I can’t say I understand the UCP government’s determination to ban desk thumping in the Alberta legislature. It’s a time-honoured practice – no more or less disruptive than clapping. In and of itself thumping does not lessen the decorum of the assembly.But I also can’t understand the NDP’s over-the-top claims. Edmonton-Manning New Democrat Heather Sweet insisted Monday that forbidding MLAs to pound the tops of their desks will hurt her ability to represent her constituents.Sweet accused the UCP of trying to silence those who disagree with them.Oh, please. What are the New Dems going to do, start an activist group called #ThumpingHandsMatter?The prohibition against desk thumping is a trivial idea, but it is hardly an affront to democracy. Sweet insists it is a way for MLAs to show support for and encourage one another – to help them not feel so lonely or awkward.Seriously? Can we for once have a discussion that doesn’t deteriorate into a cry of victimhood and some sort of indulgence in psychobabble?But back to the UCP’s obsession with banning desk thumping: Is this something our elected representatives should be wasting their time on?We are emerging from four years of the worst economic performance in the province’s history. Is it really all that important whether MLAs are mistreating the furniture?It is the role of the Speaker to maintain decorum in the chamber. If members are thumping excessively, wasting the assembly’s time with loud displays or trying to drown out an MLA who has the floor, then the Speaker (as he has always had the power to do) can simply stand and call “Order!”Blowing a vuvuzela would be worse. Why not rewrite the assembly’s rules to forbid those, too?Name-calling is every bit as bad as desk thumping. So is heckling. (I would argue both are worse than desk-thumping when it comes to disrespect and delay.)Nor can I believe, as the UCP claim, that there are many Legislature visitors who are aghast when they first witness thumping. The MLAs aren’t resorting to fisticuffs or shouting out obscenities.If a few delicate souls are mortified while sitting in the gallery observing a good desk pounding, then perhaps they should read up on the origins of the gesture.Or perhaps they should consider that the mother of all Parliaments, the Palace of Westminster in London, is frequently far more raucous and rough than any parliament or legislature in Canada.The Alberta legislature has always been quite mild. Tame even.I could get all theoretical and say the NDP’s Sweet has a point (although it gets lost in her avalanche of whine). Each MLA is an adult and independently responsible to the people who elected her or him.Shouldn’t it be up to these elected adults to decide how to behave? And shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the Speaker to rein in excesses? That’s part of the job description after all.On Monday, the UCP introduced legislation to roll back the $15-an-hour minimum wage to $13-an-hour for workers under 18 who work part-time. In other words, they are leaving the NDP’s high minimum wage in place for people who work full-time to support a family.The UCP are also reinstating the old rules for when unions attempt to certify new workplaces. Now workers will have a guarantee of a secret ballot if they are called on to vote on whether they and their fellow employees want to join a union.The UCP are also ending the NDP rule that required employers to pay employees for statutory holidays – even the ones they don’t work.All of that is far more important than ending desk-thumping.