Transcript: A Better Question Period | Jun 05, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "A better question period. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says QUESTION PERIOD AT THE
ONTARIO LEGISLATURE HAS ALWAYS
BEEN GREAT THEATRE, OR A BLOODY
EMBARRASSMENT.
IT'S A CHANCE FOR THE OPPOSITION
TO HOLD THE GOVERNMENT TO
ACCOUNT.
WE ALSO HEAR THAT SOME TEACHERS
WON'T BRING THEIR STUDENTS TO
SEE IT ANYMORE, BECAUSE THE
BEHAVIOUR OF HONOURABLE MEMBERS
ISN'T VERY HONOURABLE. COULD WE
DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THIS
TRADITIONAL AND CENTRAL PART OF
OUR DEMOCRACY BETTER? LET'S FIND
OUT FROM:
JANET ECKER, FORMER PROGRESSIVE
CONSERVATIVE CABINET MINISTER...

Janet is in her late fifties, with chin-length wavy blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a blue blazer and a white blouse.

Steve continues DAVID WARNER, FORMER SPEAKER OF
THE LEGISLATURE FROM 1990-95 AND
AN NDP MPP FROM
SCARBOROUGH-ELLESMERE...

David is in his seventies, clean-shaven, with short-cropped white hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, blue shirt, and dark blue tie.

Steve continues DAVE LEVAC, THE LONGEST-SERVING
SPEAKER OF THE LEGISLATURE EVER.
HE SERVED FROM 2011-2018 AND WAS
A LIBERAL MPP FROM BRANT...

Dave is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with mid-parted gray hair and a mustache. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and printed red tie.

Steve continues AND LAURA STONE, WHO NOW COVERS
QUEEN'S PARK FOR THE GLOBE AND
MAIL BUT ALSO DID TIME ON
PARLIAMENT HILL.

Laura is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair. She's wearing a tan blazer and a pale blue blouse.

Steve continues AND AS I SAY THAT, IT OCCURS TO
ME THAT I MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE A
PRISONER THERE.
DID TIME IN A GOOD WAY.

Laura says IN A GOOD WAY.

Steve says FIRST TIME FOR YOU
HERE, FIRST TIME FOR YOU HERE,
FIRST TIME FOR YOU HERE.
GREAT TO HAVE YOU ALL,
PARTICULARLY SINCE IT ONLY TOOK
YOU ABOUT THREE HOURS TO DRIVE
HERE FROM BRANTFORD YESTERDAY.

Dave says GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.

Steve says I AGREE.
LET'S PUT YOU TO WORK RIGHT
AWAY.
WHEN YOU WERE RUNNING QUESTION
PERIOD, AS THE SPEAKER OF THE
LEGISLATURE, WHAT DID YOU FIND
TO BE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM?


The caption changes to "Dave Levac. Former Liberal MPP."
Then, it changes again to "Such bad behaviour!"

Dave says THE VISCERAL COMMENTS THAT
CAME OUT FROM... COMMENTS THAT
WERE DONE TO KIND OF PROVOKE AND
TO BE MEAN.
I DID NOT TOLERATE THEM.
I USUALLY ASKED PEOPLE TO
WITHDRAW.
WHEN YOU ASK SOMEBODY TO
WITHDRAW, THERE'S NO LIST OF
WORDS THAT YOU HAVE TO SAY.
IT'S ACTUALLY BY CONVENTION, BUT
IF IT ELEVATES THE ANGER, IF IT
ELEVATES THE EXCITEMENT, YOU CAN
ASK SOMEBODY TO WITHDRAW, AND
THAT'S A SIGNAL TO THEM THAT
SAYS CALM DOWN.
I ALSO INSTITUTED A PROGRAM
WHERE I GAVE THEM A WARNING.
IF I GAVE THEM A WARNING, THE
NEXT TIME I SPOKE TO THE PERSON,
I KICKED THEM OUT.

Steve says AND YOU DID DO THAT?

Dave says I DID.

Steve says DID YOU KICK A LOT OF
PEOPLE OUT?

Dave says NOT A LOT.
AS SOON AS I SAID WARNING, A LOT
OF THESE GUYS HAD QUESTIONS, AND
SOME OF THE ONES THAT WERE
PROVOKING HAD QUESTIONS TO ASK,
SO THEY DIDN'T WANT TO LOSE
THEIR QUESTION, SO THEY BEHAVED.

Steve says GOTCHA.
DAVID WARNER, WHEN YOU WERE THE
SPEAKER, ADMITTEDLY BACK IN THE
DAY, WHAT WAS THE WORST PART FOR
YOU?

The caption changes to "David Warner. Former NDP MPP."

David says I THINK SIMILAR TO WHAT
SPEAKER LEVAC MENTIONS, IT WAS
ON OCCASION INAPPROPRIATE
LANGUAGE.
SOMETIMES GROUPS OF MEMBERS, SO
THEN I RECALL ONE DAY WHERE THE
ENTIRE LIBERAL CAUCUS DECIDED TO
WALK OUT BECAUSE THEY, FOR
WHATEVER REASON, BUT THEY ALL
WALKED OUT, AND THEY ASSUMED
THEN THAT EVERYTHING WOULD COME
TO A STANDSTILL, WHICH IT
DIDN'T.
I THOUGHT, WELL, IT GIVES
CONSERVATIVES MORE OPPORTUNITY
TO ASK QUESTIONS, SO APPARENTLY
THEY WENT... THE LIBERALS WENT
OUT INTO THE LOBBY, THEY WATCHED
ON TV, REALIZED THAT QUESTION
PERIOD WAS CONTINUING, AND
SHEEPISHLY ALL CAME BACK.
AND I HAD... PRIOR TO THEM
ACTUALLY WALKING OUT, I STOOD
FOR SEVEN MINUTES, AND...

Steve says TRIES TO GET ORDER?

David says YEAH.
AND I ONLY HAD TO DO THAT ONCE,
AND THEN THEY GOT THE MESSAGE,
YOU KNOW?
BUT IT WAS... AND I THINK THE
BASE OF IT ALL, AND I THINK
TODAY ESPECIALLY IS NOT HAVING
RESPECT FOR ANOTHER
PARLIAMENTARIAN.

Steve says OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO
FOLLOW UP ON THAT AS WE GO
ALONG.
YOU WOULD HAVE EXPERIENCED,
GOING BY MEMORY HERE, AS A
BACKBENCHER, GOVERNMENT
BACKBENCHER AND THEN AS A
MINISTER.
FOR YOU WHAT WAS QUESTION PERIOD
LIKE?

The caption changes to "Janet Ecker. Former PC Cabinet Minister."

Janet says I USED TO SORT OF ENJOY
QUESTION PERIOD, QUITE FRANKLY.
THERE WERE DAYS IT WASN'T AS
MUCH FUN, BUT IT'S KIND OF THE
CUT AND THE THRUST AND FOR ME IT
WAS, YOU KNOW, CAN YOU SORT OF
BAT THEM OUT OF THE PARK IF THEY
ARE SORT OF THROWING SOMETHING
AT YOU SORT OF THING.
I USED TO FIND IT SORT OF
INTERESTING, STIMULATING,
CHALLENGING, A LITTLE BIT OF
FUN.
BUT ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET
YOUR... WHAT YOU THINK YOUR
MESSAGE IS ACROSS.

Steve says DID YOU FIND IT
USEFUL?

Janet says YEAH, I THINK SO.
I THINK SO.
NOW I MEAN THINGS HAVE CHANGED A
LOT SINCE... YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN
A WHILE SINCE I WAS THERE.
BUT...

Steve says 24 YEARS SINCE YOU
WERE FIRST ELECTED.

Janet says IS IT REALLY?

Steve says YEAH.

