After almost two months covering the down and dirty process known as democracy, Metro Halifax legislature reporter Paul McLeod brings you his awards for distinguished service from some of our more interesting MLAs now that the spring session has ended.
Miss Congeniality Award: Bill Estabrooks (NDP)
The floor of the legislature can be a hostile place, but not for Nova Scotia’s teddy bear-like transportation minister.
During question period Estabrooks would begin almost every answer by thanking the opposition member for the question, and close by congratulating them on doing such a good job representing their constituents.
How can you get mad at someone like that?
Wild Card Award: Allan MacMaster (PC)
One minute he’s delivering an eloquent policy argument, the next he’s in the legislature waving his arms like Braveheart yelling, “We will be back to fight again!”
Whether he’s promising to balance the budget without tax hikes or cuts, speaking nostalgically of his fondness for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, or sending out a press release bragging he voted against his own party, Rodney MacDonald’s Inverness replacement was always entertaining.
Rookie of the Year Award: Andrew Younger (Lib)
Call him the Liberals’ answer to Graham Steele.
The former HRM councillor used his penchant for policy analysis to effective ends, frequently firing detailed and researched questions at the government. Of course he still got his share of heckling. “Maybe when the Younger member becomes an older member he’ll get his facts straight,” NDP cabinet minister John MacDonnell once responded.
Ernie Fage Commemoration Award: Trevor Zinck (Ind)
After being kicked out of the NDP caucus, Zinck began the legislature with a wild first week of allegations against his former colleagues.
But once the hubbub dropped off Zinck spent much of the rest of the session sitting by himself as an Independent in the back corner of the room behind the Liberals, watching the action from the sidelines while deep in thought.
Misplaced Cabinet Minister Award: Sterling Belliveau (NDP)
It made sense to task longtime fisherman Belliveau with the Fisheries portfolio, but making him environment minister at the same time raised some eyebrows. The latter job caused embarrassment when Belliveau didn’t know of an important bottled water ban hours after Premier Darrell Dexter had announced it.
Most Popular Metaphor Award: The Dexter Bus
The Dexter Bus, which the premier would use to figuratively run over and kill unfortunate citizens, was a popular talking point among Tories and Independent MLA Trevor Zinck. Eventually, so many Dexter Bus hit-and-run references were made that Tory MLA Chuck Porter began questioning who had built this bus fleet.