In a display
of partisanship, fundamental unfairness to the Member for St. John’s Centre,
Gerry Rogers, and unspeakable bad judgement, House of Assembly Speaker Ross
Wiseman engaged in a political hatchet job on Tuesday, with the Government, to embarrass
Assembly is more than a place where laws are made. It is a debating forum where the people’s
issues are supposed to be given light by their elected representatives. The cut
and thrust of debate often has a contentious quality. It is the Speaker’s role to ensure that it is
conducted in an atmosphere of decorum, failing which the disrespectful (including
any who fail to comply with a ruling by the Speaker) are punished.
reason the Speaker, though an elected partisan, must be one capable of rising
above partisanship. He must possess a
good intellect, an ability to listen to the arguments of all parties and be
capable of rendering a fair judgement.
In short, he must be one who is not possessed of an ‘apprehension’ of
of the Member for St. John’s Centre, the charge was not one that arose in the
heat of debate. It was raised in a
Statement by one, no less than the Minister of Justice. Darin King confirmed that this hatchet job
was not only malicious; it was determinedly so.
The Minister charged that Rogers was a member of the Facebook group “Kathy
Dunderdale must GO!!!” in which, according to CBC, “users had posted comments
containing death threats against the Premier”. We are talking “Facebook”, which like many
other social media is a constant source of hacking and impersonation. Even this scribe had his Twitter Account
hacked; imagine what a target are the social media accounts of elected Members!
is even is peripherally familiar with social media, would have to weigh in
favour of the Member on the basis of her own simple denial. What is more, even had
even the Member acknowledged that she was a voluntary member, which she did not,
she could not be faulted because some of participants in the group chose to be
stupid or worse. That the Speaker chose to demand an apology from the Member,
in the absence of a single shred of evidence that her membership in the group was
voluntary rather than ‘volunteered’ by a
person unauthorized, indicates a level of judgement, on his part, that is both baffling
and disturbing, at the same time. Evidently,
according to the Speaker’s twisted logic, if one Tory is a crook they must all
be crooks! The concept of guilt by association is truly beneath contempt.
Speaker willingly engaged in a hatchet job on the Member for St. John’s Centre
is a certainty. That he is a disgrace to
the esteemed office of “The Speaker” is uncontestable. At least three other
things are certain.
plot was hatched in the Premier’s Office.
The Government is fearful of the NDP; it will do anything to cause one
of that Party’s Members embarrassment, even if it risks embarrassing itself.
King was given his instructions and like the weak Minister he is proving to be,
was incapable of calming his First Minister.
The lady is clearly possessed of a bunker mentality; one that is getting
worse, as the political thermometer heats up. That a Minister of Justice, one
whose role is to act with uncompromising integrity, a beacon for fairness and
high principle, would engage in such a contemptible tactic, is tough to
contemplate. Gerry Ottenheimer was a
former NL Tory Leader, Minister of Justice and served as the Speaker for
several years. Notwithstanding his years
as a partisan, his service, as an impartial legislative ‘arbiter’, was beyond
reproach. He must be rolling over in his grave at the antics of this lot.
the Speaker exhibited such a high degree of bad judgement, for which there is
likely no equal in the annals of Hansard of this Province, he ought to step
not a good day for democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador.