MacDonell: I think I have answered this question once a year for three years. I would think the member opposite would be aware, because his office should have received the applications that all MLAs received to give out to their constituents. If anybody is coming in there looking for an application, they should be able to get it from him.
For recycling a question for the third year in a row, Keith Colwell wins the Drone of the Week prize.
While we do not agree with Jamie Baillie’s stance that we should move away from Nova Scotia’s renewable energy goals, we share his concerns about Stephen McNeil’s electricity plan:
Jamie Baillie: For the Liberal Party to run TV ads promoting a policy that actually jacks our power rates up even more and manages to eliminate any hope of private investment in renewables at the same time – that is an amazing trick. The very policies that they promote have been proven a failure in New Brunswick, in Ontario, in Texas, in California, in all of those places the very policies that they advertise on TV, both drive up our power rates and stop the investment in renewables at the same time. That is why it’s important that they, too, be held accountable for what they say not just today, but for the future.
Baillie wins this week’s Killer Bee prize for taking on McNeil Liberals on multiple fronts, including on electricity.
This week Colchester – Musquodoboit Valley NDP MLA Gary Burrill issued a challenge to Conservative MP Scott Armstrong to a debate on federal cuts to EI.
Burrill also got his provincial Conservative colleagues on the record on the changes to the EI appeals process. He introduced this resolution in the Legislature:
Whereas the system of appeals for employment insurance has, for many years, been comprised of Boards of Referees, tripartite bodies including local representatives from the business community and the labour movement, ensuring that appeals of decisions affecting EI claims have been heard by independent referees knowledgeable concerning local conditions…
Whereas the constituency offices of many MLAs have commonly provided advocacy, support, and representation services to constituents before Boards of Referees, very often resulting in much-needed reinstatements of EI benefits and much-merited reversals of disentitlements, disqualifications, penalty assessments, and the like; and
Whereas the federal government has abolished the system of EI appeals based on a national network of Boards of Referees, and replaced it with a centralized appeal system lacking entirely in local representation;
Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly unreservedly condemn the eradication of the Board of Referees appeal system by the Government of Canada, and hereby register its profound disagreement with the removal of local labour and business leaders from the appeal process available to EI claimants in Nova Scotia.
Burrill’s resolution was met with a chorus of No’s from the Conservative benches, a mistake for a party in second place in much of rural Nova Scotia. Gary Burrill wins this week’s Honey Bee prize for good work.