How many New Democrat legislators does it take to question the premier? Tweleve, apparently. Because that's how many crowded into the Douglas Fir Room to watch party leader Carole James interrogate Gordon Campbell during estimates debate. But it's not as if there many answers to be had. The premier repeatedly declined to answer questions about how his office discloses privileged documents, claiming such matters "arise out of the court case that is currently before the courts" - a reference to the ongoing legislature raid trial. This, despite the fact he answered similar questions during last year's debate.
That stonewalling exasperated New Democrats, who could be heard making comments such as "What a..." and "Might as well have gone home." And those comments, in turn, exasperated Small Business and Revenue Minister Rick Thorpe, who began gesticulating to committee chair Harry Bloy in an attempt to draw attention to the opposition's misbehaviour. That approach, though, met with little success.
So Minister Thorpe took matters into his own hands, ordering the New Democrats to "keep quiet" and "have some respect" in a low voice. But such orders didn't sit well with the New Democrats - specifically Cowichan-Ladysmith legislator Doug Routley who quipped, "Oh, you're always respectful aren't you? So respectful."
To which Minister Thorpe sarcastically responded, "You did a good job as a school trustee, didn't you?" Your humble organ is pretty sure that was meant as an insult. But, while we figure out how, we invite you to read through the transcript of those proceedings.