Nfld. & Labrador

Keeping legislature closed a bad idea: Rideout

A former government house leader is criticizing a decision to keep the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature closed until next spring.
Newfoundland and Labrador's house of assembly is not expected to re-open in 2011. (CBC)

A former government house leader is criticizing Kathy Dunderdale's decision to keep the province’s legislature closed until next spring.

Tom Rideout said he had to defend a similar decision by Danny Williams after he led the Tories to their election win in 2007.

Rideout said he believes it was the wrong decision four years ago, and Dunderdale shouldn’t make the same decision now.

"The government is an incumbent government. It has plenty of legislation on the books and ready, I'm sure, for the legislature. I think it's a sign that in Danny's case and, again, unfortunately in Kathy's case, that they're not house of assembly people," said Rideout.

After a returning a PC majority to government on Tuesday, Dunderale said the house won’t sit this year and may not reopen until next spring.

Rideout said he loved life in the house of assembly, but he said Dunderdale and Williams see it as a "necessary evil."

Arrogant and irresponsible

NDP leader Lorraine Michael also criticized the decision not to reopen the house this year.

"I think its irresponsible. You know, Danny Williams did the same thing in 2007 and I just see Kathy Dunderdale carrying on the same arrogant way of dealing with opposition in the house," she said Tuesday, after the NDP won five districts in the provincial election.

"They don't like having to deal with us. So it’s a way of silencing the opposition. It really disturbs me."

The number of non-government members in the house has grown from four liberals and one NDP member to six liberals and five NDP members.