Nfld. & Labrador

'Maybe math wasn't my strong suit,' Finance Minister Ross Wiseman jokes

What began as a serious debate in Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature over new electoral boundaries ended in a few laughs on Wednesday.
Finance Minister Ross Wiseman was answering questions from NDP leader Lorraine Michael, when he joked that math wasn't his strong suit. (CBC)

What began as a serious, back-and-forth debate in Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature over the establishment of new electoral boundaries ended in a few laughs Wednesday.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael questioned what would happen if the independent commission that will review the boundaries cannot complete its work within the 120-day deadline set out by Premier Paul Davis.

I wasn't too bad with English and remember I said, Mr. Speaker, within, within six months. I wasn't equating 120 days to six months- Ross Wiseman

Finance Minister Ross Wiseman rebutted, saying, "There seems to be a lot of doubt that whether these people can do a piece of work within 120 days, and I read yesterday into the House  into the record  a piece of a report that came out in 2006 with a commission of that day, that a future report can be done within, within six months."

'I wasn't too bad with English'

Michael was quick to point out Wiseman's mathematical error, resulting in a roar of laughter from the House of Assembly.

"Mr. Speaker, I invite the Minister to do his mathematics, six months is two months more than 120 days," Michael said.

Wiseman chuckled as he responded. 

"Maybe math wasn't my strong suit," he said. "However, I wasn't too bad with English and remember I said, Mr. Speaker, within, within six months. I wasn't equating 120 days to six months."

Once the laughter subsided, Wiseman said he is confident that the chief justice will appoint a capable chairperson to head the independent commission. 

Premier Paul Davis and the governing Progressive Conservatives want the number of seats in the House of Assembly to be cut from 48 to 38. 

MHAs were called back to St. John's for a sitting that began on Monday. 

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