No doubt a contributing factor to the uninspiring standards of debate in the Alberta Legislature has been the small number of questions allocated to opposition parties, a topic that has been the subject of no little commentary in recent weeks by the various caucuses of opposition.
This suggests that even Bull Trout Social Democrats and Wildrose Market Fundamentalists can find common ground now and again, even if they cannot, as I am sure both parties would insist, agree upon such questions of the day as whether we have a spending problem of a revenue problem in this province…
Regardless of that, only rarely does debate in our Legislature reach a level of passion sufficient to register on a lie detector, let alone a seismograph. After all, it’s pretty hard for an opposition MLA to work up a frenzy sufficient to send a minister of the Crown over the edge when he or she must wait 10 minutes or more for a government member to lob gentle softballs at the minister. “The Honorable Member has asked an excellent question, hack, fap, ahem…”
This is a pity really, because a good sharp debate entertains the visiting school kids and shocks their parents a good deal more than a gentle admonition from Mr. Speaker for everyone to put their BlackBerries away.
Yeah, sure, Frank Bruseker could get under Ralph Klein’s skin in days of yore, and a nettled Ron Liepert can put on a good show now and then, but, really, folks, our legislators just have a lot to learn about inserting some passion, not to mention some bathos, into debate.
Strictly as a public service, then, I offer these two clips that illustrate the more inspiring standard of debate in our Legislature’s sister legislature in New Brunswick. We live in hope!
Thanks to CC of the Canadian Cynic blog for pointing out the first, and to an unnamed Alberta politician for drawing our attention to the second.