Oliver and I had a spare evening on Thursday, so we decided to drop in on the evening session of the Legislative Assembly of PEI next door.
It was Oliver’s first visit to the public gallery since the Legislative Assembly relocated to the Coles Building, and also his first visit during the term of the MacLauchlan administration (we last visited together in 2007, before Province House started falling down).
It was also Ethan’s first visit to the gallery, a fact that caused a minor, but ultimately efficiently addressed, kerfuffle as we passed through security in the basement (are dogs allowed? does Ethan need a visitor’s badge?). We were treading through fresh snow, so we were happy to be patient.
The Premier rose to the occasion on all fronts, highlighting Oliver’s blog and his social media work, and recognizing Ethan’s presence as the session started:
This is how governance works at small scale.
The topic for the evening session was the consideration of the estimates for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. As I’ve written here before, the consideration of the estimates has become my favourite part of the work of the Assembly, as it’s an opportunity for we citizens to gain real insights into revenue and expenditure in a way that’s connected to our everyday lives (alas the issues I highlighted in 2016, with the flow of information-on-paper gumming up the proceedings, have yet to be addressed: there was as much page-flipping and “hold on while we make copies” in evidence as there was last year).
During a break in the action, Hon. Tina Mundy, Minister of Family and Human Services, came outside the rail to say hello to Oliver and I, and we chatted a little about service dogs and their powers; a few days later, seeking to rally support for the upcoming Walk for Dog Guides in May, Oliver tracked down her email address and invited her to participate. The next day, having located the nearest walk to her constituency, she wrote Oliver back and committed to attending if she could.
That is also how governance works at small scale.
And I’m proud of the agency that Oliver feels, the connectedness to government, that would be completely absent from his life if we lived in a larger jurisdiction.