Bad behaviour in legislature continues

The Tories and Liberals both promised to curb bad behaviour at the legislature and conduct debates respectfully, but there's been little sign of that this fall.

Tories and Liberals have both promised to be respectful, but insults remain regular feature

Premier David Alward launched an attack on Opposition Leader Brian Gallant's inexperience, work ethic and sincerity Friday as he closed debate on his government's fourth throne speech.

"The Liberal leader doesn't mind talking about working together, but when working together actually requires some work it seems the Liberal leader's time is too valuable," said Alward, reading from a prepared text.

"He would rather spend his time rattling off empty slogans."

The remark about Gallant and others in the speech ended another week of insults and put downs from all sides at the legislature, despite standing promises from both the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives to treat one another with more respect and elevate the level of political debate in the province.

'Long-term negative effect'

"It's one of those slow erosion problems," said NDP Leader Dominic Cardy, who contends personal attacks at the legislature need to be reined in.

"It turns regular people off politics and helps to drive down the calibre of candidates for office. It has a long-term negative effect," said Cardy.

All week at the legislature, New Brunswick MLA's traded accusations of incompetence, deception and stupidity regarding issues of governing.

If common sense were cash money, that bunch over there wouldn't have enough between them to make a phone call at a pay phone.- Progressive Conservative MLA Glen Savoie

"If common sense were cash money, that bunch over there wouldn't have enough between them to make a phone call at a pay phone Mr. Speaker," Saint John-Fundy Tory MLA Glen Savoie said about the entire Liberal caucus on Thursday, although insults flew in both directions.

"Will the premier admit that all he has done in three years is break promises?" asked Liberal Leader Brian Gallant on Tuesday.

"The first commitment that the leader of the Opposition made was that he was going to do politics differently, and that is something that he broke on Day One," responded Alward.

In fact, both leaders have promised higher standards and more collaboration in the legislature, but have been unable to rein in their backbenchers or resist launching attacks themselves.

On Thursday, even Education Minister Marie-Claude Blais and Opposition education critic Chris Collins raised voices at each other over the location of a new school near Woodstock, just minutes after jointly promoting anti-bullying week.

"Shame on you," Blais hollered at Collins after he suggested political interference in the location of the school.

"The minister of education is the one playing politics," responded Collins. "The premier is the one playing politics."


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