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