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LETTER: Party before province?

There will likely be many familiar faces seated in the chairs of the House of Assembly after the next provincial general election.
- File photo

The House of Assembly, the People’s House, met approximately two weeks ago in the way legislatures all over our country have been meeting, with minimal members. The members of the House of Assembly from each political party and independents worked together to respond to the quickly moving COVID-19 Pandemic.

This crisis has taken the full attention of our society, and this province is no exception. It is not a time for partisan politicking — but a time for effective governance.

The legislation, Bill 38 “An Act to amend the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act” was passed unanimously.

The Leader of the Official Opposition, Ches Crosbie (PC), initially expressed reservations. However, after discussion within the sitting, and co-operation amongst all members, a compromise was found.

Therefore, the legislation was put to a vote, and all three parties, and one independent voted unanimously to pass it into law.

The merits of the legislation aside — it was debated, discussed, contemplated, and approved in the People’s House by the individuals elected to represent us, the people, who are the constituency of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Most of the reservations about the impact of this important law on our enshrined Charter of Rights and Freedoms was expressed mainly by the media who argued this law was the thin line between a necessary step, and the loss of personal freedoms. With a court challenge pending, Crosbie and his Progressive Conservatives are balking from a law that they unanimously supported.

Crosbie’s Progressive Conservative voted in favour of the law — concerns and all. Now, with the court challenge, he is balking, and wants to return to the drawing board by rescinding the law. He could have voted against the law had he felt it was too onerous on mobility rights. Instead, he had his misgivings addressed, and supported the law.

Now they want to lead the parade against it. It begs the question, what is their bottom line?

This is partisan politicking at its worst.

Don’t be mistaken, this is either an attempt to politicize the issue in an effort to create the grounds for an election in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, or it is a further example of Crosbie’s Progressive Conservatives’ identity problem, flip-flopping like a pair of sandals on a summer’s day.

The result is an Official Opposition that employs partisan politicking at a time of crisis for our society, and province.

Party before province is shameless at the best of times, I don’t even want to speak to what this would be called — at the worst of times.

Matthew K. Babb
St. John’s

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