Michael chastised in the House

James
James McLeod
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Lorraine Michael

New Democrat Leader Lorraine Michael was rapped on the knuckles in the House of Assembly Tuesday after she tried to take the government to task for something that wasn’t really its responsibility.

What’s more, according to Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones it seems like Michael was criticizing the government for budget cuts that she voted in favour of behind closed doors.

On Monday afternoon, Michael went after Dunderdale during question period for budget cuts which forced the House of Assembly administration to lay off the one researcher for the public accounts committee (PAC).

“The public accounts committee focuses its attention on the findings of the auditor general and its reviews of government spending. Finally after eight years of inactivity, this committee has begun meeting. Now the government has laid off the one employee that the committee had to help with its work, just when I had hoped for more accountability for government spending,” Michael said.

“I ask the premier: Why is the government deliberately continuing to limit accountability and transparency at every level?” Michael continued.

On Tuesday, Dunderdale raised the matter again in the House of Assembly, saying that Michael was out of line by trying to hold the government responsible for those budget cuts.

Technically, the House of Assembly is independent from the government, and it is not run by the premier or her cabinet. Instead, the House of Assembly Management Commission deals with all matters dealing with the legislature, including the auditor general, members’ consistency issues, and staffers for legislative committees.

“Government ministries can only answer questions for which they are responsible,” Dunderdale said. “The leader of the NDP should have directed her question yesterday to the management commission.”

Michael is actually one of the six MHAs who sit on the management commission, and Dunderdale said Michael was at the Feb. 28 meeting when the budget cuts were discussed.

When The Telegram spoke to her, Michael said it was a closed session of the commission, and so she couldn’t say what went on at the meeting.

“I’m not answering any question about what happened inside of the management commission meeting,” she said.

Michael said she accepts Speaker Ross Wiseman’s ruling that it was inappropriate for her to hold Dunderdale responsible for decisions made by an all-party committee of MHAs, over which the premier doesn’t have any direct control.

Liberal House Leader Yvonne Jones sits on the management commission, and she said she was surprised Monday when she heard Michael’s question, because she said everyone at the Feb. 28 meeting voted unanimously for those budget cuts.

“I think it’s very hypocritical on anyone’s part that you can sit at one table and agree on something, and then walk into another forum and disagree and challenge your counterpart on it,” Jones said.

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

 

Organizations: PAC, Assembly Management Commission, NDP

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Recent comments

  • Mindy
    March 13, 2013 - 11:49

    Totally agree with -- I had to Choose Between! My My My who do we vote for??? Like we a stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

  • P F Murphy
    March 13, 2013 - 11:31

    Michaels said she couldn't comment on the actions of a closed committee, but Yvonne Jones did just that. Has Jones violated the rules of the Public Accounts Committee to score political points? On the other hand I think the Speaker often shows his political stripe. I believe the govt party really runs all the budgets and whether Michaels voted to cut the researcher because the PAC budget was cut and they tried to trap her there by having her vote to stay within that budget so she couldn't have been said not to have the ability to stay within a budget and now when she asks a question about why that budget was cut they throw that up at her to score poetical points from the other side. Seems like she'll have to take it from the Conservative and the LIberal sides now she is ahead in the polls.

  • sam
    March 13, 2013 - 10:16

    Wait til we get to see the REAL Lorraine Michael. I can only imagine what she was like as a nun back in the 70's, where they had full authority over students, and most parents. I wonder did people feel like 'Have' people back then...i think not! Lorraine should watch where she steps! I would say we will soon be hearing more about this...there are skeletons in everyone's closet. We think we have it bad now in the province, it will be a sad day if we ever see the NDP run this place.

  • Gordon Gekko
    March 13, 2013 - 09:26

    Please Re-Consider, keep drinking the kool-aid buddy. Williams, with his ego and arrogance, is the reason why this province is going down the crapper now. All he ever did was throw oil revenues at unsustainable programs, tantrums at the feds, and get us a new hockey team. He got to leave with the great unwashed worshiping him like the Second Coming, but his successors in government, the civil service, not to mention the taxpayers will be cleaning up his mess for a very long time.

    • Journo
      March 13, 2013 - 11:05

      Williams is the first premier in a very long time to challenge the Feds to fight for equal treatment. You have to spend money to make money and since Danny didn't take a salary I would say his interests were pretty focused on our future and not his own pocket (unlike many of the other current "civil servants"). Danny is and was a man of action; if the province had more people like him and less critics online, we would probably be closer to the have province we are supposed to be.

