Fredericton — It’s a dirty job and somebody’s got to do it. But so far, there are no takers for the second-worst job at the New Brunswick legislature — Speaker of the House.
And while the second-worst job still has no candidates despite its many perks, the by-far worst job at the legislative assembly — premier of New Brunswick — is still somehow occupied for now.
“It’s kind of ironic…in an ‘Alanis Morissette’ kind of way,” observed Lieutenant Governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau. “You’d kind of expect that no one would want the worst job of all, but the Tories and Liberals are still bickering over who gets to be premier.
“The Speaker’s job is gross I know — it’s like being the indentured referee of a toddler slap-flight — but it’s still way better than being premier, and I mean by a lot!
“What can I say…typical dysfunctional New Brunswick politics,” she sighed.
The legislature cannot do any formal business without someone in the Speaker’s position. But, all 49 of the MLAs have removed themselves from consideration even though the position comes with a $130,000 salary and a government car.
“It’s like if everyone got on a bus, but there is no bus driver,” said Roy-Vienneau. “All 49 can bicker about where they want it to go, but that bus ain’t moving without a driver. I mean, the parties kind of need to do this, or they literally can’t do the job that they were elected to do. So, if this ended up in another election, I would not want to be in their shoes on election day!”
Still, the worst job at the legislature is the subject of a bitter battle between Brian Gallant and Blaine Higgs. “I really don’t get it,” smiled the amused lieutenant governor. “The premier has to deal with a $14-billion debt, a $5-billion debt at the Crown-owned power utility, a hydroelectric dam that costs $3 billion to fix, and 760,000 people to keep happy.
“The Speaker’s job seems like a walk in the park by comparison.”