The Invisible Men

In our review of the 1565 questions asked by the Liberals and Tories during Question Period in 2012, we noticed more than a lack of interest in the minimum wage and climate change and sparse attention to rural roads or farmers’ loads.  We also wondered why 3 Liberal MLAs were given so few opportunities to raise their voice.

Out of the 939 questions asked by the Liberals in 2012, Manning MacDonald asked 9 of them. Junior Theriault, a dynamic speaker with a good understanding of rural Nova Scotia, asked 10. The MLA for Clare, Wayne Gaudet, managed 20 questions.

Is Wayne Gaudet’s lack of participation in Question Period a sign he is not re-offering?

Is Wayne Gaudet’s lack of participation in Question Period a sign he is not re-offering?

Of course, Opposition Caucuses will nearly always offer their leader two sets of questions each Period, and their health, education and community services critics a chance to stand up each day as well. We don’t think the 13 Liberal MLAs should have equally split their questions with 72 each. But the Tories do a far better job of allowing all their MLAs time to question the government. And the people Gaudet, MacDonald and Theriault represent should see their issues raised in Question Period.

In the Spring Sitting of the 2013 legislature, we would like to see these MLAs get their fair share of time. Allotting 2% of Liberal questions for each of the two retiring MLAs, and 4% for Wayne Gaudet (we have not definitively heard he is not running again) would be fair.

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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.