    • coco
      March 13, 2013 - 13:09

      @ Journo. It is a myth that he didn’t take a salary. He did take a salary. We paid him a salary. He put it into a tax free charity fund!

  • blame the liberals
    March 13, 2013 - 09:22

    The dunderfail clan has so many secrets to hide, how can anyone make any suggestions on solutions to problems that we have. I think about 80% of what comes from government now is BS. MHA's can't contact each other, ed martin getting a range of $120,000 for vactions that he never took and dunderdale saying things like " We have to make the tough decisions", when actual fact their unaccountable decisions is what put us in this messy position. The taxpayers are sure accountable to the government so therefore we should know more infomation, not less.

  • Kevin
    March 13, 2013 - 08:59

    I guess the truth hurts right NDP wanna be's????? Jones hits the nail on the head and the NDP, what there are voters, get all up in arms because their WANNA BE leader screws up............LOL

  • Please re-consider
    March 13, 2013 - 08:49

    If ever we needed Danny Williams, it's now. He is the only one, in my opinion, who has the skill, knowledge, and the love of NL and its people to get the job done! We have never had another premier, before nor since, who has had the ability needed to get this province on the right track and keep us there. His record speakers for itself! Please Mr. Williams...re-consider before it's too late and NL slips slowly but surely under for the last time! All the prosperity you brought us is quickly disappearing and the people of NL will have lost all hope, forever! Mr Williams, NL needs you!

    • Pete
      March 13, 2013 - 09:14

      And what do you think Danny Williams would be doing any differently than Premier Dunderdale? She's the one who has to make cuts because Williams ramped up spending so much, he'd have to do the same thing she's doing right now.

  • flexxa
    March 13, 2013 - 08:12

    ...im with "If I Had To Choose Between Them" - yup not much choice when it comes to leaders. Too bad.

  • Pete
    March 13, 2013 - 08:00

    Sounds like Sheilagh O'Leary.

  • Too funny
    March 13, 2013 - 07:53

    It's scary that some people think she should be running the province. Perhaps she should. She already has the avoid-accountability-and-shift-the-blame routine down pat.

  • More questions
    March 13, 2013 - 07:48

    At a time when the people of the province are turning away from our oppressive government, the Liberals (Ball and Jones so far) are cuddling up to Kathy and Jerome. If they had any guts they’d cross over and sit with the PC Regime instead of playing games. Oh well. It’s disgusting but certainly not surprising. Would like to know why Michael voted to lay off the researcher though.

  • tom
    March 13, 2013 - 07:43

    I honestly think all three are incompetent. But when outside agencies start discussing how secretive the PC gvt. is here now, you know we have an issue. Funny - you never hear anything about the recommendations after the Cougar crash until around anniversary time. Lip service doesn't help the families. Get the memorial done.

  • original townie
    March 13, 2013 - 07:01

    Michael stated she could not discuss issues from a closed session of the management commission, yet she demands transparency from the government. What a double edged sword. As bad as the PC government is in their inability to run this province like a business, trust me the NDP are worse. Michael has never put a solution forward to any problem that arises from day to day....just talk at best. Embarassment to politics. A new leader for the PC party is needed to rebuild credibility. They will form the next government if that happens. I hope Dunderdale has enough common sense to step down before she is unceremoniously put out to the curb. The alternative NDP or Liberals running the show is not an option.

    • Leonard
      March 13, 2013 - 07:53

      Actually, the NDP is an option for an increasing number of people... many are tired of this province being run like a (failing) business instead of a province.

    • Brett
      March 13, 2013 - 08:28

      Yup leonard - running it as a failing province is definitely the way the NDP want to go.

  • If I Had To Choose Between Them
    March 13, 2013 - 07:00

    Choose between Lorraine Michael, Kathy Dunderdale or Liberal leader Yvonne Jones - I think I will join those who choose not to vote anymore. This place I call home deserves better choices than that.

  • Jay
    March 13, 2013 - 06:55

    Yvonne Jones nailed it. Michael comes across as extremely hypocritical. The NDP sometimes appears to be a viable option and then you see the positions they take, and you know they can only function in opposition.

  • hslaw
    March 13, 2013 - 06:42

    Jump on NDP now Miss Jones You might get the fright of your life come election time.I hope we can get a strong NDP candidate for my riding

  • Don
    March 13, 2013 - 06:32

    We are starting to see the real Lorraine Michaels. She is a political animal who will do anything to win the government in the next election. You can't trust a word that comes out of her mouth.

  • bob
    March 13, 2013 - 06:27

    God help us if LORRAINE MICHAEL & the ndp were ever to form govt. in n/l. Politics aside what have they to offer?