"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Danny doesn't like to "waste time" in the House of Assembly.

The one he was elected to.

And it shows. The sum total of his provincial presence on Thursday was this over-lawyerly, under-Parliamentary point of order:

PREMIER WILLIAMS: I rise on a point of order for clarification.

In recent decisions by the Chair, there has been an indication that we can’t refer to certain documents. I think this works for both sides at Question Period, from a question perspective and an answer perspective. For example, yesterday I referred to the Budget document and it was indicated that we were not to refer to documents.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in parliamentary procedure by any means but it is my understanding of previous rulings that casual references to telegrams, newspaper articles, or commentaries, I guess, for want of a better term, commentaries or hearsay type of documents were not allowed to be referred to.

I am just wondering, for purposes of convenience to both sides and with the approval of the Chair, if we can refer to documents or reports that are within the House or tabled within the House, would that be satisfactory, or is it the intent just to make Question Period expeditious and to prevent long preambles and long statements? However, I think we are both kind of hampered in some respects - both sides are hampered in some respects by not being able to refer to tabled documentation that is official, House documentation. Otherwise, we are actually deemed to have knowledge of everything that is in them without even being able to refer to them.

Just a point of clarification, Mr. Speaker, and I just raise it for that purpose.
Mr. Speaker explained, in small words that hopefully even Great Lawyer can understand:

MR. SPEAKER: The ruling that has been put forward by the Chair does not make reference to members not being able to reference documents; it is strictly the reading of documents. The Chair said in other rulings here that members can refer to documents, they can paraphrase, and they can use documents as references but not to read from. That is strictly for Oral Questions and it does not include debate. Members can read from documents, read from letters and telegrams in taking part in debate. That is certainly allowed.

When the Chair ruled on referring to the reading of letters and telegrams it also extends to the reading of Hansard, even though it is a document produced right here in this House. That is not only in this Parliament but in all other Parliaments. Precedence has been set that the reading from documents in Oral Question Period is unparliamentarily.
And then he added, for good measure:

If not, before the Chair moves to Oral Questions, the Chair would also like to ask members again for their co-operation in referring to members by their names. When members refer to other members by their name it personalizes things and that is certainly unparliamentarily. I ask all members, once again, to refer to members either by the district they represent or by the executive position that they hold. I ask for your co-operation.
A good lesson, which had already been lost on Mr. Hickey:

As the members opposite are well aware, on Tuesday this government delivered an historic Budget that will see Newfoundland and Labrador soon cast off our have-not status. Mr. Speaker, the Williams government has delivered a fiscal plan for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that is meeting today’s challenges, with a view for long-term prosperity.
And which continued to be lost on Mr. Parsons:
Well, the Minister of Finance says, that is Danny Williams. I beg to differ. I think there are few other issues involved there other than Danny Williams.


At 10:10 PM, May 02, 2008 , Blogger D.B. Cooper said...

This whole documents kick the Speaker is on has been silly.

The other day he stopped the Premier (no names please) from even referring to the budget by holding it up.

People can refer to documents and they can even hold them up. They can read from them. They just have to be prepared to table them so everyone can see them.


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