The more things change, the more they are the same.
Yesterday marked the first question period of the new NDP government. Premier Darrell Dexter mused about how this was a fresh start and parties would hopefully work together in cooperation.
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That lasted about eight seconds.
From the first question by Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil, the heckling and jeering from both sides of the legislature was as raucous as ever.
Members can still expect to be mocked if they misspeak – as Dexter was when he began an answer with “Thank you Mr. Premier” instead of “Mr. Speaker.” Opposition members helpfully reminded Dexter who he was.
Opposition parties sarcastically chanted “It’s free! It’s free!” in response to the NDP answer that early funding to universities wouldn’t cost taxpayers. Finance Minister Graham Steele coyly shot back he was looking forward to many more questions from the new-to-opposition Tories.
Both Dexter and Opposition Leader McNeil said they thought members handled themselves well, but to some extent it was back to business as usual.
“There is a dynamic to question period that is undeniable,” Dexter said. “It is part policy, part theatre.”