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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nice work if you can get it

This is the agenda for this afternoon's meeting of St. John's City Council.

The City of St. John's has a population of about 100,000, a budget in 2011 of just under $225-million, and a municipal work force of 1200 to 1400, depending on the time of year.

This will be City Council's thirty-third meeting of 2011.

That is the same number, co-incidentally, of sittings that the House of Assembly has had this year.

The House of Assembly is the legislature for a province of just over 500,000 people, whose government has budgeted nearly $8-billion in expenditures this fiscal year; a government with over 11,600 people directly on the payroll, with another 21,000 working in the health-care system, nearly 11,000 in the public post-secondary educational institutions, more than 9500 in the public education system, and over 2000 who work for provincial crown corporations.


In three of the past six years, St. John's City Council has had as many meetings, or more, than the House of Assembly has had sittings.

So far in 2011, there has been at least one territory — the NWT — whose legislature has out-sot the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly. It has been a decade since this provincial legislature out-sat all three territories; every year since 2001, at least one territorial legislature sat more.

It has been 16 years since the elected House of Assembly held more sittings than the appointed Senate.

Only once in the past decade has the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly ranked higher than eighth, out of all thirteen provinces and territories, in terms of number of sitting days of its legislature.

With a ridiculously abbreviated provincial election campaign about to start, here's a good question you may want to ask any incumbent who shows up at the door looking for your vote:

Good sir/madam, if you don't seem to like the job very much, if you don't want to provide oversight of government, if you don't want to spend time working on sound legislation, hearing from witnesses in committee, and all the other things that healthy legislatures in healthy democracies like PEI and Nunavut do, why on earth should I hire you again this time as my MHA?

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