Opposition leaders say questions linger as House of Assembly breaks early for summer

·3 min read
NDP leader Alison Coffin says she would have liked the House of Assembly to continue until its scheduled end of June 30. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
NDP leader Alison Coffin says she would have liked the House of Assembly to continue until its scheduled end of June 30. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)

The first session of the 50th general assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador's House of Assembly officially wrapped for the summer Wednesday, but opposition leaders say that's brought an early end to important discussions.

NDP leader Allison Coffin was concerned breaking for the summer will prevent debate — specifically related to news of Nalcor being absorbed by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

"The fact that the House is closing today certainly really curtails the amount of debate that we can have on this initiative," she said.

Coffin said the House's final sitting before summer was "more uproarious than usual."

"Certainly there was a level of arrogance we did not see when there was a minority government," she said.

Coffin said she would have liked to see the House stay seated until the end of the session, which was scheduled for June 30.

"There were some very important announcements that are very deserving of debate and that's been curtailed," she said.

"I don't think that's very fair to the public of Newfoundland and Labrador."

PC leader 'a little disappointed'

Mark Quinn/CBC
Mark Quinn/CBC

David Brazil, interim leader of the province's Progressive Conservative Party, echoed Coffin's concern about the changes to Nalcor.

Brazil said he was "a little disappointed that we didn't get more data shared with us."

He said more specifics are needed in terms of the evidence that supported the decision.

"The issue is here they still haven't given a clear direction on where they're moving," he said.

"How many jobs are affected? What does it mean for these families? What does it mean for the companies that deal with them?"

Brazil said he was pleased with the sitting, which saw discussion of issues like protecting endangered caribou populations and opening another drug treatment court in the province, as well as the fate of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the NLC.

Mark Quinn/CBC
Mark Quinn/CBC

During a media scrum following the final sitting, Premier Andrew Furey said he was pleased with his government's performance in a year of unprecedented events.

"It's been quite the year," he said.

"[It's been] a balance of emerging from a pandemic while facing the harsh economic and fiscal realities that the province faces right now."

Furey noted the passing of two budgets in nine months and the recent announcement of Suncor striking a deal to save the Terra Nova oilfield as milestone accomplishments.

"I think [the Suncor deal] is a good sign moving forward," he said.

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote thanked the MHAs in attendance for their hard work during what she called a "really, really busy" year.

She singled out amendments made to the Children, Youth and Family Act as one of the session's most significant achievements.

"A member of government is all about making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable, and you have done that with the amendments to that particular act," Foote said.

The House of Assembly's next sitting is scheduled for Oct. 18.

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