Celebrating the best and the best of the worst in B.C.’s Question Period - for the week of Nov. 25-28, 2019.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN QUESTION EVASION
It’s a pretty simple formula: the weaker the NDP spin on a given issue, the more likely they default to either attacking the BC Liberals for their 16 years in office, or to tout other, irrelevant NDP announcements.
Carole James and John Horgan were the two most egregious offenders this week, which is unfortunate, as they are the two who should be offering the best, and most articulate, explanations of NDP policy. Instead, we got silly politics and stupid jokes.
Horgan was so flippant that he got heckled as “Premier Yuk-Yuk.”
Of course, if your alternative is to let Doug “Vaughn says I should be fired” Donaldson, Melanie “I’m no political scientist” Mark, Claire “I paved my island” Trevena, or Katrina “No, really, ignore my other reports, I’ve been doing child care stuff I swear” Chen speak, you’d jump up and crack stupid jokes too.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN YEAH, WE HEARD IT THE FIRST TIME
Labour Minister Harry Bains, who took a beating in QP for the first two days of the week, said at least three times: “We will take no lessons from them [the BC Liberals] on labour relations.”
Of course, that’s false. Finance Minister Carole James clings to the BC Liberal labour relations tactic of government-wide bargaining mandates and me-too clauses like a life preserver. The NDP are also refusing to cave into their old allies at the BC Teachers Federation – so there are a few lessons they’ve learned…
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN ACTUAL NO LESSONS
You know who actually takes no lessons in the NDP’s British Columbia? UNBC students, apparently.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PIVOTING
Monday and Tuesday, more than half the BC Liberal questions were on labour strife, hammering away at job action at TransLink and the University of Northern B.C.
Wednesday and Thursday, nary a word.
Amazing what a midnight deal does to a QP plan.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN GOOD POINT, GREENS
Kudos to Sonia Furstenau of the BC Greens for firing away at Children and Family Minister Katrine Conroy on her decision to scrap the requirement of a social work degree for provincial social workers.
Conroy blurted out a weak defence about wanting to draw more people into social work, but Furstenau was prepared: Rather than lowering standards, “Why not invest in education to help more people earn social work degrees?”
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN DODGING AND WEAVING
Unlike the late, more-grate-than-great Rickon Stark, who was inexplicably incapable of running zig-zag on Game of Thrones, George Heyman scrambled like crazy to try and avoid a Furstenau question on carbon tax refunds for LNG Canada.
“Why are you answering a question I didn’t ask?” Furstenau shot back.
“Time to clear the air!” heckled Mike de Jong.
Heyman didn’t want to answer because he didn’t like the answer he’d have to give: all of it.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN YOU-WAITED-THAT-LONG-TO-ANSWER-BUT-THAT’S-ALL-YOU-GOT?
Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark positively chortled when asked about the UNBC strike, noting it was the first question for her in 28 months and 19 days.
Then she fumbled and bumbled her way through a lame non-answer as to why she’s okay with UNBC students being off for nearly a month due to labour strife.
All these cabinet ministers dream of being Dave Eby and dominating a question period, but if the hot yoga pants don’t fit, don’t wear them.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN POLITICIAN SPOTTING
Personally, the QPees appreciated the Mark question for another reason – it gave us a honest-to-goodness Jinny Sims sighting.
Word in Surrey is that seeing Jinny out and about is increasingly rare, as Jinny hunkers down during the RCMP/Special Prosecutor investigation into her activities around immigration. (That’s former RCMP officer and all-round good dude Garry Begg sitting right behind Jinny, which is *incredible* optics. One wonders what he’s thinking.)
This photo is a real gift to a tired awards show writer. Check out Ravi “Too many mills” Kahlon in the top right, relaxing as all those superfluous lumber mills close. There’s Jagrup Brar in the top left, rubbing his chin, probably wondering why he’s not in cabinet after watching his colleagues’ performance this week; and Rob Fleming in the bottom left, pondering if he could take Justin Trudeau in a tousled hairdo competition.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN SPIDER-MAN POINTING AT HIMSELF
My spies tell me NDP backbencher Doug Routley made an astonishing accusation in a heckle: “Why do you guys [BC Liberals] heckle women so much more than men?”
It would have made for a more devastating hit if it hadn’t come in a week where Harry Bains and John Horgan, both, well, men, could barely be heard above the shouts. (Or in a form other than heckling BC Liberal frontbenchers Mary Polak and Shirley Bond.)
Alas, I’m old enough to remember NDP members calling Christy Clark “Premier Barbie,” and running their own leader Carole James out of her job, so, to paraphrase Harry Bains: take no lessons from the NDP’s behaviour on this matter.