Janet says OH, GOD.
THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME ABOUT
THAT.
IT DOESN'T FEEL THAT LONG.
BUT YOU KNOW, I USED TO BE
SURPRISED HOW MANY PEOPLE
ACTUALLY WATCHED, YOU KNOW, AND
THE MEDIA STILL TAKES CLIPS AND
THINGS LIKE THAT OFF WHAT YOU
SAY IN THE HOUSE.
BUT IT WAS ALSO TOO... I MEAN,
IT'S A TEMPERATURE GAUGE ABOUT
WHERE AN ISSUE IS AND HOW AN
ISSUE IS PLAYING, AND IT'S ALSO,
FRANKLY, REALLY MAJOR
ACCOUNTABILITY.
LIKE IF YOU CAN'T STAND UP AND
EXPLAIN WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT IS
DOING OR WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT IS
DOING IN THAT VENUE, THEN YOU
SHOULDN'T BE DOING WHAT YOU'RE
DOING, AND SO FOR ME IT'S AN
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM THAT...
YOU KNOW, AMERICAN POLITICIANS
JUST HAVE NO IDEA.
YOU KNOW, WALKING THROUGH THE
SCRUM... IT'S NOT ONLY QUESTION
PERIOD ITSELF, YOU HAVE TO
USUALLY WALK THROUGH A SCRUM
GOING IN OR OUT WITH THE MEDIA
THERE, AND IT REALLY IS A DAILY
ACCOUNTABILITY EXERCISE.

Steve says SHOULD WE HEAR FROM
THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE RIGHT NOW?

Janet says ABSOLUTELY.

Laura says WE ARE FOR THE PEOPLE, STEVE.

Steve says THERE YOU GO.
AS YOU WATCH IT, WHAT DO YOU
THINK PREVENTS QUESTION PERIOD
FROM BEING A MORE USEFUL
EXERCISE THAN IT IS?

The caption changes to "Laura Stone. The Globe and Mail."

Laura says WELL, I'M LIKE JANET.
I ACTUALLY ENJOY WATCHING
QUESTION PERIOD GENERALLY.
I LIKE THE POLITICAL THEATRE.
I LIKE WATCHING POLITICIANS ON
THEIR FEET AND SEEING WHAT THEY
CAN COME UP WITH AND HOW THEY
RESPOND.
NOW I THINK SOME OF THE PROBLEMS
THAT ARE OCCURRING RIGHT NOW IS
WHAT'S HAPPENING AT QUEEN'S
PARK, ESPECIALLY, IT'S OFTEN
DESCRIBED AS A TOXIC ATMOSPHERE.
AND WE TALKED ABOUT HOW PERSONAL
SOME OF THE COMMENTS AND SOME OF
THE INSULTS HAVE BECOME.
YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE VITRIOL
THAT WAS DIRECTED AT KATHLEEN
WYNNE, FOR INSTANCE, AND THAT
STILL IS, EVEN THOUGH SHE
OCCUPIES JUST THAT ONE CORNER
SEAT OF THE LEGISLATURE.

THE CAPTION CHANGES TO "WATCH US ANYTIME: TVO.ORG, TWITTER: @THEAGENDA, FACEBOOK LIVE."

Steve says SHE GETS BOOED.

Laura says SHE DOES, YOU KNOW, AND IT'S
CALMED DOWN A BIT SINCE THE
ELECTION, BUT IT DOES SEEM
THERE'S THIS AIR OF THE CONSTANT
CAMPAIGN THAT'S HAPPENING, AND
IT'S NOT ABOUT GOVERNING OR
GOVERNANCE.
IT'S ABOUT SHOWING UP YOUR
OPPONENT, AND THAT GOES BOTH TO
THE OPPOSITION AND THE
GOVERNMENT.
SO THERE IS THIS TOXICITY THAT'S
HAPPENING.
AS WELL, YOU KNOW, THE ISSUE
OF... WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT IT'S
NOT QUESTION PERIOD... SORRY,
IT'S QUESTION PERIOD NOT ANSWER
PERIOD.

Steve says IT'S NOT ANSWER PERIOD.

Laura says BUT I THINK IT'S JUST THE WAY
THAT IT GOES COMPLETELY OFF
TOPIC THAT SOME OF THE LEADERS
OR THE MPPS ARE ABLE TO JUST
COMPLETELY DISMISS THE SUBSTANCE
OF A QUESTION AND MOVE ON TO
TALKING POINTS.
AND I BRING UP THE EXAMPLE OF
RECENTLY WHEN THE PREMIER FORD
WAS ASKED ABOUT ABORTION, FOR
INSTANCE, AND HE DIRECTED THAT
QUESTION TO ENERGY MINISTER GREG
RICKFORD WHO TALKED ABOUT THE
CARBON TAX.
AND THAT WAS JUST A TOTAL MISSED
OPPORTUNITY FOR THE GOVERNMENT
TO ANSWER WHAT IS A SERIOUS
QUESTION THAT PEOPLE IN ONTARIO
AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY WANT TO
HEAR AN ACTUAL ANSWER TO.

Steve says WELL, FULL DISCLOSURE
HERE, THERE WAS... AND I THINK
ACTUALLY I SAW THE SPEECH THAT
HENRY JACIC FROM McMASTER GAVE
TO YOUR ORGANIZATION, THE
ASSOCIATION OF FORMER
PARLIAMENTARIANS OF ONTARIO, AND
HE PUT OUT A TOP EIGHT LIST OF A
BUNCH OF IDEAS THAT HE WOULD
SUGGEST COULD MAKE QUESTION
PERIOD BETTER.
SO WE'RE GOING TO GO THROUGH
SOME OF THEM RIGHT HERE, AND WHY
DON'T WE START BY WATCHING THE
MONITORS HERE, BECAUSE SHELDON,
HERE'S ONE THING HENRY JACIC
WOULD LOVE TO GET RID OF.
ROLL IT, PLEASE.

A clip from Question Period plays on screen with the caption "May 15, 2019."
In the clip, Premier Ford stands in the Legislature and talks.

He says WE'RE LOWERING TAXES ON
BUSINESS, LOWERING TAXES ON
RESIDENTS, MAKING SURE WE LOWER
HEATING COSTS, GAS COSTS.
THAT'S BEING RESPONSIBLE.
SOCIALISM DOES NOT WORK.

The caption changes to "May 16, 2019."

Minister Lisa MacLeod says
THIS IS A GOVERNMENT THAT
WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT WHAT
MATTERS MOST, AND I WILL HAVE NO
PART OF LISTENING TO THE FEAR
MONGERING OF THE MEMBER OPPOSITE.

The caption changes to "May 6, 2019."

MPP Taras Natyshak says
SPEAKER, YOU KNOW WHAT, IT
TAKES A LOT OF WORK...

The Speaker says GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER, COME TO ORDER.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE LEADER, COME TO ORDER.

The caption changes to "May 6, 2019."

MPP John Fraser says WILL THE...

[Interjections]

The Speaker says COME TO ORDER.

Fraser says WILL THE PREMIER STOP
FUNDRAISING FOR HIS LEADERSHIP
CAMPAIGN AND FUNNELLING IT INTO
CONSERVATIVE PARTY COFFERS?
YES OR NO?

The Speaker says GOVERNMENT SIDE HAS TO COME
TO ORDER.
JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE AT THAT END
OF THE CHAMBER DOESN'T MEAN YOU
CAN SHOUT DOWN THE MEMBER WHO'S
GOT THE FLOOR.

The clip ends.

Steve says NOW THAT'S TED ARNOTT,
THE CURRENT SPEAKER, AND FOR HIM
THAT'S A TEMPER TANTRUM, RIGHT?

Janet says YES.

Steve says HE'S A PRETTY MILD
MANNERED GUY.
HE WAS UPSET THERE.
WHAT DOES HENRY JACIC WANT TO
END THERE?
THE CONSTANT STANDING
OVATIONS, THE TABLE THUMPING,
ALL OF THAT CONSTANT STUFF.

Dave says HEAR, HEAR.

Steve says YOU AGREE GET RID OF
ALL THAT?

The caption changes to "Dave Levac. Former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly."
Then, it changes again to "Henry's helpful hints."

