There’s an old saying that a good lawyer already knows the answer to the question he or she asks of a witness in court.
We caught a glimpse of that during Wednesday’s question period.
Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen, trained as a lawyer, spent the majority of QP’s 40 minutes grilling Premier Greg Selinger on the status of the new football stadium at the University of Manitoba.
I won’t go into details as the full transcript is posted on Hansard.
What the transcript lacks is the tense atmosphere in the house and the tone of McFadyen’s questions and Selinger’s answers.
To digress a bit, I’ve been lucky enough over the years to have been in court to watch some of this province’s best prosecutors and defence lawyers in action. Names like the late Jack Montgomery, the late Bruce Miller before he became a judge, Hersh Wolch, Richard Wolson, and more recently Keith Labossiere in a police labour hearing regarding the killing of Kevin Tokarchuk, spring immediately to mind.
With each I vividly remember how each took command of the witness and of the room. There were moments when I stopped taking notes because I didn’t want to miss the exchange, that dance between the lawyer or prosecutor and the person in the box during direct and cross-exam. Unlike on TV, those moments do not happen that often.
It was that like when McFadyen went after Selinger. McFadyen commanded the room. He smelled blood.
It left me wondering how much the PC leader really knows about what’s happening behind the closed-door talks of how the construction of the new stadium moves forward.
The NDP want this stadium deal resolved PDQ. Badly. They want if off the front page and TV news and are doing their damnedest to bombard the media with other announcements to deflect us from the stadium.
Because each day it drags on in QP is another notch for McFadyen. The NDP is painfully aware of that.