Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Because of the element of human involvement, successful reform must therefore also include a reform of attitude. This includes the creation and maintenance of an institutional culture of responsibility that extends from the MHAs, to the Commission of Internal Economy, to the Speaker, to the Clerk of the House and to the officials in the House administration. That is why I believe that there must be a strong emphasis on both individual and collective responsibility within the system. This will be reflected in such matters as codes of conduct, training obligations, specific duties imposed on the Commission of Internal Economy, and accounting officer duties imposed on the Clerk

- Chief Justice Green

Payback sucks! The provincial NDP may be the victims of their own success.

NDP Leader Lorraine Micheal is mad as a hatter after being outmaneuvered by the Progressive Conservative and Liberal dominated House of Assembly Management Commission.

The provincial dippers want more money for research and salaries to match their new numbers in the House of Assembly. Micheal wants a dedicated Chief of Staff and a Director of Communications just like the Official Opposition Liberals.

Unfortunately for the NDP, the HMAC is refusing at this point to provide any extra funds.  They did  grant additional financial resources to the Office of the Official Opposition.  The funds provided to the Official Opposition were recommended by Metrics EFG Inc. who were hire to review caucus resources after the opposition parties complained about their diminished research capacity in the wake of the 2007 election which left the Liberals with 3 members and the NDP with just one.  In 2008, the PC's voted unanimously to approve $124,000 in new money for their caucus and $126,000 for the New Democrats but blocked the full allocation of $162,000 that was recommended for the Official Opposition Office. Instead, they were provided with just $12,000.
The review concluded that all three caucuses were in need of additional resources, see pages 20 and 21. The report identified the needs as greatest in the office of the official opposition. The independent consultant reviewed the resources provided to caucuses in other jurisdictions across Canada, the UK and Australia. There is a recognition that the principle of equitable treatment among parties is seen as part of democracy and the democratic process and they require support in order to have full voice and full participation in what goes on in the Legislature.

I questioned the NDP allocation in 2008 based on the fact that the New Democrats had just one seat in the Legislature. They were not a parliamentary group. If they were not a recognized parliamentary group, than how could the House of Assembly Management Committee fund them at all? What was the justification for treating one MHA in the House of Assembly different than all others? 

We saw the answer in the last election. It was about driving a nail into the coffin of the Liberal Party. To disable them by preventing the Official Opposition from having the capability to hire the necessary research staff to do an effective job. The problem for the Progressive Conservatives is that the vacuum created by a weak Liberal party was filled by a rising NDP. The PC's are now trying to put the proverbial toothpaste back in tube, and the Liberals are going along with it because they want to stunt the growth of the NDP.

In light of the new reality of a nearly balanced opposition, a  review of the proper staffing needs of both opposition parties is warranted.  It should include public hearings so that the public can have input on the final recommendations. After all, it was the people that judged the parties in the last election, and the people who decided the composition of the people's house.

The new reality of a strong third party that has more seats in this session of the House of Assembly than the Official Opposition had in the last, merits extra resources. However, as the Liberals learned in 2008, this is not a meritocracy. It is a Dunderocracy.

1 comment:

Cyril Rogers said...

Peter, the lack of transparency of this government is astounding, compounded by the the turf wars of the Opposition......and is doing a disservice to democracy.

The Liberals, understandably, are wanting more resources, especially given the shoddy way that Danny's Tories took away their funding a few years back. At the time, it seemed the Tories gave the NDP more funds out of spite and to gut the Liberal Party. Now, the Liberals appear to have turned the tables on the NDP but, if so, this is one more example of a lack of cohesiveness by all members who sit in opposition.

In my opinion, and I realize this may be naive, all members on the other side need to focus their efforts on the government and not each other. To remain divided is to continue to prop up an arrogant tired government with little or no vision.

This issue highlights the need for a third option, or coalition, because a divided opposition is going to give this administration carte blanche to do what they like.

A new party perhaps, with a Liberal Democratic base, and people who have fallen away from the Tories, now that Danny is gone?