The Bee’s 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.

Killer Bee:

The NDP introduced a bill to create an independent Arts Council for Nova Scotia – something the arts sector had been demanding for ten years – ever since it was surprisingly axed by the Conservative government of the day. Before the NDP had an opportunity, Liberal MLA Junior Theriault pointed out the odd spot the Conservatives found themselves in and won the Killer Bee prize:

Junior Theriault: I know it’s a good bill, it’s good for our culture in Nova Scotia, and it’s good for arts in Nova Scotia, period – it’s going to be interesting to see what the Third Party is saying, after they cut this bill 10 years ago. (Laughter)

The Conservatives will, amusingly, support the bill to create a council they destroyed.

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

Keith Colwell’s odd comments on cigarettes and alcohol hopefully will not make it into the Liberal’s tax policy come next election. They do win him this week’s Drone of the Week prize, though:

Keith Colwell: I know the Minister of Finance with his income and his family’s income can afford to buy a $500 or $600 bottle of wine anytime he wants. Most Nova Scotians cannot afford that. So if they can get a bottle of wine for $2 or $3, a good-quality wine, then indeed it’s a benefit to them…

You know, I had totally forgotten about the fact that they put the price of alcohol up in this province and I totally forgot that they increased the price of tobacco. When you look at tobacco and the cost of tobacco – and I’m a non-smoker, an avid non-smoker, but I don’t say anything or I don’t interfere with anybody who does smoke because that’s their right to do so if they so wish, but it’s another tax that the no-tax regime of this government – before they got into power they said, we’re not going to tax anybody.

Ask the wineries in the Annapolis Valley about their craft. Then ask them to sell you a good-quality bottle of wine for two or three dollars. Then ask them for their vote.

Bumble Bee:

We don’t mean to pick on back-room boy Jamie Baillie this often, but his attack on renewable energy and unwillingness to talk about the increasing price of coal are troubling, and win Jamie Baillie this week’s Bumble Bee prize.

Jamie Baillie: Today’s URB decision means that … everyone’s bill is going up. We cannot go on like this. Will the Premier commit today to reviewing his “bite the bullet” electricity plan that has all Nova Scotian’s paying more?

Premier Dexter: If there were ever a time for the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party to apologize to the people of Nova Scotia, it would be today. The simple fact of the matter is, the reason why we find ourselves in the position where the Utility and Review Board has to make this decision is because for a decade the former Progressive Conservative Government refused to engage in a renewable electricity plan that would get Nova Scotians off of fossil fuels and prevent the kind of roller coaster that we have seen in power rates that is directly attributable to the decisions of the past government.

Honey Bee:

Forestry, despite it being front and centre in the news cycle often of late, does not receive much time in the legislature. NDP MLA Sid Prest brought the topic up in late debate, and we’re pleased to MLA took the time to share his experience:

Now, it’s hard to get people’s attention about the forestry and what it provides, but it’s not only a fibre-producing area. It is habitat and home to wildlife, it’s for clean water, our air, our quality, and recreation. There are so many uses, but the only value we seem to put on it is the fibre value. If I had a brick of gold here, a pound of gold, it would be worth roughly $20,400 on today’s market. I could have $20,000 of standing timber on my land and people would go for that shiny piece of gold. At the same time, the forestry and the trees would be growing more in value. So people have to understand and get a better sense of what we’ve got…

We all know we can’t change the past. What we can do is learn from our mistakes and move forward in the future. We all know that Nova Scotia has a long history in the forestry industry and we’ll have a bright future now that we have the Natural Resources Strategy in place. The strategy, which was released in August of this year, is built on the following four goals: collaborative leadership; sustainable resource development; research and knowledge sharing; and good governance…

The most important goal in my opinion is sustainable resource development. I’m proud to say that our government has developed a strategy that will help manage Nova Scotia’s forests to achieve a sustainable balance of economic, environmental and social benefits to current and future generations of Nova Scotians.


A Who’s Who in Retirement Rumours

In September we heard one of those rumours that causes heart murmurs in hacks and flacks. We heard that an opposition MLA had confided in his riding association that he would be retiring this year. The member of the executive would not go on record with us, so we did a call out to see if a second source could confirm this rumour as true. And what happened was pretty interesting. We had 30 people write in (although four IP addresses suggested duplicate accounts by the same source), all hinting and guessing at who might be retiring. But none of them sent us info on the MLA in question.

So we’re going to publish 4 excerpts from these submitted guesses. And we hope the names left out will focus our sources’ minds on the true answer.

Although we mentioned the MLA in question was a ‘he’ we received several calls for the resignation of Karen Casey. One person still has not forgiven her for crossing the floor to the Liberals, writing

She’s done. Grandma Casey won’t re-offer because people are furious at her for joining the Liberals. This [Colchester County] is not Liberal country… She betrayed us and she’s done.

Next year, perhaps, we’ll write a post about MLAs who won’t re-offer. Casey, in our opinion, won’t be on that list, unless her relationship with her leader goes sour. But we don’t get why being a grandmother is relevant. If men in their 60’s don’t have their age called into question, why bring up Casey’s age? It seemed an odd comment.

We also had people suggest Junior Theriault was the retiree. We kind of love Junior. We’d like to see him stick it out. A reader’s reason:

He’s quiet. He’s marginalized. He is as far away from the inner circle as an MLA could be, with the possible exception of Diana Whalen.

While we acknowledge Whalen seems to be on the outs, we find it hard to believe such a small circle could have an inner circle.

We had several people write in to suggest that Andrew Younger would step down to run for Mayor of Halifax. Honestly, that seems a step down to us for someone who seems to be grooming himself to take over the Liberal Party after the next election. But some think it would be a good move.

Andrew isn’t in the spotlight enough, and running for mayor would build his profile. If Stephen McNeil has a election or 2 left in him, them Mayor would be a better holding position for Andrew. He has the drive and the smarts and would be a great mayor, and then could jump back in provincially when McNeil’s through.

MLA Wayne Gaudet was suggested as the retiree, and while we don’t doubt the sincerity of our source, he is not the man who advised his executive he was calling it quits. A reader writes:

Wayne hasn’t been all that active in the Legislature since 2008. He doesn’t introduce private member bills and seems out of the loop and not all that interested. Clare is a safe Liberal seat and succession planning needs to be a priority for these kinds of seats.

The Pictou Bee has no idea what the Liberal plans for Clare are, but we don’t see Wayne Gaudet as being completely disengaged from things. Heck, the last bill Keith Colwell introduced was in 2009. At least Gaudet has a Firefighter Income Tax Credit proposal in 2011.

Readers, we just need a second source to run with our post on which opposition MLA told his executive he’s calling it quits. Help us out, for the glory of the story.