1,565 QP Qs by the NSLP and NSPC

Two distinct strategies suggest themselves in a review of the one thousand five-hundred and sixty-five questions asked by the Liberals and Conservatives in 2012.

The Liberals used a spray-paint or roller technique to try to colour the government on broad topics, while the Conservatives used a smaller brush to give detailed work to delicate issues.

Credit must be given to the Conservatives for getting stories like Talbot House (50 questions) and the Home for Coloured Children (21 questions) into the press. Spending a lot of time on a few stories can make a difference. But there is risk in this approach as well. Asking no questions on universities, agriculture, doctors, crime rates, or rural roads, but 22 questions on First Contract Arbitration legislation, suggest this focused attack can result in forgetting other core values.

A word of caution: as the Official Opposition, the Liberals ask approximately 60% of the questions. It would be unfair to suggest that because they asked two questions on Immigration in 2012, and the Conservatives did not ask any, that they care about that issue more than the PCs. With 313 more questions, the Liberals could hit more targets.

For the NDP, it is worth noting that the topics their supporters seem most interested in – universal health care, climate change, income assistance, root causes of crime, and the minimum wage – received no questions from either the Liberals or the Tories.

Digging down into the numbers on health also yields a point of interest. Instead of wait times (9 questions total) and ER closures (15 questions total) dominating the discussion as they did under previous Liberal and PC governments, the number one health issue raised in Question Period in 2012 was the NSGEU and Collective Bargaining (57 questions).

Write to us with your observations at pictoubee@gmail.com

The Question Period Priorities of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party and Liberal Party.

The Question Period Priorities of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party and Liberal Party.

The Curious Case of the Orange Lunchbag on Twitter

7 weeks after blogger Parker Donham first voiced suspicion that the selection of the color orange in a bag carrying children’s books and given out in schools was a political decision, and went so far as suggesting the NDP should reimburse the taxpayers before writing his apology post stating “I was wrong”, the Nova Scotia Liberals raised the issue repeatedly in the Legislature and on Twitter.

The Curious Case of the Orange Lunchbag on Twitter:

SK_Moore: NS Liberals slams $527k in spending on orange lunch bags.

TokenGranola: Don’t you feel just a *little* queasy about going after an initiative designed to address literacy for low-income kids?

Tim_Bousquet: Not to keep pimping @kempthead but he was all over the orange bags like 3 months ago or something. Why is this news now? I thought it was bullshit first time around.

KennedyJosephin: so the NDP spend $ on lunch bags, here’s an idea buy books!!!!

HFX_Lauren: you do know their ARE books and learning tools inside that lunch bag right?

anitahovey: Ok…seriously? $500K on orange lunchbags?

Nicki_doyle: Utter nonsense. Libs obsessed with a colour not a policy.

RealDealNS: NS Liberals playing politics with children’s literacy. Those “lunchbags” could mean the only books in some low income homes.

NSLiberal: Casey: Half million for lunch bags – why not use that $ to implement task force recommendations?

RealDealNS: Seems Karen Casey thought it was a good idea when she was handing them out…

Liberal MLA Karen Casey handing out "lunchbags" when she was Conservative Education Minister. Oops.

The majority of low income families do not have a single book for their children. But in the debate on the orange lunchbags, there has been a surprising lack of conversation about what is inside the bags: books.

The single biggest barrier to the development of literacy is access to books in the home. Tackling that problem will create a generation of lifelong readers.

The books: Jack and the Missing Piece (a picture book), I Went Walking (a children’s book), and My Toys (a children’s book).

There’s also Paws and Claws (a musical CD by Halifax children’s musician Maria Alley).

The horror. The horror.