Celebrating the best and the best of the worst in B.C.’s Question Period - for the week of Oct. 28-31, 2019.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN STORYTELLING
A little secret: there aren’t a lot of farmers among the Press Gallery.
Another secret: reporters don’t think a whole lot about farming day-to-day.
Last secret: sharing farmers’ stories educates those reporters and gets ink.
The BC Liberals did a masterful job this week of using Question Period to tell the stories of farmers struggling to deal with the NDP’s changes to the Agricultural Land Commission. All sorts of angles, all sorts of troubles, and a minister who couldn’t push her way out of it: it was a strong week for the Opposition.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN HOW NOT TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
Noted Legislature loudmouth Nicholas Simons just couldn’t help himself – he had to heckle the BC Liberals over their agriculture questions. Problem: there were real, live, frustrated farmers in the gallery watching, and they were not impressed:
One farmer stormed out:
This is how governments get a reputation as arrogant and high handed.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN BEST LINES
Laurie Throness captured what a lot of farmers are feeling – the NDP is happy to care about farmland, but doesn’t care about the people farming it. His shot launched NDP House Leader Mike Farnworth to his feet, lustily listing a litany of BC Liberal lapses from their 16 years in government.
Pretty clear Laurie struck a nerve with the usually cool, calm and collected Farnie.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN DEFLECTIONS
Going back to the 2001-2017 government record seems to be the only trick in the NDP’s bag. Under tough questioning Thursday about (another) delay in the arrival of ride sharing, Premier John Horgan jumped up and smacked back about the NDP’s child care program.
Pro tip: Cabinet Ministers look weak (and kinda stupid) when they can’t even tailor their non-responses to the topic at hand.
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN POKERFACE
Despite Nick Simons’ rudeness (or maybe because of it), the rest of the NDP front bench tried to look as neutral as possible during the farm questions:
Okay, maybe Horgan and James were a little more dour than “neutral.”
The feeling when all your “balanced budget, strong economy” talk is going down the tubes because Dave Eby can’t win a court case and you’re slowing the economy by suffocating employers under taxes and red tape:
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN LEARNING YOUR LESSON
Having been bludgeoned by David Eby last week, the BC Liberals wisely namastayed away from him this week. Most of their questions were leveled at Lana Popham and Selina Robinson, neither of whom lived up to the Eby level.
But I did enjoy this graphic from the #BCPOLI Memes account on Instagram:
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN A SPEAKER LIGHTENING UP
After a couple of snarly days, Speaker Darryl Plecas tried a shocking new tact to ratchet down the heckling Wednesday. “Members,” he intoned, “the interruptions are really getting out of hand here. So unless your interruption has a level of humour that is commonly displayed by the member from Abbotsford West or the member from Chilliwack, we don’t want to hear it.”
Mike de Jong, the aforementioned Abby West comedian, didn’t miss a beat: “So I says to the guy…”
THE QPEE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRETENDING TO UNDERSTAND SMALL BUSINESS
Not a great Wednesday for Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson, as she tried to fend off the request of unlikely allies Todd Stone and Vancouver NDP Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who want cities to be allowed to split assessments on small businesses (thus protecting them from having to pay the full tax on future developable land).
Understanding (and helping) small business is so foreign to the front bench of the NDP that Robinson spluttered her way to this gem:
“…we care about business. We want to make sure that people can continue to feed their families so that their businesses can thrive. We’re committed to working with people, rather than the people opposite, who ignored business…”
First: judging by doubling the taxes on business, belittling employers, adding red tape, and slowing the economy, the NDP do not care about business.
Second: Great that the Minister wants small business owners to feed their families as the first step to their business thriving. Of course, she’s taxing the hell out of them, and putting many out of business.
Third: Wasn’t the number one criticism the NDP leveled at the BC Liberals for 16 years that they ONLY catered to business interests? Ignoring people for business friends and insiders? Now she says they “ignored” business?
Jordan Bateman has a long history of public policy work, championing small business and fiscal responsibility. Currently the Vice President, Communications & Marketing for the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), Jordan also served six years as the B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and was a two-term Langley Township Councillor.