Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At Queen's Park - day 45

Some days are busier and run more unexpectedly than others. Today on my way to Queen's Park I met Minister Mathews, and had a conversation with her and her staff members. Then I was asked by NDP staff if I wanted to go to question period--they got me a pass. I turned my "tooautistic" t-shirt inside out (signage supporting interest groups is not allowed inside Queen's Park, though they would have no qualms with someone wearing a "Nike" shirt in the halls of power -ed), and off I went though security and the metal detector, into the legislative hall. Because of all the atmosphere and the beautiful surroundings it felt like a theater. The set is a beautiful hall; there is an audience; some of the the actors on the floor are wearing costumes; there are certain rules and ceremony, as well as drama and emotions and gestures. Over all it was quite civil. I think, though, that the air of civility was helped allong by presence of the children. The eight-graders dressed up in little suits were sitting by the feet of the speaker and standing when he was standing, and the other half of them were running here and there, bringing the papers from desk to desk, and fetching glasses of ice water for the members. (The kids are called "Pages"-ed)

Among many other questions, Minister Mathews was answering questions about closing the Geneva Centre for a week due to some budgetary mess-up. In her answer she included a suggestion that we triple funding for autism. She then cited the "we feel for the families" mantra I have heard and read many times before. She promised to look further into the issue. Premier McGuinty was asked about closing emergency rooms in Fort Erie and southern Ontario. He said it was done to "improve the services", because they will be opening 24/7 emergency care centers. The opposition answered that government rushed with closing the emergency rooms before they finished their own study if it would really improve the services. The Premier repeated the same message that closing emergency rooms will improve the services and they went to the next issue.

It was all very educational and interesting for me. The questions and answers felt a bit like a tennis match. It is difficult for me to discern which issues are dealt with promptly in a proper manner, and which ones are being ignored or pushed aside.

This is a picture of the farmers' market in front of the Queen's Park. It was a happy celebration of Ontario harvest time, with musicians, the smell of beef on a bun, and lots of great local produce.

1 comment:

  1. this is exciting! I don't see the point of having these grandiose buildings and rooms. But you can see it throughout history eh? Theatrics to match the egos of those who are in power.