Dave says ABSOLUTELY.
I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT
HAPPENED.
QUEBEC HAD AN ALL-PARTY MEETING
WITH THE SPEAKER.
THE SPEAKER IS FRIEND OF MINE
AND HE SAID I'M GOING TO TRY
THIS.
THEY VOTED THEMSELVES TO STOP
DOING THE CLAPPING AND THE DESK
THUMPING.
THEY DIDN'T DO IT.
THEY GOT MORE QUESTIONS.

Janet says YEAH.

Dave says YOU GET MORE QUESTIONS, AND
THEN THE SPEAKER DOESN'T HAVE TO
STOP THE CLOCK TO PUNISH A... IT
DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO ME.
IT REALLY DOESN'T.
NOW IF THERE'S A VERY IMPORTANT
POINT THAT'S MADE ON BEHALF OF
ONTARIO OR SOMETHING WORLDWIDE
HAPPENS AND APPLAUSE FOR
SOMEBODY THAT DOES SOMETHING
GOOD, NO PROBLEM.
BUT THIS ROBOTIC, THIS ROBOTIC I
GOT TO STAND AND APPLAUD, NO
MATTER, NO MATTER WHO SAYS IT, I
EVEN CAUGHT PEOPLE BEHIND THE
DAIS TELLING EVERYBODY TO STAND
UP AND APPLAUD.
THEY HAD TO BE TOLD TO DO IT.

Steve says REALLY?

Dave says THEY WERE ORCHESTRATING IT.

The caption changes to "David Warner. Former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly."

David says IN EARLIER DAYS, A STANDING
OVATION WAS FOR NELSON MANDELA.
IT WAS FOR ARCHBISHOP TUTU.
IT WAS ON THE EVENING OF THE
BUDGET PRESENTATION.
AND, LASTLY, WHEN A MEMBER HAD
ANNOUNCED THAT HE OR SHE WAS
RETIRING.

Steve says SO A RARE SPECIAL
OCCASION.

David says RARE SPECIAL OCCASION.

Janet says IT WAS SUPPOSED TO MEAN
SOMETHING.

Dave says YES, AND THAT'S RIGHT.
IT MEANS NOTHING NOW.

The caption changes to "Laura Stone, @l_stone."

Laura says IT CHEAPENS THE MOMENT NOW
BECAUSE IT HAPPENS SO
FREQUENTLY.
BUT I DON'T NECESSARILY MIND THE
NOISE IN THE CHAMBER.
YOU KNOW, IT'S A PASSIONATE
PROFESSION, POLITICS IS.
AND IN QUESTION PERIOD, IT'S
INHERENTLY PART OF IT.
IT'S ONE SIDE ASKING QUESTIONS
OF ANOTHER, SO I DON'T
NECESSARILY MIND IT, BUT I DO
AGREE THAT IT'S JUST... IT'S
HAPPENING TOO FREQUENTLY AND IT
IS A ROBOTIC EXERCISE NOW, AND
IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING BECAUSE
IT'S HAPPENING SO MUCH.

Janet says WELL, AND I THINK ONE OF THE
PROBLEMS THESE DAYS... I MEAN,
THERE'S AN ARGUMENT ABOUT WHEN
THEY BROUGHT TELEVISION INTO THE
CHAMBER, WHETHER THAT DID IT...

Steve says 1985.

The caption changes to "Janet Ecker, @JanetEcker."

Janet says YEAH, AND I THINK THAT'S
CONTRIBUTED SOME TO THE SHOW.
SECONDLY, I THINK THE FACT
THAT... I MEAN, PEOPLE USED TO
DUMP ON WHEN WE USED TO HAVE
EVENING SITTINGS, BUT WHAT WOULD
HAPPEN IS THAT, YOU KNOW,
MEMBERS WOULD GO FOR DINNER.
SOMETIMES LIKE ACROSS THE AISLE
KIND OF THING, SO THERE WAS A
LITTLE MORE CAMARADERIE EVEN
THOUGH THERE WAS THE
PARTISANSHIP, VERY, VERY MUCH.
BUT I THINK THE OTHER THING THAT
ACTUALLY MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE
IS IF YOU'VE BEEN IN THE
OPPOSITION AND THEN YOU'RE IN
GOVERNMENT, OR YOU'RE IN
GOVERNMENT AND THEN YOU'RE IN
OPPOSITION, YOU HAVE A BROADER
UNDERSTANDING OF THE
CIRCUMSTANCES, IF I CAN PUT IT
THAT WAY.

A voice says YEAH.

Janet says AND I CAN REMEMBER SITTING
THERE, AND AGAIN, I WAS NOT AN
ELECTED MEMBER IN OPPOSITION,
BUT I WORKED FOR PREMIER DAVIS
AND IN THE GOVERNMENT WHEN WE
WERE IN GOVERNMENT, AND I SAID
TO ONE OF MY SEAT COLLEAGUES THE
FIRST YEAR WE WERE ELECTED, AND
SHE WAS NEWLY ELECTED AND LIKE A
TRUE NEWBIE, YOU KNOW, WE'RE THE
TRUE BELIEVERS, AND THE
OPPOSITION WAS DOING SOMETHING.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE,
STONEWALLING OR DOING SOMETHING
THAT WAS MAKING US ALL A LITTLE
IRRITATED, AND SHE WAS LIKE
RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION, AND I CAN
REMEMBER SAYING, OH, COME ON,
BARB, I SAID IF WE WERE SITTING
ACROSS THE WAY WE'D BE DOING THE
SAME THING.
WE WOULD NOT!
[Laughter]
YOU KNOW?
AND I SORT OF VERY WISELY SHUT
UP.
BUT THERE'S REALLY... I MEAN,
YOU WATCH YOUR PARTY DO
SOMETHING THE OTHER PARTY DID OR
VICE VERSA, RIGHT?
AND THERE'S SO MANY NEWBIES
THERE NOW THAT I THINK IT TAKES
AWAY FROM SOME OF THE
UNDERSTANDING.

Steve says WELL, DAVE LEVAC, I
REMEMBER BEING ON AN ELEVATOR
RIDE AFTER QUESTION PERIOD ONEDAY
NOT TOO LONG AGO AND IT WAS A
PARTICULARLY RAUCOUS DAY, AND I
SAID TO THE PEOPLE WHAT DID YOU
THINK OF THAT, EXPECTING THE
RESPONSE TO BE YEAH THAT WAS
DISGUSTING, AND EACH OF THEM
SAID LOVED THE ENERGY.
THAT WAS VERY ENTERTAINING.

Dave says THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE ENERGY AND THE HECKLING THAT
CAN BE EXCITING AND HUMOROUS.

Janet says YEAH, PEOPLE ARE BEING WITTY.

Dave says I LOVE HUMOUR.
I WOULD LAUGH IN THE CHAIR
BECAUSE IT WAS A GOOD ONE,
RIGHT?

Steve says THEY DON'T DO IT
ANYMORE.

Dave says BUT I THINK THERE'S A
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THAT ENERGY
AND THE VISCERAL COMMENTS,
BECAUSE I THINK WE NEED TO
ELEVATE THAT DISCUSSION INSTEAD
OF LOWER IT.
SO IF YOU KIND OF GO TO THE TOP,
HOW CAN YOU BE VISCERAL AND GO
TO THE TOP?
YOU CAN STILL BE LOUD.
YOU CAN STILL BE FUNNY AND
HECKLE.
HECKLING'S BEEN AROUND SINCE
IT'S BEEN INVENTED, FOR PETE'S
SAKES.
THEY USED TO TAKE THEIR SWORDS
OUT AND TAKE SHOTS.

Janet says THAT'S WHY WE HAVE THE...

Dave says SO THE REALITY IS I DON'T
HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE
HECKLING.
IT'S NOT SCHOOL.
IT'S NOT THE WORKFORCE OUTSIDE
AND SOMEBODY'S OFFICE.

Steve says DIFFERENT.

