Press Pass: Standing up for Canada, one semicolon at a time

HEY, EINSTEIN — New Democrat David Eby (Vancouver-Point Grey) and Liberal Sam Sullivan (Vancouver-False Creek) got into it over the precise wording of a famous quote.

Eby got things started: “They say that repeating the same activity and expecting a different result the second time is the definition of stupidity,” he said, leading off a debate about affordable housing.

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Sullivan followed up with a clarification.

“I thank the member from Point Grey for his comments,” he said. “He started off by giving a quote. I believe he was trying to quote Albert Einstein. I believe he misquoted him as well. There was the issue of stupidity. I think Albert Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting the same result,’ if I might helpfully correct the member.”

Sullivan actually got the quote wrong, too. It should be “expecting different results.”

Eby, however, got in the last word. “I thank the member for his correction on the definition of ‘stupidity.’ I’m sure that he knows more about this area than I do, and I thank him for that.”


DOT COMMAS — First, there was the Red Tape Reduction Day Act.

Now, there’s the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, which is devoted to fixing commas and spellings in statutes from 11 ministries.

The public could be forgiven for wondering why, exactly, they’re paying politicians so much to debate so little.

The MLAs seem to be wondering the same thing.

“Oh, shame, shame that Pierre Berton is not here to witness that finally this government has risen up off its haunches and defended Canadian spelling in the kind of way that it merits and Canadian nationalism would suggest,” said the NDP’s Leonard Krog (Nanaimo).

“In section 10 of the bill: Section 22 (4) of the Tobacco Tax Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 452, is amended by striking out ‘willful’ and substituting ‘wilful’. So there’s a victory for Canadian nationalism and Canadian spelling. My goodness, maybe we should go down and burn the White House for a second time just to remind them that we’re still in charge of our language and spelling.”

Green MLA Andrew Weaver (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) got in on the act by reading a list of possible bills suggested by his constituents “to complete the legislative agenda.”

“Here are a couple — I quite like these — from a fellow called Dave Hutchinson. He suggested Bill 39 be introduced, an act to replace the dash with the semicolon. I’m impressed with that. He has also suggested Bill 40, the act to eliminate redundancies act. Quite clever, actually.

“We’ve had a comment from an Andrew Park, who was quite taken aback by the fact that the government’s agenda seemed so void of ideas. He said: ‘What’s up next — a bill to outlaw the selling of Twinkie bars in months that have two full moons?’

“Now, Hon. Speaker, you will not believe it. It must have been a boring day on Facebook, because a discussion ensued after that comment as to whether or not you could still buy Twinkie bars in Canada.

“That’s the state and level of the discussion that this bill is provoking in British Columbia.”

— With files from Les Leyne and Lindsay Kines

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