MHAs — focus on doing what you were elected to do
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.