Saturday, May 03, 2003

How to put in a day at work by driving through a parking lot

In British Columbia, Helmut Giesbrecht is the former NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Kitimat area. In the local paper, the Northern Sentinel, he wrote a letter a couple of weeks ago complaining that his replacement as MLA, Liberal Roger Harris, didn't attend a public meeting in Terrace. (It turns out that Mr. Harris was in meetings that day trying to save Skeena Cellulose, a mjor employer in the region.)

Mr. Giesbrecht writes that Mr. Harris need not have risked a $300 per day fine levied on all provincial legislators who, with certain minor exceptions, miss more than 10 days of a session.

He writes:

What "full days" means is you can leave in the morning of the day before, drive through the legislature parking lot--now you are in the precincts for a portion of the day--and it doesn't count as a full day. The next day counts as one of the ten you are permitted; you come back the day after your "full day" and as long as you are "in the precincts" before midnight--that is a drive through the parking lot--the whole absence counts as one day.

This means the 10 days can actually be almost 30....

Perhaps Mr. Harris was too wise to reply. After all, we have the former MLA writing how you can violate the intent of the legislature's rules by driving through a parking lot at 11:59 PM. Why, one wonders, does Mr. Giesbrecht know how to do this?

I would have been content with a one sentence reply if I were the MLA that Mr. Giesbrecht is criticizing. "Why is he pointing out how I can bend the rules of the legislature that are supposed to apply to all MLAs?"