Seven questions equal one answer

James McLeod
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Liberal Leader Dwight Ball had to ask the same question seven times to get a straight answer out of Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis Wednesday.

Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis answers a barrage of questions in the legislature Wednesday about the child and youth advocate’s report. — Screen capture from the N.L House of Assembly website

For the second day in a row, the Liberals spent their entire time during question period asking about a report released this week by the child and youth advocate.

The scathing report details systemic failures on the part of the government which ultimately led to a troubled 16-year-old setting a building on fire, which killed another resident.

The 2011 Springdale Street fire was investigated by the child and youth advocate, who found a string of problems with the social services, police and health-care providers who were supposed to help the youth.

Davis has said he won’t commit to acting on any of the report’s 30 recommendations until he’s had a chance to digest the report and sit down to meet with child and youth advocate Carol Chafe.

During question period in the House of Assembly, Ball wanted to know if Davis got a copy of the report on Tuesday, the same as everyone else, or if he got an advance copy.

“I ask the minister: when did you first receive a copy of this report?” Ball asked.

Davis didn’t answer the question.

“My intention is to have a meeting with the child and youth advocate so we can have a full, frank, fair discussion about all the recommendations that are contained within that report,” Davis said, “so we can both have a full understanding of what her vision and view is.”

Ball tried again.

“The question was not answered,” he said. “The question is clear: when did you first receive a copy of the report?”

Again, Davis didn’t answer the question.

“Mr. Speaker, the final report was released (Tuesday) by the child and youth advocate,” Davis said. “She released it publicly yesterday morning. It was a public event.”

By the fifth time Ball asked essentially the same question, he pointed out Davis had already said publicly that he received an advance copy of the report.

“Well, in media reports it is saying there was a copy in advance given to the minister,” he said. “I ask the minister: when did you get the advance copy?”

Davis didn’t answer the question for a fifth time, instead referring to a meeting he had a couple months earlier with the child and youth advocate.

Davis said in that meeting, the upcoming report was discussed in passing.

“Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, the final report was released (Tuesday),” Davis said. “The meeting I had with the child and youth advocate was a get-to-know-each-other opportunity so we could have a discussion about our roles and we could meet each other.”

It wasn’t until the seventh time that Ball asked essentially the exact same question that he got an answer.

“In the time frame between that meeting and the final copy being released, did you get an advance copy of this report?” Ball asked.

Davis said yes.

“There was a draft of the report that was provided by the child and youth advocate and I cannot give you the exact date, Mr. Speaker, offhand,” he said. “I cannot give you an exact date. It was within a week before this release occurred this week, is my recollection, and it was about that time. So, it was some time last week, but I cannot give you an exact date.”

Davis said he hasn’t yet had his meeting with the child and youth advocate, and won’t commit to accepting the recommendations of the report.

Geographic location: 2011 Springdale Street

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Recent comments

  • Marshall Art
    December 07, 2013 - 13:15

    Think about it, folks. Just another day in the House of Bafflegab. We're paying these jokers six figure salaries to act like characters out of Monty Python's Flying Circus'. It's like, ' I asked you the same question 7 times'. 'No you didn't'.' Yes I did'. 'Did what'? 'I asked you that question' . 'What question?'. 'You know the question'. 'No, I don't'. ' Yes, you do'. ' I do what ?'

  • reg mac donald
    December 06, 2013 - 19:28

    folks you have to realize that to be a mha or mp you are trained not to out right answer question straigh forward you are trained to beat it around the bush but never answer you see the same in all aspect of goverment .that is part of the persona u need to be a good politican .with out been like that you don't get elected its tell lies legally lol

  • Catherine
    December 05, 2013 - 14:33

    Ah, lack of transparency is alive and well with the PCs.

  • jean poole
    December 05, 2013 - 09:29

    entire question period; wicked; what is there research and HOA staff doing? filling out Xmas cards while reading Telegram; watching CBC to come up with questions for QP;

  • Just Sayin
    December 05, 2013 - 09:06

    The 3 Fs answer: he wants a "full, frank and fair" discussion, and yet makes every attempt to have any discussion. How deceptive. They say a statesman can lie in a clever way. He's not even clever, just a run of the mill politican.

  • picky
    December 05, 2013 - 08:33

    This just shows how stupid it makes Davis look.

  • crista
    December 05, 2013 - 08:15

    Seven questions is not enough and their is more than one answer????

  • truth bearer
    December 05, 2013 - 08:07

    This is why people are cynical. Imagine if your business partner, employer, friend or spouse had to ask a simple question 7 times without any sensible answer. Mr Davis - your foolish answers makes you look foolish. Another tainted Minister.

  • Darrell
    December 05, 2013 - 07:30

    Atta boy are really showing your inabilities now.....big time. Too many politicians get elected based on who they are and their popularity. If this is the best you can do, maybe you should go back to being a cop. You remember that place where you had to have grade eight and a mustache in order to join.

  • Kilgore Trout
    December 05, 2013 - 07:17

    I respect Paul Davis, but he made an absolute fool out of himself here. Also, he can't remember what happened last week? Give me a break.

  • Deer Lake video
    December 05, 2013 - 07:01

    Dwight here's a question. Did anyone in that house of assembly have anything to do with that youth committing that crime? Does it really matter what day that report came out? What have you done personally to help that child? What have you ever done personally to help troubled teens? Tell me, how much of the province's money was wasted in the amount of time it took you to ask that question 7 times? Take in everyone's salary in that house for those 7 questions, add them all up and look at yourself in the mirror to say, geez with all that money I could have went 'myself' and helped that child, or another with problems. Instead you stood there, not a hair out of place - Dippity Do'd to the 9's, and thought that asking a question about a report 7 times was the best thing to do. Get out and do something about it, help someone. There are more pressing situations with our province right now than you asking questions about a report. Ask how the child is doing, or how the family is that lost their home. do something about that. Stop wasting our money to have your 45 seconds of fame on the 6:00 news.

    • Brain Freeze
      December 05, 2013 - 14:38

      Mr. Video, you have obvioulsly been watching a little too much of Dumb and Dumber. Ok movie, but don't take it literally. Your reply needs subtitles cuz I don't follow you.

  • Jack
    December 05, 2013 - 06:34

    Since Dwight Ball had to ask Paul Davis the same question seven times, but didn't respond, Davis should have been charged and held for Contempt of Parliament and Contempt of Legislature. That decision should be made through the courts and not the Speaker due to his biases in favour of the Progressive Conservatives.

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 05, 2013 - 06:17

    Davis looked like he didn't even believe what he was aying.