Now that the big old rockpile in James Bay isn't sitting empty or being searched by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the silliness begins in earnest. Keeping in mind that this is a "workplace," to use the term loosely perhaps, where the employees have had to show up for work about six whole days since last March or so, it is somewhat hard to sympathize with Mike "never meant to be in Mensa" de Jong and his whining about having to show up for evening sessions twice a week. This is especially onerous I imagine after the supreme indignity of having to show up FOUR days each of the FEW weeks they even bother to pretend to be a Legislature.
But yes indeedy, old Mike the Brain Spike is promoting the idea of spending a little more time in the afternoon and cancelling the evening sessions, to a great extent to make it more convenient to enjoy the pleasures of family life. Now slap me if I'm wrong, but I thought most MLA's families were back at home, you know like in Prince George, Cranbrook or even Surrey and that that was why MLAs got the perk of taxpayer funded flights home on the weekends. Of course I have heard that many politicians have the added burden of mistresses or boy friends, whatever turns their crank, including the Soup Nazi himself, so maybe I can see the need for all the spare time possible after dark.
I find it sort of contrary that on March 31, 2003 Mikey D had a whole different attitude towards sitting at night. It seems that his Forest ministry was going to not meet their budget target that year and $3,900 would be lost by the Minister (Mikey D) unless they could ram through a new budget estimate, even if it took all night. They were there until after 11:00PM when Joy (who was more opposition in her single little red headed self than today's NDP psuedo-opposition) finally allowed the third or fourth vote of 50-74 against one, since she couldn't win if they were still there today.
a couple excerpts from Hansard that night: (bolding mine)
J. MacPhail: Maybe we'll have to go back during the estimates of the Premier. I'll have to ask him why he was so far out ahead of announcing it on TV on his infomercial. Was he out of order? Or maybe he'll have to admit that this has all been ready for weeks — for weeks. In fact, there's been nothing new coming out of this ministry since December 12, 2001 — absolutely nothing — and yet here we are, ramming it through.
How did the government reach the figure of $200 million?
J. MacPhail: I can understand the minister not wanting to actually identify himself as being the person to not be affected negatively by this penalty and therefore to have $4,000 more in his own pocket. I can understand him not wanting to say: "I will not be penalized by $4,000." Did the minister sit at the cabinet table when this legislation was discussed?
Hon. M. de Jong: My withdrawal from any cabinet debate, as the member knows, would be a matter of public record, and I'm not aware that the member would find a record of my withdrawal.
J. MacPhail: Did the member participate in the decision on this at the cabinet table?
Hon. M. de Jong: Well, I am in receipt of additional advice as it relates to the question of cabinet privilege. The member is aware of the records that exist around members who absent themselves from debates in cabinet, and I commend those records to her.
J. MacPhail: I fully appreciate the Speaker's ruling earlier this evening, but it is interesting to note just how the minister answered that question. This section makes a mockery of the Ministerial Accountability Act. It's a decision that directly affects his ministry. It will be booked against his ministry, and this government is using the sheep effect — the 74 sheep to put up their paw to vote to allow an exemption from the penalty for this minister. Nobody else. It's an exemption from the penalty so the minister will take home $3,900 more in his own pocket because this legislation is being rammed through.
The minister sat at the cabinet table, made the decision and didn't exempt himself. If anyone in this government stands up, particularly the Finance minister, and crows about his Ministerial Accountability Act when the first time there would be a minister who overspends his budget, the government brings in legislation to exempt that minister and that minister alone, the Finance minister will be a fool. In fact, the Finance minister already is a fool by crowing day after day after day about how every minister….
The Chair: Member, could I ask you to take your seat, please. Could we please be parliamentary in our characterization of other members.
J. MacPhail: The only time that anyone has actually even had to work to meet the requirements of the Ministerial Accountability Act and fails, this government brings in legislation and rams it through at 11 o'clock at night.
I'm sad to say, it ain't like it's any better these days. A young workman waits almost 24 hours to have his injured hand tended to, and thus loses a finger. Adrian Dix gets up and questions the Health Minister who says that it is unfortunate. Just like the couple from Rossland who were separated and died within days, unfortunate. The issue is never mentioned again and meanwhile Carole fires or suspends a staff member for calling somebody "potatohead." That sucking sound in the background is our streams, our hydro, pretty much all of our resources and assets being disposed of at the Soup Nazi's fire sale of a beautiful slightly used province.