Dave says IT'S DIFFERENT.
HOWEVER, THAT'S THE PIECE WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT.
THE DIFFERENT PIECE THAT WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT IS DOES IT HAVE TO
BE VISCERAL, DOES IT HAVE TO BE
NASTY, DOES IT HAVE TO BE MEAN
AND, QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK THE
OBJECTIVE HAS CHANGED FROM GOOD
GOVERNANCE TO I GOTTA GET YOU
LOOKING BAD SO THAT I CAN LOOK
GOOD SO THEY ELECT ME, AND I'VE
GOT TO EMBARRASS YOU SO I CAN
GET YOU UNELECTED.
AS OPPOSED TO THE GOOD
GOVERNANCE SAID.
JANET'S POINT EARLIER IS THE
PURPOSE OF QUESTION PERIOD, HOLD
THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT.

Steve says OKAY, TO THAT END,
LET'S HUT UP HENRY JACIC'S
SECOND SUGGESTION HERE.
HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE AN END TO
THIS.
SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD.

A clip from Question Period plays on screen with the caption "May 16, 2019."

In the clip, Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath rises in the Legislature and says
THE FORD GOVERNMENT HAS
REPEATEDLY CLAIMED THAT NO
ONTARIAN WILL HAVE TO PAY OUT OF
POCKET FOR ESSENTIAL HEALTH
SERVICES AND THAT OHIP COVERAGE
WILL BE THERE FOR PEOPLE WITH
SERIOUS MEDICAL NEEDS.
DOES THE PREMIER STAND BY THIS
COMMITMENT?

[Applause]

The Speaker says THE QUESTION THE IS TO THE
PREMIER.

Ford says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

In another clip, MPP Sarah Singh says
SO DOES THE PREMIER BELIEVE
THAT CUTTING ALL ELECTED COURSES
WILL IMPROVE LEARNING OUTCOMES
FOR STUDENTS IN BRAMPTON AND
ACROSS THE PEEL REGION?

[Applause]

The Speaker says THE QUESTION IS FOR THE
PREMIER.

Ford says MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

In another clip, Horwath says SO WHY DID HE CUT A BILLION
DOLLARS FROM CHILDREN, COMMUNITY
AND SOCIAL SERVICES?

The Speaker says THE QUESTION IS FOR THE
PREMIER.

Ford says MINISTER OF CHILDREN,
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES.

In another clip, MPP Catherine Fife says
WHY IS THIS GOVERNMENT NOT
THINKING BEFORE THEY ACT?

[Applause]

The Speaker says QUESTION IS FOR THE PREMIER.

Ford says MINISTER OF HEALTH.

The Speaker says MINISTER OF HEALTH AND
LONG-TERM CARE.

The clip ends.

Steve says NOW JUST FOR THE
RECORD HERE, WE'RE NOT PICKING
ON PREMIER FORD.
HE HAPPENS TO BE IN POWER RIGHT
NOW AND ALL OUR CLIPS ARE FROM
HIS TIME.
LAURA, ALL PREMIERS DO THIS.
THEY ALL HAVE DONE THIS.
SHOULD IT BE BANNED?

The caption changes to "Passing the buck."

Laura says I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT, TO
BE HONEST.
I MEAN, THE PREMIER ISN'T
RESPONSIBLE... I GUESS THE
PREMIER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT
HAPPENS IN HIS GOVERNMENT, BUT
IS HE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY
DETAIL AND DECISION THAT IS
MADE?
I THINK IF HE IS... IF THE
PREMIER, HE OR SHE, WOULD BE TO
ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS, DOES
THAT TAKE AWAY MINISTERIAL
INDEPENDENCE OR MINISTERIAL
DECISION MAKING?

A voice says RIGHT.

Laura says YOU KNOW, I THINK IT DEPENDS
ON THE CONTEXT.
IF HE'S PASSING OFF... HE OR SHE
IS PASSING OFF EVERY SINGLE
QUESTION TO SOMEONE ELSE, I
MEAN, HE DOES HAVE TO TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY, BUT I THINK
SOMETIMES, YES, THE MINISTER OF
HEALTH MAY HAVE MORE DETAILS
ABOUT THAT OR WORKED ON THAT
FILE MORE CLOSELY, AND I DON'T
THINK IT'S NECESSARILY
INAPPROPRIATE FOR THAT PERSON TO
BE ANSWERING.

David says I THINK A GOOD APPROACH TO
THIS WOULD BE TO HAVE, AS THEY
DO IN THE U.K., A PRIME
MINISTER'S DAY HERE, A PREMIER'S
DAY SO THAT ONCE A WEEK THE...
IT'S THE PREMIER WHO'S GOING TO
BE ANSWERING QUESTIONS.

Laura says AND IN OTTAWA AS WELL.

David says YEAH.
THEY DO THAT AS WELL.
AND I THINK THAT WOULD HELP.
LAURA IS RIGHT.
YOU CAN'T EXPECT THE PREMIER TO
KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT
EVERYTHING, BUT QUITE FRANKLY
THERE WAS A PREMIER, MR. DAVIS,
WHO DID KNOW JUST ABOUT
EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING.

Janet says AND EVEN IF HE DIDN'T, HE
COULD STILL ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.

Laura says YEAH.

Dave says OH, YEAH, HE WAS GOOD.

David says ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES WHEN HE
FACED THAT DOWN, HE WENT
THROUGH: WHAT DID HE SAY?

Janet says I HAVE GONE THROUGH
TRANSCRIPTS OF WHAT HE SAID AND
STILL NOT KNOWN WHAT HE SAID.

Dave says I THINK THERE'S A WAY TO DO
THAT.
THERE'S A WAY TO DO IT.
I THINK PASSING IT OFF TO A
MINISTER IS A GOOD THING BECAUSE
YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GET EVEN MORE
DETAILS AND THAT'S A GOOD WAY TO
GET THEM ACCOUNTABLE, AS LONG AS
THE QUESTION IS NOT TO THE
PERSON... I'VE SEEN HIM DO IT A
FEW TIMES AND OTHER PREMIERS DO
IT.
THEY PASS IT ON TO A PERSON HAD
NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUESTION,
AND JUST TO SIMPLY BARK OUT THE
REGULAR ANSWER.
SO THE PREMIER COULD ANSWER THE
FIRST QUESTION AND THEN PASS IT
TO THE NEXT.
KATHLEEN DID THAT A LOT.
SHE WOULD ANSWER THE FIRST ONE
TO SHOW I KNOW MY PORTFOLIO AND
NOW I'M GOING TO GIVE THE MORE
DETAILED ANSWER TO THE MINISTER
OF HEALTH TO GIVE.
THERE'S A WAY TO DO THAT WITHOUT
IT BEING OBTUSE.

Janet says AND I THINK THE OTHER THING
THAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT AS
POLITICS BECOMES MORE AND MORE
FOCUSED ON THE PRIME MINISTER OR
THE PREMIER, WHICH WHEN THINGS
ARE GOING WELL FOR YOUR
GOVERNMENT THAT'S A GOOD THING.
WHEN IT'S NOT, IT'S A VERY BAD
THING.
AS OUR PRIME MINISTER IS
DISCOVERING, UNFORTUNATELY OR
FORTUNATELY DEPENDING ON YOUR
POINT OF VIEW.
SO I THINK IT HELPS BALANCE
THAT, YOU KNOW, SO IT'S NOT JUST
THE PREMIER.
I MEAN, YOU'RE RIGHT, THE
PREMIER OR THE PRIME MINISTER
HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABLE, BUT AT
THE END OF THE DAY SO DOES THE
MINISTER, BECAUSE THE MINISTER
IS PART OF THE TEAM, AND I THINK
YOU NEED TO PORTRAY THAT.

Dave says PRESENTLY THE RULES ALLOW FOR
THAT.
I MEAN, THAT IS PART OF...
THAT'S PART OF THE BOOKS.
AND IT SHOULD CONTINUE, BUT
THERE'S WAY IN WHICH YOU CAN DO
IT THAT BRINGS SENSE TO WHY DO
YOU PASS THE QUESTION.

