Questions By Members: 18 November 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

PAC witnesses

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

As MLAs of this House we deal on a daily basis with a high level of cynicism that many Islanders feel about government and their politicians. Trust and faith in governments is in decline, and I feel that it is the duty of those of us privileged enough to sit in this House to work hard to turn that around.

Question to the Premier. You came into office promising to do things differently and to restore Islanders’ faith in politics and politicians. Can you explain to this House how having members of your caucus vote in a block to prevent witnesses from being called before the Public Accounts Committee is helping to restore Islanders faith in politics?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, the members of the Public Accounts Committee operate as MLAs to hold the government to account.

The Chair is a member of the official opposition, the vice-chair is a member of the Liberal caucus. The members of that committee determine what is relevant and what is to be discussed at the committee as issues arise.

I always appreciate the work of the Public Accounts Committee. I think the members – and you’re a member of the committee – are there to deliberate and determine what’s the most important thing to do.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your first supplementary.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the work that we do on Public Accounts and all standing committees also, as long as we’re allowed to do so.

I think everybody who follows politics is aware that, to a certain degree, Question Period can be theatrical. This is theatre rather than substantive debate. But we are always told – as the Premier just said – that the real work of politics happens in committees.

As I mentioned, the Premier’s caucus has recently been whipped in order to block witnesses from appearing before the committee, preventing that committee from doing its work.

Can the Premier explain how he expects committees to do their work with this kind of obstructionism?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, I respect the work of the committees, as does everyone in this House, and the committee members make their own decisions as to who they’ll call, what they need to know, and how they intend to pursue things.

I know I’ve gotten inquiries myself from Public Accounts asking for information that I’ve gladly provided exactly in that spirit. I look forward to the work of the Public Accounts Committee.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your second supplementary question.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some questionable rationale has been offered when it comes to preventing currently serving public servants from being called, but none has been offered for refusing to allow former elected officials now out of office from attending.

A question to the Premier: What is the rationale for Liberal members of the Public Accounts Committee voting against Wes Sheridan and Robert Ghiz from being called as witnesses?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, as I’ve indicated, I don’t have the rationale because the members make their own decisions.

But I’ll say that when a member opposite appears in the public media and accuses other members of cowardice or accuses other members of filibustering when they’re offering an honest and decent opinion, that’s when you start bringing this House into disrepute.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

2 Comments

  1. W.Wilkins 25 November 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I’m not sure if this statement by the premier is nauseatingly ironic, just bad acting or a perfect example of unintentional transparency, ” . . . when a member opposite appears in the public media and accuses other members of cowardice or accuses other members of filibustering when they’re offering an honest and decent opinion, that’s when you start bringing this House into disrepute.”

    If this is what our premier really, honestly and truly thinks is bringing the House into disrepute, we’re all cooked.

     
  2. rebootbill 26 November 2016 at 9:24 am

    It is easy to lie and twist the truth when you are an immoral, unethical person such as OLD WADEY BOY, Wade MacLaugh-in. I have lost all faith in my government. I see this particular government headed up by Old Wadey Boy as a hindrance, not a help, to most things a free person living in a free society wants to do. Therein lies the kicker. We only think we live in a free and open society. Nothing could be more of a lie.

     

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