Hey everybody! Ready for another exciting week in the House of Assembly?
The past week in the House of Assembly wasn't exactly action packed, and unless something big happens Monday morning, I'm not too optimistic about the week ahead.
Let's review the biggest stories of last week: Some medical waste was found on the side of the road in St. John's, and Yvonne Jones and Kathy Dunderdale yelled at each other even though they both basically agreed with each other.
To be clear, while both of these are important issues - lots of important issues are raised in the House every week - they're just not super exciting.
Here's an (incomplete) list of other issues raised in the House in the past week: bullying, World Water Day, coyotes, the specifications of a request for proposals for a freight vessel for coastal Labrador and poor road conditions on the Northern Peninsula.
Again, to be clear, these are all important issues, but (with the possible exception of the coyotes) none of them are very exciting.
A lot of this, I think, can be traced back to inexperienced MHAs.
On the opposition side of the House only two - count 'em, two - current MHAs were there this time last year. And it's no coincidence that some of the most impressive performances thus far have come from Yvonne Jones and Lorraine Michael.
The other nine opposition MHAs are learning fast, but they just don't have the knack of it just yet.
By way of an example, look at Thursday in the House, when Liberal Leader Dwight Ball led off question period asking about the Public Utilities Board in Nova Scotia, and the review they'll be doing on Muskrat Falls.
Ball was making some interesting points, and getting into it with Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy. Up in the press gallery, I briefly thought that this was going to be the big story of the day.
Then after only two questions - both of which Ball read from prepared notes - he switched gears and started asking about World Water Day, and boil water orders in the province.
After asking three questions on the water issues, Ball was done for the day, and he tagged Jones in.
Jones proceeded to ask five questions about the closure of the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre, and the back-and-forth between her and Dunderdale was seriously intense.
At the end of the day, myself and my colleagues in the press gallery ended up doing stories on the sub-centre.
I think there's a particular knack to performing in the House, and knowing when your shots are really landing. Without passing judgement on specific MHAs, I'll say that I think some are better than others, and a lot of the folks sitting on the opposition side of the House are still learning the knack.
This is exacerbated by the fact that there isn't a single big issue that's dominating debate - for example, the Abitibi mill closing, the Muskrat Falls project being proposed or a certain former premier's penchant for picking fights with the prime minister.
So basically, unless something crazy happens, strap in for another week of this.
I expect there'll be a lot more to talk about after the federal budget comes down this Thursday. That should liven things up a bit until the provincial budget comes down some time in April.
Things will also probably spice up towards the end of this week when the Public Utilities Board releases its final report on Muskrat Falls.
As always, stay tuned in The Telegram to see how this all plays out.
In case you're wondering, today isn't Friday.
I know I promised weekly wrap-ups every Friday while the House of Assembly was open. Apparently it only took two weeks for me to break that promise. (There's an obvious political joke here, but I'm already running three days late, so there's no time for it.)
For all of you people madly hitting the refresh button on TheTelegram.com Friday, patiently waiting for my latest post, I apologize.