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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mr. Ridgley's focus

Silent Bob lifts from his long slumber long enough to give one of the most memorable speeches that the House of Assembly has seen for a long time.

First, he gives the Telegram a back-handed compliment in return for its back-handed complements it has issued in recent Monday editorials:
MR. RIDGLEY: Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks we have listened to Budget Speeches by most of the members in the House. Of course, because there are so many on the government side we have heard very many positive things being spoken about. So much so that The Telegram, Mr. Speaker, commented in an editorial of all the positive things that were being said about our government and about our leader and so on like that. The Telegram seemed to be almost bored by the process and said: Don’t worry faithful readers, it is only another few days and it will be all over.

Well, Mr. Speaker, that is why we are here. It is our task to point out the positive things that this government is doing, the positive aspects about the Budget. I was particularly delighted, Mr. Speaker, to hear the rural members, the Member for The Isles of Notre Dame and the Member for Terra, speak so positively about rural Newfoundland. So often we hear the phrase that rural Newfoundland is dying, Mr. Speaker. I think we have to recognize the fact, it is quite obvious that it is changing, but I do not think it is dying, Mr. Speaker.
He further elaborates on what the job of an MHA isn't:
I was amazed when we first came here, Mr. Speaker, to watch the then Leader of the Opposition and you could count five or six personal attacks on the Premier at that time. I thought, Mr. Speaker, it was unbecoming. That is not why we were sent here. We were sent here to represent the people of our districts and not to be as schoolyard children.
Useful to know, for future reference.

The Hon. Member then went on, for some reason that only he, or perhaps the PC Party's private pollster can understand, to totally impersonally attack the Hon. Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi, mentioning her by title at least nineteen times in less than 3,000 words of speechiness. He says some truly hilarious things, like:
In my remarks this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus on two things. Number one, the role of the Opposition and the approaches that the Opposition Parties have taken, and to focus a little bit on the philosophy of the New Democratic Party more than anything - the socialist party, if you will - because there is a stark difference between that philosophy and the philosophy of this government.


Mr. Speaker, the other Opposition over there is the member for the NDP, and her approach to Opposition is a constant and consistent message; it is totally a socialist message, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Speaker, I make these remarks not to disparage the hon. Leader of the NDP, because I think her remarks are coming from a position of sincerity. She means well, she does her research, and she brings an enlightened approach to the House, but not always connected to reality, Mr. Speaker.
Then an impossibly tenuous segue:
We remember the days of Communism, Mr. Speaker, and I suppose, if you want to pursue that, it may be a worthwhile ideal that we are all equal, but I do not think, in reality, it is a realistic philosophy for the society in which we live. It is not a share and share alike. There is no element, I suppose, of Robin Hood in it: rob the rich and give to the poor.

I suppose we should, at this point, commend our own Alan Doyle for his worthwhile work in Robin Hood as Allan A’Dayle, but that is not an approach, Mr. Speaker, I do not think, that we can apply to economics of governing.
Followed by the Hon. Member inadvertantly revealing that he didn't get the memo that the ABC campaign is over:
At the same time that the Leader of the NDP paints this picture of communal living, and everybody sharing equally from the same pot, she paints the dark picture of this government as being closely related to the extremist reform party Conservatives as they are in Ottawa. She ties us to that reform party and says that we are, in fact, carrying out the exact same policy.
He asks a rather awkward question about scripting, with a curious choice of allusion:
She throws in, in her speech - and I do not know if she wrote the speech herself or if it was written for her - words like Rolls-Royce, to link us with the elite of society.
He raises the tenor of discourse a little:
You cannot, Mr. Speaker - there is an expression for it, and I will use the, I suppose, more dignified expression - you cannot inhale and exhale at the same time. You cannot do both, Mr. Speaker.
And he invokes one of the most poetic images invoked in the House since the days of Bill Keough and his "last forgotten fishermen on the Bill of Cape St. George":
So if the Leader of the NDP wants to put a complete rash on that elephant from head to toe and trunk to foot, how much would it cost to put a rash of pimples on that same elephant?
All in all, a great day for public discourse. Thank you, Silent Bob! Thank you!

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