The Bees’ Knees – Prizes for Week One

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

During a series of questions about Muskrat Falls by Liberal MLA Andrew Younger, including the cost of energy imports from Hydro-Quebec, the Energy Minister gave a nod to the NDP’s new commercial ‘Ask Newfoundlanders’ about the Liberal’s pledge to buy power needed to meet renewable energy targets from the 4th largest energy utility in the world.

Charlie Parker: Mr. Speaker, I guess the honourable member probably has a better direct line to Hydro-Québec than others would have.

The quip wins Pictou West MLA Charlie Parker this week’s Killer Bee prize.

Bumble Bee

When the NDP recently announced they would be introducing tougher animal care laws, the SPCA and others applauded them. But not everyone cheered. The Liberal Caucus Office’s Director of Communication took to Twitter say legislation is not needed to deal with those who abuse animals. Disturbingly, the staffer went on to say the NDP was “screwing the pooch” on the issue, a bad choice of phrase considering the topic.

In Question Period, Kings West Liberal MLA Leo Glavine was more careful in his choice of words when questioning of NDP Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. However, Glavine too said legislation wasn’t needed.

This misstep by the Liberals further illustrates a fog of negativity that seems to have blinded that party. Just because you are the Official Opposition, does not mean you need to oppose everything.

Honey Bee

While most observers said the buzz words from Darrell Dexter’s Speech From The Throne last week were “turning the corner”, we preferred the repeated phrase “for the first time”. Gathered together in one speech, the NDP have quite a record of “firsts”.

For such a positive speech, without even a modest attack on the opposition, Darrell Dexter wins this week’s Honey Bee prize.

Honey Bee #2

Normally, we give a Drone of the Week award, but this week in the Legislature was quite spirited, with little nonsense. And MLA Chris d’Entremont had his best week in years – we felt he was also deserving of a Honey Bee prize.

We’ve posted d’Entremont’s questions about the Liberal trust fund here, but he showed he is more than willing to hit back against Stephen McNeil on policies too:

Chris d’Entremont: You know, the Liberals take the cake. While the Liberal Leader has no original ideas, only they could take a failed idea from one province and make it the centrepiece of their energy policy. In fact, it takes a special kind of talent to borrow a policy from another place that abandoned it because it was proven to drive up rates and impede the move to cleaner energy at the same time.

While we think the Conservatives’ promise to freeze rates hard to believe (how much will that cost the government?), d’Entremont is right to raise concerns about the Liberal’s commercial-sized plan on energy.


The Bee’s Knees – Prizes for Week 7

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:

When back-room boy turned Conservative leader called the capital budget an election “spending spree”, Darrell Dexter fired back, winning the last Killer Bee prize of 2011:

Premier Dexter: Unless the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is suggesting that we shouldn’t be replacing bridges, or that we shouldn’t be paving roads, or that we shouldn’t build infrastructure, it is necessary to have a capital plan each and every year. This is a good plan; it is set out for everyone to see, which I know is a novelty for the Progressive Conservatives.

Bumble Bee:

Liberal Zach Churchill’s new to the MLA position. He reminded people just how new last week, and won the Bumble Bee prize for the error prone:

Zach Churchill: Will the Premier tell members of this House when – or if – his government is going to call Bill No. 105 for second reading?

Premier Dexter: Mr. Speaker, my question would be, why didn’t they call it on Opposition Day?

Zach Churchill: This government knows that the agenda of this House is in their hands, Mr. Speaker, nobody else’s.

Premier Dexter: If there was ever a misrepresentation of the manner in which this House works, you just heard it. The member knows that they have control over Opposition Day. They can call any piece of legislation they want to and they chose not to call it.

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

Conservative MLA Chris D’Entremont doesn’t seem to have much affection for labour, and attacked Rick Clarke’s testimony before the Legislature’s Law Amendments Committee. Here’s his worst of several stabs at the Federation of Labour president:

Chris D’Entremont: My question to the Premier, when will the Premier fire Mr. Clarke and stop protecting this individual who has so clearly violated the trust of members of this the people’s House, and therefore Nova Scotians?

Lawyer Ray Larkin explains why this sort of attack by the Nova Scotia PC Party is bad for democracy:

The Law Amendments Committee of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly is a unique Canadian institution of which Nova Scotians can justifiably be proud. Every citizen who wants to be heard on a bill before the House of Assembly can appear and express their views…

Into this unique democratic institution now comes the threat of personal attack by MLAs and even censure by the Legislature for comments made to the committee. How better to chill freedom of expression…

The take no prisoners approach of legislatures which we see in the United States has created a politics of personal destruction that most Nova Scotians abhor. Now that politics has raised its head in the Nova Scotia legislature. What a shame.

For importing a piece of Tea Party politics, Chris D’Entremont wins the last Drone of the Week prize of 2011.

Honey Bee:

NDP Health Minister Maureen MacDonald has had a good two years. She has introduced good legislation, has decent relations with DHAs and health care unions, and her Better Care Sooner plan and Collaborative Emergency Centres are giving more communities the care they need. She did plenty of heavy lifting for the government in the Legislature’s last week.

When Liberal MLA Leo Glavine claimed a rehab pool was closed due to budget restraints, MacDonald was quick to correct him with information he could have easily researched himself – the pool was leaking and endangering equipment on the floor underneath:

Maureen MacDonald: I can’t understand what the honourable member is saying. Is he saying that the Capital District Health Authority should operate an unsafe facility; is he saying that it’s okay to have the problems that they’ve identified continue and flood out the therapeutic facilities beneath this pool – is that what the honourable member is saying?

Glavine tried again, on the topic of the Home Oxygen Program, suggesting that people are afraid to speak out “for fear that service will be discontinued. They are also fearful that once they do speak out, the limited choices available in each of the districts may become that much more limited.” MacDonald called Glavine again on his odd statement:

Maureen MacDonald: I still haven’t found a little dungeon over in the Department of Health and Wellness where we lock up people who express their dissatisfaction with the health care system. It doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for a lot of people, in terms of expressing their views…

And when Andrew Younger demanded to know the details of an announcement about the 5th Floor of the Dartmouth General before the announcement took place, MacDonald took him to task as well.

Maureen MacDonald: It is fairly obvious that the honourable member can’t handle good news and I hope to see him when we have a little more good news before the end of the month, to see how apoplectic he’ll be at that point.

Always sharp, Maureen MacDonald wins the last Honey Bee prize of 2011 for her good work on the health file.

The 7 Weeks of Bee’s Knees prizes:

Week One: Darrell Dexter (+1), Chuck Poster (-1), Michel Samson (+1), Keith Colwell (-1)
Week Two: Darrell Dexter (+1), Stephen McNeil (-1), Michel Samson (+1), Diana Whalen (-1)
Week Three: Frank Corbett (+1), Jamie Baillie (-1), Marilyn More (+1), Keith Bain (-1)
Week Four: Darrell Dexter (+1), Kelly Regan (-1), Gary Burrill (+1), Allan MacMaster (-1)
Week Five: Junior Theriault (+1), Keith Colwell (-1), Sid Prest (+1), Jamie Baillie (-1)
Week Six: Howard Epstein (+1), Manning MacDonald (-1), Vicki Conrad (+1), Jamie Baillie (-1)
Week Seven: Darrell Dexter (+1), Zach Churchill (-1), Maureen MacDonald (+1), Chris D’Entremont (-1)