Janet says THAT'S RIGHT.

Laura says AND ISN'T THE TRADITION
USUALLY THE PREMIER OR THE PRIME
MINISTER WOULD ANSWER THE FIRST
SEVERAL QUESTIONS, AND THEN AS
QUESTION PERIOD GOES ON THEY'LL
PASS IT TO...

Steve says YEAH, WHILE YOU'VE GOT
THE FLOOR, JOHN BURKEO, THE
SPEAKER AT WESTMINSTER IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM, HE ACTUALLY ON
OCCASION, WHEN A MINISTER GETS
UP AND ANSWERS A QUESTION THAT
IS NOT AT ALL... AND YOU JUST
GAVE AN EXAMPLE OF THAT.
THAT IS NOT AT ALL RESPONSIVE TO
THE QUESTION THAT HAS BEEN
ASKED, HE'LL GIVE THEM H-E-L-L
AND FORCE THEM TO GO BACK AND
SAY THAT ANSWER WAS NOT AT ALL
RESPONSIVE, YOU'VE GOT TO TAKE
ANOTHER SHOT AT THAT.

The caption changes to "That is not a real answer."

Laura says AND I AGREE WITH THAT.
I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE SPEAKER
TAKE A MORE ACTIVIST APPROACH
AND MAYBE YOU TWO COULD SPEAK
TO...

Dave says WE DON'T HAVE THE RULES.

Laura says THAT'S RIGHT.
THERE HAS TO BE SOME RESPECT
FOR THE QUESTION AND THE
LEGISLATURE, AND IT DOES... THE
ANSWER SHOULD BE ON TOPIC.
I ABSOLUTELY AGREE THAT THAT
SHOULD BE HAPPENING.

Janet says BUT THE CHALLENGE, WHEN YOU
DO THAT, AND I AGREE SOMETIMES
IT'S QUITE EGREGIOUS WHAT A
MINISTER OR A PREMIER, PRIME
MINISTER MIGHT DO IN TERMS OF
NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION, YOU
KNOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME
PASSING ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE
SUBJECT MATTER, I THINK, BUT FOR
SPEAKER TO WADE INTO THAT GETS
VERY, VERY RISKY.
BECAUSE THAT MEANS YOU'RE MAKING
A JUDGMENT THAT PEOPLE WILL SEE
AS PARTISAN.
AND SO... AND THAT'S DANGEROUS
TERRITORY TO TREAD ON.

David says UNLESS YOU CHANGE THE RULES.
THE RULES DON'T REALLY ALLOW THE
SPEAKER TO INTERVENE IN THE WAY
YOU'RE DESCRIBING BECAUSE, AS
JANET SAYS, IT THEN CREATES A
POTENTIAL PROBLEM FOR THE SPEAKER.

Dave says BUT I THINK THAT'S WHAT
THEY'VE DONE AND THAT'S WHAT
JANET IS TALKING ABOUT, AND I
THINK THE RULE THAT WE CHANGED,
THAT'S A RULE CHANGE FOR OUR
PERSPECTIVE THAN IT WAS IN
ENGLAND, BECAUSE WE COULD HAVE
ADOPTED ALL OF THE RULES.
WE DIDN'T.
WE LOOKED AT THAT ONE AND SAID
MAYBE WE CAN KEEP THE SPEAKER
OUT OF THIS AND ELEVATE THE
SPEAKER AWAY FROM THE
PARTISANSHIP AS MUCH AS WE CAN.
THE REALITY OF THE QUESTION, IT
BECOMES AN OBVIOUS THING.
WHEN HE PASSES IT TO A MINISTER
OF THE ENVIRONMENT TO GIVE A
SPEECH ON CARBON TAX WHEN IT WAS
A HEALTH CARE QUESTION, I THINK
THE SPEAKER SHOULD SAY, WAIT A
MINUTE, GO TO THE MINISTER OF...
LIKE, I THINK THAT'S TOO CRAZY.

The caption changes to "The choreography of Q and A."

Steve says HENRY JACIC HERE HAS
ANOTHER IDEA WHICH ALSO WOULD
GIVE THE SPEAKER MORE POWER.
PEOPLE WHO DON'T WATCH QUESTION
PERIOD, THE LEADER OF THE
OPPOSITION GETS THE FIRST
QUESTION, AND THEN TWO
SUPPLEMENTARY, AND I THINK THE
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION GETS
THEN A SECOND QUESTION AND TWO
SUPPLEMENTARIES.
AND THEN THERE'S KIND OF A
ROTATION.
GOVERNMENT BACKBENCHERS GET
QUESTIONS, THE INDEPENDENT,
LIBERAL, GREEN, WHATEVER,
INDEPENDENTS, THEY GET A
QUESTION.
ANYWAY, THERE'S A WHOLE
CHOREOGRAPHY TO THE THING.
JACIC SAYS LET'S BREAK UP THE
ROTATION.
AFTER 40 MINUTES, ALL BETS ARE
OFF.
LET THE SPEAKER PICK WHOEVER HE
OR SHE WANTS TO ASK A QUESTION.
THOSE WHO HAVE MISBEHAVED, HE OR
SHE AS SPEAKER WILL IGNORE.
THOSE WHO, YOU KNOW, HAVE
BEHAVED, THE SPEAKER WILL
IDENTIFY AND GIVE THEM A CHANCE
TO ASK A QUESTION.
WHAT DO WE THINK OF THAT IDEA?

David says I THINK... MOVE BACK A LITTLE
BIT.
I THINK QUESTION PERIOD IS TOO
LONG, AND I THINK...

Steve says IT'S TOO LONG?
IT'S AN HOUR.

David says 45 IN THE COMMONWEALTH.

Janet says SHOULD BE SHORTER.

David says IT'S 45-45.
45 MINUTES AND 45 SECONDS TO ASK
A QUESTION AND MAKE A REPLY.
45 SECONDS UP, YOU'RE DOWN.
AND THAT'S... I THINK THAT WOULD
HELP.
YOU COULD, YES, I THINK LIMITING
THE LEADERS TO ONE QUESTION EACH
PLUS ONE SUPPLEMENTARY AND THEN
OPEN IT... THE BIG PROBLEM I
FOUND, AND I'M SUSPECTING THE
SAME FOR DAVE, IS HOW FEW
BACKBENCH MEMBERS FROM ALL
PARTIES GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO
ASK A QUESTION.

Steve says THE LEADERS.

David says ALL LEADERS.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says THEY HOG THE
LIMELIGHT, DON'T THEY?

Dave says MOST LEADERS DO.

David says WHEREAS CRITICS, ESPECIALLY
MAJOR PORTFOLIOS, HEALTH,
EDUCATION, THEY GOT BIG
QUESTIONS TO ASK AND THEY RARELY
GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASK THEM.

Dave says EACH PARTY HAS A SELECTION
COMMITTEE.
YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO PITCH YOUR
QUESTION TO THAT SELECTION
COMMITTEE MADE UP OF EITHER THE
HOUSE LEADER OR THE PREMIER'S
OFFICE OR WHOMEVER, AND THEY
SAY YOU CAN ASK THAT QUESTION,
BUT TODAY WE'RE GOING TO FOCUS
ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

Janet says YEAH.

Dave says AND SO THAT MAYBE THE
PREMIER'S GOING TO GET QUESTIONS
FROM THE PARTY ON THE
ENVIRONMENT.
THAT'S A COMMON PRACTICE, BUT
THE PROBLEM LIES NOT IN THE
NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THERE ARE.
IT'S THE TIME USED.
SO YOU GET RID OF CLAPPING.
YOU GET RID OF APPLAUSE.
YOU PUT THESE THINGS TOGETHER
AND THEN YOU PROBABLY DIMINISH
THAT TEMPERATURE, AND THEN YOU
GET INTO ACTUALLY ASKING
QUESTIONS AND GETTING ANSWERS.

