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LETTER: Personal and political

Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, left, chats with Premier Wade MacLauchlan during a break in P.E.I. legislature proceedings in this December 4, 2017 Guardian file photo.

(The Guardian / Mitch MacDonald)
Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, left, chats with Premier Wade MacLauchlan during a break in P.E.I. legislature proceedings in this December 4, 2017 Guardian file photo. (The Guardian / Mitch MacDonald) - The Guardian

We elect MLAs based on their character, and how they perceive things.

BY ISAAC WILLIAMS

GUEST OPINION

Douglas Coles begins his opinion article in the Guardian on Jan. 10 by throwing shade on The Guardian because they continue to investigate and ask questions of government instead of backing off based on “good economic times.” That's not how it works. The media acknowledges accomplishments where it’s due and then keeps doing its job. Coles' attacks at the media lead me to believe there is something he knows but the media doesn’t that is compromising for authorities.

The questioning of media integrity is reminiscent of the actions of the U.S. president.

The assertion here is because of his critique, Peter Bevan-Baker is therefore ungrateful for the freedoms and lifestyle he has as a Canadian. Coles asserts Bevan-Baker does this with his "personal, petty, political viewpoints."

All views in the legislature are personal and political. That is the idea. If the viewpoints expressed in the legislature weren’t personal, we could by now have robots write logical, algorithmic legislation that is objectively best for the common good.

We elect MLAs based on their character, and how they perceive things. Lately some political parties have evolved so that representatives lose their character and are more like a sports team than a caucus.

Character matters and Bevan-Baker has the high ground.

Nothing said in Bevan-Baker's speech was petty. Petty means insignificant. How can you say first that the farce comments are so offensive as to be unappreciative of the democratic freedoms we have, but then also think they’re petty?

They're obviously resonant and consequential. He did not say the entire sitting of the house was a farce; he was referring to specific debates and times during them. Passing legislation and voting on amendments without reading them incited the remarks.

Massive legislative overhauls are happening in the U.S. too fast for their legislators to keep up. Several bills are passing and going to have enormous consequences for generations because revisions and amendments were not added to bills because of the rush to score political points.

Our different political systems will prevent P.E.I. from taking the path the U.S. has but I see some similarities in question period. You could at times say the doublespeak and posturing is “reminiscent of below our southern border.” Sad.

Coles says refusing to retract farce is the act of a child but what does that make the cheap shots and pestering gibes from the government and the opposition? Is talking out of turn, trying to make a scandal over who walks the Premiers’ dog really the best contribution to make for your constituents? If one of your colleagues has the floor, keep quiet and let them do their job.

Mr. Coles outlines his close relationship with the Liberal Party, which is fine. Affiliations are part of democracy. I have mine. But his dismay comes off as cheap when farce-gate is compared with routine heckling by other MLAs, and especially when compared to the time Liberal Leader Paul Connolly, in a similar position as Bevan-Baker, flipped his desk over frustration with the PC majority’s quashing of amendments. What does Coles think of Mr. Connolly?

Despite trying to paint Peter Bevan-Baker as a spoiled child, the effect of his writing is that Douglas Coles paints himself as a spoiled grown man, among others, all realizing too late that everyone is starting to see them for what they are.

- Isaac Williams is a multi-instrumentalist, videographer and photographer living in Charlottetown.

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