Today's Telegram editorial speaks to an issue that provoked a flurry of traffic on Twitter late Tuesday afternoon amongst observers of the provincial legislature and its reporters.
The issue was the behavior of Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce, whom the Speaker had to interrupt on at least four occasions related to unparliamentary language and character assassination against government members & ministers.
Eddy is known for three things: 1. He gave Clyde Wells his seat after the Liberal leader failed to get elected in the 1989 provincial election; 2. He is an partisan enforcer, a bully and a charter member of the bleacher creature club; 3. All around shit disturbing antagonistic contrarian.
In government he was the consummate bleacher creature. Residing in the back row tormenting the opposition speakers. Heckling and distracting them. Like fellow west coaster, Darrin Langdon, he was, is, an enforcer. Now he has a better seat. His voice carries. The House is but a game to him. There will be no serious debate or discussion. He lacks the necessary skills for that.
Is he alone? I would argue no. The Premier may talk about the issues she has with decorum in the House of Assembly but she has a pack of bleacher creatures that spend the day heckling and shouting down opposition members.
The most noticeable early trend is the cabal of MHAs and cabinet ministers that I call the Tweetsters. They have been virtually engaging, tormenting and bullying the NDP member for St. John's North for months. This bullying has spilled over to the legislature. Every single time that Dale Kirby rises, they taunt and try and shout him down.
The NDP had promised that they would refrain from this kind of behavior in this session. They wanted to offer the public and other members of the house an example of respectful debate.
Perhaps, the Liberals, who are trying to earn back the respect and support of the public could borrow another page from the NDP. Perhaps, while they huddle this morning to arrange questions and the order of speakers, they might offer a lesson in etiquette to Joyce. Give him a choice. Respect the house and it's members or be silent.
There is no I in team. Stop embarrassing your parties and devaluing our democratic institutions.
Coffee break is over. Back to work