The Great Scrap Metal Debate

Remember Rob Anderson’s comment from last week that when he was part of the government, he felt like a trained seal who read whatever was put in front of him?

Well, welcome to the circus.

Of all the pieces of legislation facing this government, it appears the one of greatest importance to the government is the highly contentious, controversial and red hot Bill 205, Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act.

Yes, you read that right. The Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, a private members bill from the Tory member from Strathcona, Rob Quest.

What, you may ask, is the Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act? Apparently, it is aimed at deterring scrap metal theft, which is supposedly a pretty big deal. Good. Anything that deters theft is fine with me. But to at least 11 members of the Tory caucus — including leading lights like Carl ‘Take My Wife, Please’ Benito — felt so strongly about the bill that they rose to speak during discussion of private member’s bills on Monday. Each one read out lo-o-o-ong, detailed descriptions of why the Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act was so important. All of them praised the bill, and its sponsor. This debate took up a minimum of 90 minutes of house time.

My guess is that if you asked any of the 11 Tories who stood up to speak in favour of this bill, you’d be lucky if you could find one who even knows what they were talking about. I have sympathy for the poor sod in the Public Affairs Bureau who had to write the same speech over 11 slightly different ways.

Why would they waste so much time on such a trivial matter? The key words are ‘wasting time’. The longer they debate trivial government motions that are going to pass anyway, the less time there is to debate opposition motions.

It’s all so silly. Just like the circus.

And Kudos for Alana DeLong, the Calgary MLA, for standing up and lobbing the most shameless softball questions at Ted Morton. They were:

1) The B.C. government recently announced a 15 per cent personal income tax reduction. They claim this means that B.C. taxpayers now pay the lowest provincial income tax in Canada on incomes up to $130,000. My first question is to the Minister of Finance and Enterprise. Has Alberta lost its tax advantage?

2) Can the minister tell us what tax advantages Albertans continue to enjoy?

3) Does the minister have the numbers to back up his claim that Albertans remain the lowest taxed in Canada?

OK, Alana, you’ve done your time. Next time the puffball question has to be asked, you are within your rights to say: “Hey, I asked a humiliating puffball last week!”

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