Laura says I THINK THAT WOULD BE A FUN
EXERCISE IN EMPOWERING THE
BACKBENCH BECAUSE RIGHT NOW IT
DOES SEEM LIKE THERE'S A STIGMA
OR SOMETHING, I DON'T KNOW IF
THAT'S THE RIGHT WORD, BUT WHERE
BACKBENCHERS TO HOLD THE
GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT, WHICH IS
ACTUALLY THEIR ROLE.
AND ONE OF THE MOST TEDIOUS
ELEMENTS, AND MAYBE WE'LL GET TO
IT, OF QUESTION PERIOD NOW ARE
WHAT WE CALL THE LOBBED
QUESTIONS.

Steve says WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT
RIGHT NOW.
WERE YOU ANTICIPATING?
THAT'S A GREAT SEGUE.
I WANT TO GO THERE.

Laura says OKAY, PERFECT.

Steve says YES, AND WE HAVE SOME
CLIPS OF THIS.
THERE ARE IN THE ROTATION
GOVERNMENT BACKBENCHERS WHO DO
GET UP AND DO STUFF LIKE THIS.
IF YOU WOULD, SHELDON.

Dave says OH, PLEASE.

[Laughter]

A clip from question period plays on screen with the caption "May 16, 2019."
In the clip, MPP Kinga Surma says
CAN HE PLEASE HIGHLIGHT THE
POLICIES OUR GOVERNMENT HAS
INTRODUCED TO PROVIDE RELIEF FOR
PEOPLE OF ONTARIO.

Ford says MR. SPEAKER, I WANT TO THANK
OUR STAR MPP FROM ETOBICOKE CENTRE.

In another clip, MPP Andrea Khanjin says
MY QUESTION IS FOR THE
MINISTER WHO BUILDS UP SUCCESS,
THE MINISTER OF INFRASTRUCTURE.
CAN THE MINISTER PLEASE TELL US
ABOUT THIS GREAT PROJECT AND HOW
THIS INVESTMENT WILL NOT JUST
GROW THE ECONOMY BUT HELP THE
ENVIRONMENT?

Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton says
THANK YOU TO THE MEMBER for that EXCELLENT QUESTION.

In another clip, MPP Kaleed Rasheed says CAN THE MINISTER FURTHER
EXPAND ON WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS
DOING TO INCENTIVIZE THE
BUILDING OF MORE RENTAL UNITS?

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark says
I WANT TO THANK THE
HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR THAT
QUESTION AND THOSE GREAT POINTS.

The clip ends.

Steve says DAVE LEVAC, WHILE
THOSE CLIPS WERE RUNNING YOU
SAID I WOULD BAN ALL OF THAT.
CAN YOU?

Dave says NO.

[Laughter]

Janet says HE DIDN'T SAY BAN IT.
HE SAID INDIVIDUALLY HE WOULD
NOT ALLOW...

Dave says I WOULD NOT ALLOW CERTAIN
THINGS TO BE SAID.
THE FANTASTIC MEMBER FROM OR THE
MOST EXCEPTIONAL MINISTER
EVER... TO EVER GRACE THE
LEGISLATURE.
GET TO THE QUESTION.
NUMBER ONE, I WOULDN'T BAN IT
OUTRIGHT BECAUSE I WAS A
BACKBENCHER AND I HAD SOME
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT
MY RIDING.
I WOULD BAN THE LOB BALL
QUESTIONS, THE SOFTBALL
QUESTIONS ARE ABSOLUTELY
INSULTING.
MINISTER YOU'RE THE GREATEST
THING SINCE SLICED BREAD, COULD
YOU PLEASE TELL US WHY?
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF YOUR GENE
JUST?
WHAT I THINK WE SHOULD DO IS
HAVE THE CAPACITY TO SAY THE
QUESTIONS ARE GOING TO BE BASED
ON HOLDING THE GOVERNMENT
ACCOUNTABLE.
MY BIGGEST ONE WAS BROWNFIELDS.
I ASKED TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT
BROWNFIELDS, SO MUCH SO THAT
DALTON TOLD ME TO TELL THE
MINISTER I'M TAKING HIM TO A
LATE SHOW BECAUSE I DIDN'T LIKE
HIS ANSWER.

Steve says EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS.

Dave says THE LATE SHOW MEANS IF I'M
NOT SATISFIED I CAN ISSUE A
PAPER TO THE SPEAKER THAT SAYS I'M NOT SATISFIED WITH HIS
ANSWER AND I WANT FIVE MINUTES
AFTER THE HOUSE SITS, LIKE AT
THE END OF THE SITTING, I WANT
FIVE MINUTES TO TELL HIM WHY I
WANT AN ANSWER, AND HE'S GOT
FIVE MINUTES TO TELL ME.

Steve says BUT THAT ROLE,
GOVERNMENT BACKBENCHER HOLDING
HIS OR HER OWN GOVERNMENT TO
ACCOUNT, IS A COMPLETELY LOST
ART NOWADAYS.

Laura says PART OF THE ISSUE NOW IS THE
MAKEUP OF THE LEGISLATURE IN
ONTARIO BECAUSE THE LIBERALS
DON'T HAVE OFFICIAL PARTY
STATUS, SO THAT ALLOWS FOR
MORE... FROM MY UNDERSTANDING,
MORE GOVERNMENT... THAT ALLOWS
FOR MORE BACKBENCH QUESTIONS, SO
THAT'S JUST... THAT'S JUST A
RESULT OF HOW THE ELECTION CAME
ABOUT.
BUT I'VE SEEN INSTANCES WHERE
MIKE SCHREINER, FOR INSTANCE,
THE GREEN PARTY LEADER, WILL
STAND UP AND ASK FOR UNANIMOUS
CONSENT TO ASK A QUESTION ON
BEHALF OF ONE OF THE OTHER
INDEPENDENTS, AND IT'S DENIED.
THE GOVERNMENT...

Dave says WELL, THERE'S A ROTATION.

Janet says THERE IS A ROTATION.

Laura says THERE'S... BUT HE'S ASKING...

Dave says HE'S DOING SOMETHING SMART.

Laura says HE'S ASKING ON BEHALF OF
ANOTHER MEMBER.

Dave says YEAH, THAT'S A SMART ACTION
BECAUSE WHAT HE'S DOING IS HE'S
TELLING THE REST OF THE HOUSE WE
HAVE SOME OTHER QUESTIONS THAT
WE REALLY WANT TO ASK.
WHY DON'T YOU LET US ASK IT?
SO IT ACTUALLY EMBARRASSES THE
GOVERNMENT FOR BEING AFRAID TO
ANSWER A QUESTION.
THE SECOND THING THAT I WOULD DO
IN THAT CIRCUMSTANCE WAS I SAID
THAT IF WE GOT TO THE POINT
WHERE WE COULD SAY THAT IS AN
ACCOUNTABLE QUESTION, YOU MUST
GIVE AN ANSWER, WELL, THAT GOES
BACK TO THE BRITISH WAY THEY DO
IT.
AND IT GOES BACK TO THE IDEA
THAT THE SPEAKER HAS WAY MORE
POWER THAN THE SPEAKERS HERE IN
ONTARIO AND CANADA HAVE.

Steve says JANET, WERE YOU EVER
EMBARRASSED WHEN YOU WERE A
CABINET MINISTER AND A
BACKBENCHER FROM YOUR OWN PARTY
GOT UP AND ASKED YOU A SOFTBALL
QUESTION THAT WAS KIND OF RIDICULOUS?

Janet says WELL, WE USED TO... NO, THERE
WAS NOTHING THAT WAS EVER
RIDICULOUS, ACTUALLY.
I MEAN, THEY WERE USUALLY ISSUES
THAT YOU WANTED TO TALK ABOUT IN
THE HOUSE.
SO SOMETHING YOU WANTED THEM...
YOU WANTED SOMEBODY TO ASK YOU A
QUESTION ON.

Steve says POLICY ORIENTED.

