Try to get along, get things done

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If these were high school gangs, the adults would step in and make them work on a class project together.

But, no, in this case they already are adults, of the political persuasion, and their thingis to agree to disagree. Such is the grown-up world of partisanship, as practised routinely in our legislative assemblies.

Conservative MLA Karla MacFarlane helped present a perfect illustration this week of how the governing party loves to play the alpha role.

The Pictou West member came up with a resolution calling upon the government to finally come clean on Boat Harbour, to see responsibility acknowledged for the industrial mess left by decades of pulp mill activity and to ensure it gets cleaned up.

Such a resolution will interest people in Pictou County, who have been of that mind for years. But MacFarlane’s pitch in the legislature had this twist: her resolution very much echoed a resolution adopted by the governing Liberals at their recent annual general meeting.

The Liberal party had agreed: Be it resolved that the government take immediate and effective steps to clean up Boat Harbour.

MacFarlane said the intent of the resolution would be reinforced if backed by the legislature. It would mark a step forward, toward a mammoth job that has been neglected for years – a failing, as MacFarlane made clear, reflected in the record of all three political parties.

She urged the parties to change course and work together.

With the government putting distance between itself and a call for action from one of its opponents, how does the public interpret it? Were the Liberals sincere in their original resolution on the cleanup? Are they just playing hard to get along with? Or is this just the age-old game played in the schoolyard otherwise known as the legislature?

It’s an example of frustrated efforts and wasted energies. It’s one of the reasons things don’t get done by our politicians – they’re too busy playing head games with each other.

Geographic location: Boat Harbour, Pictou West, Pictou County

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