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Cheers & Jeers

['Finance Minister Cathy Bennett delivers the April budget in the House of Assembly.']
Liberal MHA Cathy Bennett speaks in the House of Assembly. — Telegram file photo

Cheers: to beefing up the law. MHA Cathy Bennett says she’ll bring forward a private member’s motion to change provincial labour legislation to include language specific to sexual harassment in the workplace. Bennett outlined her intentions on the heels of a St. John’s court case in which Justin Penton — who had yelled an obscene sexual slur at NTV reporter Heather Gillis while she was mid-interview at the site of the city landfill — was acquitted of a charge of causing a public disturbance. The judge said Penton’s actions did not fit the legal parameters of the charge. Duly noted. But it sounds like Bennett is on the right track to have the law changed to include and address what is indisputably an odious act, and kudos to Gillis for taking the matter to court in the first place. You have to wonder what motivated Penton. If it was 15 minutes of fame, he’s certainly got that. Perhaps the next time the slur gets yelled, there will be a harsher penalty at the ready.

 

Jeers: to signal-less in St. John’s. A Telegram editor watched a driver weave through three lanes of traffic on Macdonald Drive during the commute home one evening last week and couldn’t help but notice the lack of indicator light. Once the driver made a turn and was clearly visible, the mystery was solved. The hand he would’ve use to flick on his signal light was otherwise occupied in holding his cellphone up to his ear.

 

Jeers: to the give-them-more-guns argument. Talk to a teacher and they’ll tell you about the satisfaction that comes with instilling students with a love of learning, about the thrill of watching children find subjects that enthrall them and of seeing them strive for and achieve their goals. We’ve yet to hear one say they entered the teaching profession in order to “shoot the hell out of” someone. And yet U.S. President Donald Trump says had a teacher been carrying a concealed weapon during the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting rampage in Florida, that’s exactly how tragedy could have been averted. Trump told the Associated Press late last week that having “gun-adept teachers and coaches” would bolster school security. Sounds like being a teacher in the United States is going to get a whole lot more difficult — and dangerous. On Friday, while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland, Trump clarified that he is only suggesting that school personnel already trained in firearms use carry concealed weapons, and that media claims to the contrary were fake news. He then went on to talk about the great pains he takes to cover up his bald spot. You just can’t make this stuff up.

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