Mandryk: The realities of COVID-19 are encroaching on Saskatchewan. legislative chamber


The pointlessness and insensitivity of the chamber are seldom lost on the public, especially those who have no choice but to interfere in it.

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There was a public apology inside the Saskatchewan Legislature this week, albeit timid for something inconsequential to the realities plaguing our province at this time.


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Welcome to your Saskatchewan legislative chamber – the place where we send our peers to solve our problems only to, invariably, see them so caught up in the games of the place that they forget why we sent them.

Fortunately, however, reality knocks on the bedroom door sometimes to remind them of this. It happened again this week.

First, the absurdity of our large room …

Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison on Wednesday called on President Randy Weekes to ask NDP MP Regina Elphinstone Meara Conway for using the official last name of Health Minister Paul Merriman because the The use of real names of politicians is prohibited by House rules.

Yes folks, your taxes at work – adult men and women childishly tease each other for breaking meaningless rules, like women wearing open-toed shoes, men not wearing ties, limbs having something else on their desk only properly sanctioned green coffee cups and, God forbid, calling people by their legal names instead of their temporary titles.

In fairness, the bedroom is an adult place that requires adult rules to function. And Conway may have been childishly irrelevant when she called Regina’s homeless and drug-addict tent city “Camp Merriman” as opposed to its proper name, Camp Marjorie.

Outside the chamber, the still articulate lawyer told reporters it was just a slip of the tongue, before adding that the current housing crisis for Saskatchewan income support recipients ( SIS) was the result of a change in policy under Merriman when he was Minister of Social Services.


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But what shouldn’t be lost in Conway’s possible irritation is his worry that humans are living in tents at the onset of a Saskatchewan winter. Shouldn’t members of Parliament apologize for this? Shouldn’t they apologize for a lot of things?

Graham Dickson, Laura Wiens and their one-year-old daughter Helen, whose struggles with suspected cerebral palsy have worsened, likely deserved an apology for COVID-19 delays that postponed baby’s eye surgery and MRI diagnoses .

Wheelchair-bound Dallas Oberik, 70, deserved an apology for her three-year wait for hip surgery, likely to be delayed a year and a half by the backlog COVID-19 has created in our hospitals.

And the families of 862 Saskatchewanians died of COVID-19 surely deserve an unequivocal apology from Prime Minister Scott Moe for not having policies that prevented this outcome.

Instead, the chamber provided us with a debate on the utterly unnecessary Throne Speech this week, inflammatory rhetoric from the official opposition about a government killing people and the obsequiousness of government members praising the prime minister as a “Rock star” for his management of COVID-19.

We even got the extra spectacle of now independent MP Nadine Wilson in her response in the Speech from the Throne telling us (without any evidence) that Saskatchewan families are fleeing to the United States, Korea, Nicaragua and Brazil. to avoid the Saskatchewan vaccination warrants that are now in effect. human rights monitoring (this is not the case). Wilson was throwing more Hail Mary at the anti-vax crowd than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers – perhaps unsurprisingly, given that they seem to share the same vaccine disclosure policy.


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How unnecessary and insensitive the bedroom can be is rarely lost on the public – especially those with no choice but to interfere in it.

In a Twitter feed in motion, Graham Dickson wrote about the disrespect his family suffered in the chamber in which ruling politicians concerned about chamber games did not look or address his family. Dickson called Harrison “the dog that must bark every time a car passes.” It was fair and brilliant.

The only consolation is that politicians often suddenly become more human when confronted with the realities of the people.

It also happened in the Saskatchewan Legislature this week, but mainly in the rotunda just outside the chamber where Oberik spoke with Moe and Dickson, Wiens and Baby Helen met Merriman.

Perhaps much to the chagrin of those who just want to vilify the two, Moe and Merriman seemed genuinely moved by the stories. Both listened.

Maybe that won’t make a big difference in politics. But once again you got the impression that the people’s chamber would be better if we just heard from the people.

Mandryk is a political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

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