The Nova Scotia legislature was back in session for a brisk 20 minutes or so Thursday.
The sitting was a formality in order to take care of some appointments by the new NDP government.
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Pictou West MLA Charlie Parker was elected as Speaker of the House. He went through the traditional routine of being “forced” up to the speakers chair by the three party leaders, where he will make about an extra $44,000 per year.
He quickly donned his new robe and threw in a top hat for good measure.
Premier Darrell Dexter mixed things up by electing three deputy speakers, one from each party. John Hamm did the same thing when he was premier. The three will split the $24,000-per-year bonus evenly between them.
The NDP selected Cape Breton Nova MLA Gordie Gosse and the Liberals put forward Clare MLA Wayne Gaudet. The Tories gave the job to Cape Breton West MLA Alfie MacLeod, who was the previous speaker during the Rodney MacDonald government.
The mood in the house was downright jovial, with MLAs of all parties cracking jokes from across the aisle.
But afterwards there was some serious discussion about when the house will be called back for a real session to debate this year’s budget. The NDP says it will likely be late September or October —halfway through the fiscal year — before a budget will be introduced.
“It’s a matter of working through the financial details and getting back the audit information,” Dexter told reporters.
Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said that’s too long considering the NDP will be mostly re-releasing the short-lived Tory budget. He called for a summer session.