READ THE SHORT ARTICLE FOR CONTEXT – THEN WATCH THE VIDEO
This is the final episode of “Great Question – No Answer,” at least for the Fall sitting of the PEI Legislative Assembly.
When I posted the first episode, I wondered whether there would be an occasion in each subsequent sitting where a Liberal MLA would refuse to give a straight answer to a great question from an Oppositoin MLA. To be honest, I rarely watched Question Period, as I suspect is the case for most Islanders.
What I have witnessed day-after-day over the past few weeks has both shocked and saddened me. There literally were days when NO question from Opposition MLAs received an informative response from government MLAs that would qualify as “an answer.” If this endeavour had been “Great Question – Great Answer” I would’ve had to cancel the show without posting a single episode, for sheer lack of material. Seriously.
“Why is there such a thing as Question Period when great questions are never answered?” That, sadly, is a fair question. And why does the Legislative Assembly cling to the ridiculous culture and protocols inherited from the elitist British Parliamentary tradition when they are so ineffective and so unfamiliar to ordinary Islanders?
So-called “un-parliamentary language,” for example, only prevents opposition MLAs from pointing out government incompetence and obfuscation of the truth. It vilifies any MLA who attempts to shine a light on what is untruthful, incompetent, or yes, “farcical,” even when what they are attempting to “put on the official record” would make government more accountable (which, after all, is their job as Opposition MLAs), at least when what they are saying is factual and can be proven. What a twisted way to organize so-called “responsible” government and attempt to “represent” the best interests of the people in a democratic society! A MLA can lie through their teeth – but a MLA can’t accuse that MLA of lying; a MLA can be totally incompetent – but a MLA can’t call that MLA incompetent.
Peter Bevan-Baker’s use of the word “farce” was not only accurate [synonyms for farce include: mockery, travesty, absurdity, sham, pretense, masquerade, charade, waste of time] but was, in my opinion quite tempered – what Liberal MLAs have displayed day-after-day in the Legislative Assembly has been (a) a complete refusal to answer questions; (b) a complete refusal to collaborate in any meaningful way with Opposition MLAs; and (c) a constant pretentious claim of being “open and transparent” while being exactly the opposite. That isn’t just “farcical,” it’s borderline “criminal.” That not only needs to be challenged, as Peter attempted to do, it needs to be completely jettisoned from the Chamber and relegated to the dust-bins of history…..and the sooner the better.
So, among all the drama of the final day yesterday I still had to pick a “winner” for the “Great Question – No Answer” contest. Given the obvious insincerity with the Liberal government’s refusal to move forward with a Universal Income Pilot Program, despite previously supporting a Motion in the Legislative Assembly to do so, a Motion which included a promise to REPORT PROGRESS ON THE PILOT PROGRAM TO THE HOUSE DURING EACH SESSION, Hon. Allen F. Roach’s condescending and embarrassing refusal to even mention that promise and pilot program in his response to a direct and CLEAR question from Brad Trivers – although just one example of many “no answers” from Liberal MLAs during yesterday’s Question Period – takes the prize for the final day of the Fall Session.