On point

Last night, provincial New Democrats and Liberals made a lot of points in the house while debating legislation to give Vancouver the borrowing power it needs to complete the Olympic village project. But the point they most frequently made was a point of order - accusing one another of violating the legislature's rules. According to a review of the transcript of that debate, points of order were raised at least 14 times - most often by Liberal MLAs who accused the New Democrats of making statements that were "irrelevant" to the debate. Such statements are forbidden under section 40 of the legislature's standing orders. The following is a complete list of each of those points of order.

* Health Minister George Abbott accused Olympics and sport critic Harry Bains of straying "dramatically from the issue at hand in the bill we are debating."

* Community Development Minister Blair Lekstrom asked environment critic Shane Simpson to unequivocally withdraw his accusation the government "won't tell the truth" about the cost of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Mr. Simpson withdrew that accusation.

* Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell described education critic Norm Macdonald of making statements of "little or no relevance" four times, "swaying off the topic of this bill on a regular basis."

* Environment Minister Barry Penner asked energy, mines and petroleum resources critic John Horgan to direct his comments to "that portion of the bill we are discussing." And he described statements made by human rights, mulitculturalism and immigration critic Raj Chouhan as "straying way off topic from the sections of the bill."

* Minister Abbott asked employment and income assistance critic Jagrup Brar to "turn his attention to Bll 47 rather than waste the time of this House with rhetoric, as we've heard exclusively to this point." He later accused Mr. Brar of speaking about "irrelevant issues and claims and nonsense, which is not only entirely specious but entirely disconnected to Bill 47." Minister Lekstrom then echoed those accusations, asking Mr. Brar and New Democrat legislator to "to keep their comments, of which I'm sure all British Columbians would like to hear, on Bill 47."

* Mr. Macdonald asked Kevin Krueger to "conduct himself appropriately" after the small business and revenue minister accused Saanich South legislator David Cubberley of "not speaking the truth, whoever wrote the notes. It's embarrassing."

* Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon requested the speaker remind members to "speak to the one-page bill, Bill 47," stating that when Robin Austin "is speaking about issues completely unrelated to this one-page, Bill 47, and he's talking about schools and funding and parents, it is getting just a little bit beyond the pale."

* Mr. Macdonald asked Minister Krueger to apologize for calling a New Democrat member a "moron," saying "there has to be some level of decency" in the legislature. Minister Krueger withdrew the comment.

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