Start mak­ing sense

The Compass - - Editorial -

IIt seemed like a rea­son­able ques­tion. An op­po­si­tion mem­ber, Keith Hutch­ings, asked Premier Dwight Ball in the House of Assem­bly last week about the car­bon tax im­pli­ca­tions of a new deal to de­velop the West White Rose oil­field - an es­pe­cially apt ques­tion, given that a car­bon tax would ap­pear in 2018, un­der the cur­rent fed­eral govern­ment time­line.

The tax wasn’t men­tioned in the an­nounce­ment last week that work to de­velop the field was go­ing ahead. It’s valu­able to know where that money would come from, es­pe­cially if it will af­fect the prov­ince’s tax­pay­ers.

The an­swer? Here it is, in all its glory, from our ver­ba­cious premier: “Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, first of all, I want to just re­it­er­ate the con­fi­dence that he has in the fed­eral Lib­eral win in the next fed­eral elec­tion be­cause the Con­ser­va­tive leader that was elected just a few days ago had said clearly that if he was elected, if An­drew Scheer was elected, he would be do­ing away with the car­bon tax. So I ap­pre­ci­ate the vote of con­fi­dence for our fed­eral col­league,

Mr. Speaker. Se­condly, Mr.

Speaker, we all know that the car­bon tax is part of op­er­a­tions, but the beauty about the deal that we have signed on be­half of the im­pact of car­bon tax - and we know it’s dif­fi­cult when you get off­shore. This govern­ment has struck a deal that the car­bon tax can be used at the dis­cre­tion of this govern­ment. If we want to work with in­dus­try, we will work with in­dus­try, Mr. Speaker. I ap­pre­ci­ate the con­fi­dence in our fed­eral leader, Justin Trudeau, Mr. Speaker, and the fact that he’s sug­gest­ing that An­drew Scheer can­not win the next elec­tion.”

Cue the chortling and desk-pound­ing on the govern­ment side.

Se­ri­ously - we’re pay­ing for this?

A leg­isla­tive re­porter de­scribed the re­sponse as “word salad.” But that’s far too kind.

The fact of the mat­ter is that our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives spend our time and our money on fool­ish, self­serv­ing one-up­man­ship, and prob­a­bly think it’s witty, sparkling repartee.

Why wouldn’t they think that?

They are, af­ter all, sur­rounded by a co­terie of party ro­bots who would clap and laugh up­roar­i­ously if a mem­ber of their party flopped on the floor like a fish and started speak­ing in tongues.

In ev­ery­one else’s work­ing world, when you’re asked a ques­tion, you ei­ther an­swer it or de­cline to give an an­swer. You don’t go off on some spe­cious rhetor­i­cal flight that those who are paid to like you then ap­plaud.

It is the lin­guis­tic equiv­a­lent of spend­ing your day with a pork chop tied around your neck so your dog climbs all over you, and then claim­ing it’s be­cause the hound ap­pre­ci­ates your sparkling wit. It’s an em­bar­rass­ment.

Here’s a novel idea, Mr. Premier: don’t waste your time.

Or ours.

A leg­isla­tive re­porter de­scribed the re­sponse as “word salad.” But that’s far too kind.

— This edi­to­rial orig­i­nally ap­peared in The Tele­gram

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