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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mr Speaker, do your job (XXV)

On May 17th, a bit of wordplay landed the leader of the opposition in hot water with Roger Fitzgerald, the worst Speaker of any Westminster Parliament in any industrialized liberal democracy:
MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We are into all the ‘Dundernomics’ again today and all of the confusing statements, Mr. Speaker, and all of the non-answers.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for questions and answers has expired.

The Chair is always reluctant to interrupt during Question Period since we allot a specific time. There has been language used in the last two days in Question Period by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition which is clearly unparliamentary when she references a certain type of economics and references a member’s name describing that process.

I ask the hon. member, that in the future if she would be kind enough not to be using unparliamentary language and reference her questions in a different way.

MS JONES: What word did I use?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Presenting Reports by Standing and Select Committees.

MS JONES: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. the Leader of the Opposition cares to speak with me in a private setting to explain what I have just brought forward then I would certainly be glad to meet with her.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a point of order.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Yes, a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Just with respect to that way, in using persons names inappropriately and so on considered unparliamentary, it is certainly insensitive in doing so. I would just point out that both members of the House have done that. The Member for Lake Melville constantly mispronounces the name of Mr. Danny Dumaresque. All I am saying is, what happens to one should happen to both.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

On both sides of the House, members should be sensitive to the language they use. Our parliamentary language has been clearly stated here that members who sit in the House of Assembly should not be referenced by their given names. It should be either by the executive position that they hold or by the district that they represent.
Other members may have used that in the past. While we sometimes reference people who are not here, by their names, the Speaker has problems with that as well. Is it fair to go and talk about people who sat in this House before, or others who are not here to defend themselves? It is clearly unparliamentary to reference people who presently sit in this Assembly while we are carrying on debate in this Assembly.
Yesterday afternoon, Susan Sullivan, Minister of Something, gave a Ministerial Statement in the House which read, in part, as follows:
The fact that the hon. Kathy Dunderdale is Newfoundland and Labrador’s first female Premier, and that is she joined by very strong women in the House of Assembly, represents some of the progress that is being made by women in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To borrow a line from Premier Dunderdale, "women are no longer content with knocking on the door for entry into the business community and leadership positions but are knocking the door down. Women are showing degrees of innovation and creativity that were unheard of years ago."
Not for the first time, a Minister was allowed to do something forbidden — refer to the Premier by name, not by title — by the incompetent, bungling excuse of a Speaker.

No proper admonition. No consequences. Nothing.

Minister's Statements are not off-the-cuff utterances in which the presiding officer might offer some slight degree of latitude to Members who lapse and improperly refer to another Member by name instead of by reference to position or district.

They are scripted in advance, and delivered by rote. The Ministers are handed their scripts, and expected to read them — including the pre-scripted unparliamentary bits. And the hopeless, hapless, sad-sack Speaker keeps letting them get away with it.

Do your job, Mr. Speaker.

Do your job.

And if you aren't prepared to do your job, fully, fairly, consistently, and without partiality, resign and let someone else do it.

Do your job, Mr. Speaker.




At 7:11 PM, May 26, 2011 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he allows Premier Dunderdale to constantly get away with referencing Jones and Michael as "you". This, too, is unparliamentary as their titles or the pronoun "she" is what is to be used.


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