Janet says YEAH, AND EVERYBODY USED TO
HAVE SOME FUN, BUT ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT I THINK THE CURRENT
GOVERNMENT COULD BE DOING WITH
THE BACKBENCH QUESTION IS
THAT... BECAUSE ONE OF THE
CHALLENGES FOR MAJORITY
GOVERNMENTS IS WHEN YOU'VE GOT A
MAJOR CAUCUS, A LARGE CAUCUS, IS
AFTER A YEAR OR TWO IT GETS A
LITTLE CHALLENGING TO KEEP
EVERYBODY SORT OF ON SIDE, AS IT
WERE, DISCIPLINED, WHATEVER WORD
YOU WANT TO USE.

Steve says SO THIS IS A BONE THEY
TOSS TO THEM?

Janet says IT'S NOT A BONE.
IF YOU'VE GOT A HOT ISSUE IN
YOUR RIDING, AS DAVE SAID, YOU
STAND UP... NOW YOU LET THE
MINISTER KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO
ASK THE QUESTION.
AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH
THAT.
OPPOSITION WILL SOMETIMES... AT
LEAST THEY USED TO.
THEY PROBABLY DON'T DO THAT VERY
MUCH ANYMORE, BUT THEY USED TO
LET SOMETIMES A MINISTER KNOW
THAT YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE A
PARTICULAR KIND OF QUESTION.
SO YOU WOULD STAND UP AND SAY,
MINISTER, YOU KNOW, I MEAN,
THERE'S THIS REAL PROBLEM IN MY
RIDING.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT
IT?
AND YOU GET AN ANSWER.
SO FOR THE BACKBENCHER, YOU'RE
SEEN TO BE DEFENDING YOUR TURF,
DEFENDING YOUR CONSTITUENTS, YOU
HAVE SOMETHING IN YOUR
NEWSLETTER.
THEY COULD BE DOING THAT MORE I
THINK WHICH HELPS WITH THE
BACKBENCHER AND THE PERCEPTION
OF THE GOVERNMENT.

Steve says DAVID WARNER?

David says THERE'S A COUPLE OF THINGS
HERE.
FIRST OF ALL, THE ART OF ASKING
QUESTIONS, BUT SECONDLY THE
UNDERSTANDING ABOUT HOW YOU CAN
ACTUALLY MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.
SO FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WAS A TIME
WHEN A GOVERNMENT MINISTER WOULD
ASK A MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION...

Janet says THAT'S RIGHT, YEAH.

David says TO ASK A QUESTION.

Janet says I'VE DONE THAT, YEAH.

David says IN ONE PARTICULAR CASE I
REMEMBER SO WELL THE MINISTER
WANTED TO GET A MAJOR POLICY
THROUGH CABINET AND WAS HAVING
TROUBLE AND SAID IF YOU ASK ME A
QUESTION ABOUT THIS, THEN I'LL...

Janet says THAT'S RIGHT, YEAH.

Steve says IT HAPPENS MORE THAN
WE THINK.

David says OH, YES.

Laura says IF YOU'RE A SMART MINISTER,
YES.

David says SPOKE VALUABLE THINGS.
THIS CLIP THAT YOU SHOWED, IT'S
REALLY DISTURBING, AND IN A
COUPLE OF CASES... I REMEMBER
WHEN I WAS SPEAKER, A MEMBER WAS
ASKING ONE OF THESE LOB
QUESTIONS, AND I SAID, YOU KNOW,
THAT'S... THAT COULD BE A
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT.
SO NO QUESTION.
THE MINISTER CAN MAKE A
STATEMENT BECAUSE WE HAVE A
CERTAIN SET TIME FOR THAT.

Steve says WHICH DOESN'T TAKE
TIME AWAY FROM THE OPPOSITION.

David says THAT'S RIGHT.
AND IT DOESN'T TAKE TIME OUT OF
QUESTION PERIOD.

Steve says RIGHT.
OKAY.
I WANT TO KNOW UNDER WHAT
CONDITIONS YOU FOLKS WHEN YOU
HAD THE JOB AND THE CURRENT GUY
WHO HAS THE JOB, UNDER WHAT
CONDITIONS YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED
TO THROW SOMEONE OUT.

Dave says OH!

Steve says DO YOU GOT ANY VIEWS
ON THIS?

Laura says OH, ME.

Steve says I WANT TO HEAR WHAT
YOU HAVE TO SAY FIRST AND THEN
HAVE THEM REACT TO IT.
DO YOU THINK MORE PEOPLE OUGHT
TO BE THROWN OUT OF THIS
LEGISLATURE FOR BAD BEHAVIOUR?

The caption changes to "Y'er outta here!"

Laura says I THINK THE STANDARD SHOULD
BE PRETTY HIGH.
I MEAN, I'M JUST TRYING TO THINK
BACK FROM EXAMPLES THAT I'VE
SEEN, AND IT WAS BEFORE I
ARRIVED AT QUEEN'S PARK, BUT
WHEN THE NDP CAUSED A RUCKUS
OVER THE COUNCIL, THE CHANGES TO
TORONTO CITY COUNCIL.
I MEAN, THEY DID THAT KNOWING
THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BE
KICKED OUT AND THEY WERE DOING
THAT TO PROVE A POINT.
YOU KNOW, FEDERALLY, I THINK YOU
REALLY DO HAVE TO KICK UP A STIR
OR KICK UP A RUCKUS IN ORDER TO
BE REMOVED.
I DON'T KNOW... I DON'T KNOW
WHAT PURPOSE THAT WOULD SERVE.
I GUESS IT WOULD SERVE AS A
WARNING TO PEOPLE TO BETTER
BEHAVE, BUT I STILL THINK IT
WOULD HAVE TO BE PRETTY
EGREGIOUS BEFORE YOU'RE ACTUALLY
REMOVED FROM THE LEGISLATURE.

Steve says WELL, LET ME GIVE THE
EXAMPLE, DAVID WARNER.
I LISTEN TO QUESTION PERIOD
EVERY DAY.
I HEAR PEOPLE ALL THE TIME USING
WHAT THEY WOULD CALL
UNPARLIAMENTARY LANGUAGE.
THEY CALL SOMEBODY A LIAR.
SAY YOU'VE MISLED THE HOUSE,
THIS KIND OF THING.
AS LONG AS YOU TAKE THE COMMENT
BACK, YOU'RE OKAY TO STAY IN.
WHAT IF YOU HAD A RULE THAT SAID
IF YOU CALL SOMEBODY A LIAR,
YOU'RE OUT.
YOU CAN'T DO THAT.

David says I THINK... I ALWAYS SAID THAT
I NEVER THREW ANYBODY OUT OF THE
HOUSE.
THEY MANAGED TO REMOVE
THEMSELVES BECAUSE OF THEIR
BEHAVIOUR.
I THINK THAT WHAT MIGHT BE MORE
HELPFUL IS TO STOP WHAT'S...
STOP THE PROCEEDING AND ASK THE
MEMBER TO APOLOGIZE TO THE HOUSE
BECAUSE WHEN YOU SAY SOMETHING
THAT'S DEMEANING OF ANOTHER
MEMBER, YOU ARE ALSO DEMEANING
THE INSTITUTION OF PARLIAMENT.
AND SO IT'S A MOMENT TO REFLECT
ON WHAT YOU HAVE JUST SAID,
WHICH IS NOT APPROPRIATE, AND
APOLOGIZE TO THE HOUSE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says THAT WOULD PUT A BIT
OF AN EMBARRASSING SPOTLIGHT ON
THEM, WOULDN'T IT?
IT MIGHT DO SOMETHING.

