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.
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.