Nfld. & Labrador

Dunderdale to On Point: House is dysfunctional

In an extended interview with On Point with David Cochrane, Premier Kathy Dunderdale defends a controversial decision to not open the legislature until 2012.
Kathy Dunderdale talks frankly about Muskrat Falls, the legislature and the next term. 22:26

Premier Kathy Dunderdale says the governing Tories will not have any substantial legislation to debate for months, and that she is not keen about the level of debate she has seen until now.

"If the house of assembly was just about question period, where most of the accountability takes place, then we could go and do that in a month's time," said Dunderdale, who underscored in an interview with On Point with David Cochrane that the primary purpose of the house is to pass laws.

"We need legislation to bring to the floor of the house of assembly. It's not going to be ready in time," said Dunderdale.

CBC News has been reporting elements of Dunderdale's extended interview since it was recorded on Wednesday. Dunderdale openly casts doubts whether the legislature is even working. "I don't find it a place for a very healthy, open, constructive debate to start with," she said. [MORE: Doug Letto analyzes the challenges facing Kathy Dunderdale.]

Armed with a majority government, Dunderdale also says she will bring an expected deal on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project to the house for debate, but not a vote. Dunderdale also tells CBC News that whistleblower legislation — which has been promised since the Tories took control of government in 2003 — is still not ready, and may not be any time soon.

"It's a very complicated piece of work," Dunderdale said.

Click on the video above to see the full episode of On Point, which also includes a post-election discussion with the regular political panel: PC Shawn Skinner, New Democrat Dale Kirby and Liberal George Joyce.