Manitoba

Opposition blocks Manitoba government from passing several government bills

The Manitoba government has been forced to temporarily shelve several pieces of legislation.

NDP needs time to evaluate 'avalanche of legislation up against the deadline'

The business of the legislature has ground to a halt for the second straight day, as opposition parties try to prevent several pieces of legislation from passing. (David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press)

The usual business of the Manitoba Legislature was pre-empted on Monday for a stunt led by the Opposition NDP to prevent the government from introducing bills in time to pass this session. 

The delay tactic, which also took over legislative business Friday, deployed complaints a.k.a matters of privilege to eat up time. By regulation, matters of privilege take priority over question period.

The government was set to table as many as seven new pieces of legislation. 

If the bills are not introduced by Monday night, it is unlikely the legislation will pass before the legislature rises for the summer.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew says his party isn't stalling proceedings because of one concerning piece of legislation, but a "slew of government bills" being foisted upon them at the last minute.

'Avalanche of legislation'

"Once we realized that they were really trying to bring in this avalanche of legislation up against the deadline, we figured, 'Well, let's take some time and slow things down and make sure there's proper supervision.'"

The proposed legislation includes a plan to centralize teacher bargaining and revise conflict of interest law. 

Kinew said his party is standing up against the government's agenda.

"If there are things that we consider harmful to a working person in Manitoba, a teacher, the average family, then we're going to take the opportunity to slow things down."

NDP doesn't want a tax cut: Goertzen

By deferring question period, the government is also preventing debate on the budget from happening, said Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen. 

"I understand the NDP will be opposed to the budget because it reduces taxes and does many other good things for Manitobans," Goertzen told reporters. "They'll continue, I suppose, to oppose the PST decrease and we will continue to advance the budget."

In an apparent jab at Premier Brian Pallister — who's said he wouldn't tell his opponents if he's considering an early election — Kinew wouldn't reveal if his party would continue tying up legislative business. He said he also ascribes to the philosophy that his rivals don't deserve advance notice.

Regardless of any efforts to clog legislative business, Manitoba's MLAs will vote on the budget on Tuesday. 

About the Author

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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