It's statement period not question period

With its solicitor general having stepped down and its insurance corporation under scrutiny by the media, the Campbell administration can expect a raucous question period this week. As has often been said, though, it's question period not answer period. So don't expect the Liberals to be forthcoming about either story. But the New Democrats need to take at least some of the blame for this state of affairs. After all, even though question period might not be answer period, the New Democrats sometimes don't seem to use that period to ask many questions. Instead, they make statements disguised as questions.

I can't count the number of times when I've heard an opposition critic demand a minister admit they're wrong, incompetent or reverse a decision. What do opposition MLAs expect the response will be? Do they expect the minister to stand up and say, "You're right! You got me! The passion of your question has forced me to confess my mistakes."

In fairness, the New Democrats occasionally do a bit better in estimates debate, when they have an opportunity to spend hours asking about an individual ministry's budget.

But if the opposition really wants to hold the government to account, it's members need to stop making blunt statements for the cameras and ask some pointed questions on behalf of British Columbians.

5 Comments

This is an awesome editorial!

I couldn't agree more, being that I watch on YouTube these farcical 2-3 minute BCNDP statements of blather and then this crazy character right from a B-movie called Mary Polak flings the truth they're lazy hypocrites right at 'em. The BCNDP needs to be held to account, NOT Public Eye Online!!!

For instance, why does the BCNDP NOT have an alternative budget? Of course they don't want to own up to the responsibility of being 100% alternative government because heaven knows Mary Polak will counterattack... and that's before the business community rallies against the BCNDP's love of higher taxe$.

Plus the BCNDP has never voted in favor of BCLib programs. Never. But when the BCLibs trim the budget or run a deficit... either way, the BCNDP pounces. It's hard to figure out how to work with the minority when they can't decide whether to spend or save.

Also the BCNDP has not committed to repealing the HST if (Heaven Forbid) there's a Premier Carole James. Just like with the carbon tax... the position changes like a weathervane or convienence (sp?). To quote the action hero of the BCLibs: "When on earth is the opposition going to get on board with supporting programs?"

Oh and the BCNDP bellowing at Mary Polak as she's trying to answer these over-the-top statements? Totally inappropriate and unbecoming of "Honourable Members". I think the press gallery could do a better job in QP anyday than the entire BCNDP caucus! Perhaps the Official Opposition could use a few good journalists who can ask a question instead of make noise...

The job of the opposition is to oppose. Why in God's name would they come up with a proposed budjet at this time? Have you worked one up for your star Polak for that mythical day that she gets to actually represent people . She now as other of Gordo's folks, say what they are told , praise him when it goes well but carry the heat if something goes wrong. Good wages and perks for sure but what a way to collect wages, be fall guys for Gordo

I just called in to Smitty's show on CKNW. Apparently Sean you're on point.

Oh and AVoter... the BCNDP needs to provide real alternatives. NOT rhetoric. Mary Polak is a hero, hands down. I'm going to stand behind my remarks - stop trying to invoke your alternative universe full of darkness :-).

It is truly pitiful. I am so let down by the NDP I can't find the words. They should be holding that man's feet to the fire, not massaging them.

Question period is nothing more than a dog and pony show whether it be provincially or federally. It is nothing more than a competition among the MLAs/MPs to see whose mug makes the newscast that evening. If anything it probably misleads more voters than informs them.

As for the opposition laying out an alternative budget or commiting to do specific things three or four years before the next election is foolhardy to say the least. We've seen many examples of statements made by Gordon Campbell when he was in opposition that were never delivered on once he got elected.

As long as we have political parties, our governance will be subpar. And as long as people blindly defend each and every thing their favourite party says and does, we will continue to live in a polarized environment that stymies rather than enhances progress. You will never make a boat go forward if half the crew rows in one direction and the other half rows in the other. This boat, BC, has been spinning in circles for the last few decades and it looks as if nothing is going to change anytime soon.

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