MHAs — fo­cus on do­ing what you were elected to do

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - Ken LeDez Por­tu­gal Cove-St. Philip’s

Elec­tors vote with the ex­pec­ta­tion that their MHA will have a pro­fes­sional fo­cus on the needs of their con­stituents and be a leader in their com­mu­ni­ties and in the House of Assem­bly, not a sy­co­phant or “suck-up.”

Re­ports by Bruce Chaulk (com­mis­sioner for leg­isla­tive stan­dards, House of Assem­bly) on harassment al­le­ga­tions, and Dono­van Mol­loy (in­for­ma­tion and pri­vacy com­mis­sioner) on the fail­ure of politi­cians and staff to pre­serve re­lated mes­sages are be­yond dis­ap­point­ing. It is dis­turb­ing and dis­re­spect­ful to con­stituents if any MHA feels ha­rassed or in­tim­i­dated.

If any MHA, party leader, or even the premier, fails to ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity of an elected mem­ber to do the job for which they were elected, that dis­re­spects elec­tors. If an MHA en­deav­ours to con­trib­ute by, for ex­am­ple, seek­ing the Speaker’s chair in the House, they should not be a tar­get for abuse or dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives well un­der­stand they are ex­posed to pub­lic view and scrutiny. If they do not want some­thing they say to leak out, then the best ap­proach is not to say it.

The cur­rent gov­ern­ment was elected on a plat­form that promised open­ness and trans­parency.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties need a mea­sure of self-dis­ci­pline in or­der to run an ef­fec­tive gov­ern­ment or op­po­si­tion, but should not op­er­ate be­hind closed doors in a man­ner that is the op­po­site of their elec­tion plat­form or their pub­lic po­si­tions. Elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives well un­der­stand they are ex­posed to pub­lic view and scrutiny. If they do not want some­thing they say to leak out, then the best ap­proach is not to say it.

The prov­ince needs all MHAs to tackle our many chal­lenges. One of those se­ri­ous is­sues is not a need to boy­cott a nor­mal fundrais­ing bar­be­cue for MHA Pam Par­sons. That MHA Dale Kirby should think that to be an ap­pro­pri­ate use of his time, in­tel­li­gence or rep­u­ta­tion is ap­palling. For MHA Ed­die Joyce to sub­sti­tute pro­fan­ity for re­spect in­di­cates ab­ject fail­ure to ad­just to the re­al­i­ties of to­day, liv­ing in­stead frozen in a time when dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­iour was ac­cepted com­mon cur­rency.

What pos­si­ble gain is there for the prov­ince by try­ing to block an MHA from stand­ing for the Speak­er­ship? Why risk the sta­bil­ity of the gov­ern­ment on such pet­ti­ness? There has been im­por­tant progress on many is­sues and chal­lenges that con­fronted the gov­ern­ment when it took office. Why put all that in jeop­ardy by not fully re­spect­ing elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and their vot­ers?

And now we have Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons di­rect­ing com­ments to­wards MHA Colin Hol­loway that would cer­tainly be re­garded as harassment were they di­rected at any em­ployee of his depart­ments. Dou­ble stan­dards are not ac­cept­able in pol­i­tics.

I know Dale Kirby, Ed­die Joyce, Dwight Ball and An­drew Par­sons -- all ac­com­plished in­di­vid­u­als. I do not know Colin Hol­loway, but his concerns seem war­ranted. In ad­di­tion to Pam Par­sons, two other fe­male MHAs -- Cathy Ben­nett and Sherry Gam­bin-Walsh -- have ex­pressed concerns. I un­der­stand there will be other re­ports, but the premier and all MHAs must be clear now on what is not ac­cept­able. I pre­dict that this gov­ern­ment will fall apart and lose if this non­sense does not stop promptly.

I worked hard to help elect Pam Par­sons. She is an ex­am­ple of how an elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive should work hard and fo­cus on is­sues im­por­tant to her con­stituents and the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador. I am dis­gusted that her do­ing her job would be of­fen­sive to Kirby, or any­one else in the House of Assem­bly. Don’t they have more im­por­tant things to do?

I have some sim­ple ad­vice: keep your nose out of other MHAs’ dis­tricts and fo­cus on your job and your own district. And grow up, while you’re at it. A good start would be to apol­o­gize to MHAs and the pub­lic and ask for for­give­ness and help to do bet­ter in the fu­ture. I am to­tally con­fi­dent that Pam Par­sons is not go­ing to sud­denly give up on the con­stituents and ideals she has worked so hard for. If there are any Lib­er­als that think she should, well it is time for them to go.

“Pam for the Peo­ple” is do­ing her job. To her and to the other MHAs that have had the courage to speak out, con­grat­u­la­tions and keep it up! That is what you were elected to do.

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