10 March 2012

The truth is an absolute defence #nlpoli

Seems that the goings-on in the provincial legislature are weighing heavy on many brows at the end of the first week the place is back in session since this time last year.

Telegram editor Russell Wangersky has a column on it as does Bob Wakeham in the Saturday paper.

Wangersky writes about the way the House was recently.

Part of the blame is the failure of not reining in these Type-A bad boys and bad girls soon enough; I know that criticizing past Speakers of the House is frowned upon in the parliamentary system, but when Speakers are either too lax or too one-sided in dealing with abuses of House procedure, you can guarantee that frustration will build and tempers will boil.

Let’s be clear:  Harvey Hodder and Roger Fitzgerald were both incompetent and nakedly biased during their time as Speaker of the legislature.

In the ordinary course of things, in a properly functioning House, that is a contempt and one could be expected to be dragged in front of the members to answer for it.

But as with all defamation claims, the truth is an absolute defence.  That’s why your humble e-scribbler had no problem in writing and publicising the comment repeatedly.

Both were picked, one might readily surmise because they were biased and would comply with the wishes of the root cause of the problem in the House.

The current Speaker is another hand-picked one; Tommy Osborne was told to stand aside.  But we have yet to see him rule on a major issue.  Let’s give Ross Wiseman the chance to break the recent pattern and restore some dignity to the tattered Speaker’s robes.

Wangersky identifies the source of the problem as well:  it starts at the top..

But what neither he nor Wakeham get to is why the government uses the tactics they do or why the opposition members individually or collective engage in the buffoonery.

That’s where the real problem lies.

And suggesting that the party leaders need to sit their members down and give them a stern talking to?

Well, that just misses the point entirely. You have to get at the cause.  The goons and the buffoons – whether in the House or on Twitter or in the comments sections online– are just a symptom.

Still, the very fact that people are talking about the legislature and how it needs to improve is good.

That’s certainly a radical change from recent years.

- srbp -