David says IT WOULD.
IT'S TOO EASY.
I SAW... WELL, I SAW THE PREMIER
TO SAY I WITHDRAW AND SIT DOWN.
I WITHDRAW.
AND WE WENT THROUGH... HE WENT
THROUGH THAT A NUMBER OF TIMES.
THERE WAS AT NO POINT, AND THE
SPEAKER I FELT DIDN'T FEEL...
IT'S EMBARRASSING TO HAVE TO
CONFRONT THE PREMIER OF THE DAY,
AND I DON'T KNOW, THE FIRST TIME
I TOLD PREMIER RAE TO SIT DOWN,
I FELT A LITTLE BADLY ABOUT IT.
HE IS THE PREMIER OF THE
PROVINCE, YOU KNOW.
BUT I TOLD HIM TO SIT DOWN, AND
I THINK IF THE PREMIER HAD
INSTEAD OF JUST SAYING I
WITHDRAW SAID I APOLOGIZE TO THE
HOUSE FOR MY INAPPROPRIATE
REMARKS.

Steve says INTERESTING.
DAVE LEVAC, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?

Dave says I'VE HAD THAT HAPPEN ON
SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
AS I SAID EARLIER, I DESIGNED A
WARNING SYSTEM WHERE IF YOU GOT
THE SECT WARNING, NO MATTER WHAT
IT WAS FOR, YOU WERE OUT.
I WARNED THE PREMIER ONCE.

Steve says WHICH PREMIER?

Dave says PREMIER WYNNE.
I WARNED THE LEADERS.
I THREW A FEW OF THEM OUT, AND
SOME OF THEM GOT PAST THE
WARNING AND I THREW THEM OUT.
HERE'S A REAL TRICK.
LET'S TRY THIS.
IF YOU GET KICKED OUT, YOU LOSE
A DAY'S PAY.
OH!

Steve says WHAT A NEAT IDEA.

Dave says CHANGE THE RULE.
NHL CHANGED THEIR RULES BECAUSE
THE TEAM USED TO PAY ALL THE
FINES OF ALL THE PLAYERS.
THEY SWITCHED IT.
IF YOU... IF YOU'RE A HOCKEY
PLAYER AND YOU GET A GAME
MISCONDUCT AND GET PENALIZED,
THE PAY IS OUT OF YOUR POCKET.
THAT WENT DOWN.

Steve says FOCUSES THE MIND A
LITTLE BIT.

Dave says TAKE A DAY'S PAY OFF AND GET
KICKED OUT.
WATCH HOW FAST MONEY SPEAKS.
I'M NOT BEING TONGUE IN CHEEK.

David says THAT'S A GOOD SUGGESTION.

Dave says THAT'S ONE WAY IN WHICH YOU
CAN START TO GET THE PEOPLE
MOTIVATED TO SAY, OH, I'M GOING
TO LOSE A DAY'S PAY.

Steve says DO YOU THINK, JANET,
WE SHOULD STILL HAVE A SITUATION
WHERE SOMEBODY CAN BE ON THE
FLOOR OF THE LEGISLATURE AND
LIBEL AND SLANDER AND SAY AWFUL
THINGS ABOUT SOMEBODY AND SAY I
WITHDRAW AND IT'S AS IF IT NE'ER
HAPPENED?

Janet says I THINK IT'S WORTH TALKING
ABOUT.
AS DAVID SAID, THE TONE OF THE
LEGISLATURE AND THE COMMENTS
BEING MADE BY EVERYBODY ARE
GETTING TO BE MEAN.
I MEAN, THEY'RE NOT WITTY.
THEY'RE NOT CLEVER.
THEY'RE NOT HELPING EITHER SIDE
ON THEIR MESSAGE.
THEY ARE JUST PERSONALLY
DEMEANING NASTY THINGS.
SO I THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE
SOME WAY TO TRY AND CONTROL THAT.

Dave says I WOULD SAKE YOURS AND GO ONE
STEP EVEN FURTHER BY SIMPLY
SAYING THAT THE SPEAKER DOES
HAVE AUTHORITY TO DO THAT.
SO THAT INSTEAD OF WITHDRAWING,
IF HE DOES IT THE FIRST TIME OR
SHE DOES IT THE FIRST TIME, YOU
MIGHT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN EMOTIONAL.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN IN THE HEAT
OF THE MOMENT.
IF THEY SAY IT A SECOND TIME,
SAY IT AGAIN AND I'M THROWING
YOU OUT.

Laura says I THINK SHAME IS A POWERFUL
TOOL AS WELL.

Janet says INDEED.

Dave says IT WORKS.

Laura says AND I THINK BACK TO OTTAWA,
PAUL CALANDRA WHO WAS A
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY WHO IS
NOW AN MPP HERE IN ONTARIO.
HE WAS GIVING RIDICULOUS ANSWERS
TO NDP QUESTIONS WHERE HE WAS...
THEY WERE ASKING ABOUT THE
POSITION, THE GOVERNMENT
POSITION ON IRAQ, AND HE WAS
ATTACKING THE NDP'S POSITION ON
IRAN.
LIKE, IT WAS JUST COMPLETELY
UNRELATED, AND HE WAS USING IT
AS A PARTISAN ATTACK.
HE GOT A LOT OF BACKLASH FOR
THAT, AND A COUPLE DAYS LATER HE
STOOD IN THE HOUSE AND GAVE A
VERY FAMOUS TEARFUL APOLOGY JUST
SAYING THAT HE TOOK FULL
RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOW HE ACTED.
BUT THAT WASN'T A HEAT OF THE
MOMENT RESPONSE.
THAT WAS A PLANNED RESPONSE THAT
HE GAVE, AND THE BACKLASH WAS SO
STRONG AGAINST HIM THAT I THINK
HE... I REALLY THINK THAT HE
TOOK THAT TO HEART.
AND I THINK THAT HE CHANGED HIS
BEHAVIOUR BASED ON THAT, AND
I'VE TALKED TO HIM ABOUT THAT
SINCE.
HE'S NOT A REPEAT OFFENDER,
CERTAINLY NOT IN ONTARIO.
WELL, HE IS A... WELL,
PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT NOW.

Steve says HE HASN'T DONE THAT AGAIN.

Laura says NO, HE HASN'T DONE THAT AGAIN.
I THINK BACKLASH FROM THE PUBLIC
GOES A LONG WAY AS WELL.

Dave says THERE'S PART OF YOUR ANSWER
RIGHT THERE.
I THREATENED AT ONE TIME WITH MY
TONGUE DEEPLY IN MY CHEEK AND
SAID THAT I'M GOING TO GET
BROADCAST TO FOCUS IN ON THE
SERIEL HECKLERS AND MAKE ME A
TAPE, AND THEN I'M GOING TO MAIL
IT TO THEIR MOTHER.
BUT IF YOU GIVE IT TO THE PRESS
IN THEIR RIDING, BECAUSE THESE
PEOPLE DON'T BEHAVE LIKE THIS IN
THEIR RIDINGS.

Janet says NO.

Dave says I GUARANTEE IT.
AND IF THEY DO, GOD BLESS IF
THAT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin."

Steve says I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO
THIS WITH A COUPLE OF SPEAKERS
AT THE TABLE.

He bangs on the table and says
ORDER, ORDER, WE'RE DONE.
WE'RE OUT OF TIME.
I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY FOR
COMING FROM NEAR AND FAR TO JOIN
US HERE ON TVO TONIGHT FOR A
VERY NICE CONVERSATION.
JANET ECKER, DAVID WARNER, LAURA
STONE, DAVE LEVAC, THANKS FOR
BEING HERE ON TVO WITH US.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Laura says THANKS VERY MUCH.

Dave says I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN.

Steve says FOR MORE ON THE INS
AND OUTS ON QUESTION PERIOD WE
INVITE YOU TO LISTEN TO A
PODCAST.

A slate appears on screen, with a picture of Steve and a picture of John Michael McGrath. It reads "Tvo.org/podcasts. Hashtag OnPoli, a tvo podcast."

Steve says JOHN MICHAEL TAKES A TERRIFIC
DEEP DIVE INTO EVERYTHING YOU'VE
ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT
QUESTION PERIOD BUT WERE AFRAID
TO ASK.
DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST OR
FROM OUR OWN WEBSITE
TVO.ORG/PROGRAMS/ONPOLI.

Watch: A Better Question Period