Nfld. & Labrador

MHAs pull all-nighter, take afternoon break in filibuster over deficit reduction levy

MHA's feeling sleep deprived after a long night and morning in the House of Assembly got a brief break Tuesday, but promise more debate into the evening.
Steve Kent takes a break from the filibuster to talk with the St. John's Morning Show on Tuesday. (Twitter )

MHA's feeling sleep deprived after a long night and morning in the House of Assembly got a half-hour break Tuesday. 

The filibuster being led by the Progressive Conservatives against the deficit reduction levy paused after Justice Minister Andrew Parsons moved the bill out of committee around 1 p.m on Tuesday.

After a brief break the House reconvened at 1:30 for Question Period.

The filibuster began around 8 p.m. Monday and it could continue into Tuesday night, if the Liberals decide to resume debate on the bill.

Bill 14 — which creates the deficit reduction levy — must pass through committee before it can become law.

Overnight, members of the PC opposition, NDP MHA Gerry Rogers and independent MHA Paul Lane had been making statements in the House of Assembly, reading emails, and talking about issues that have been raised by their constituents.

Leading the charge was Mount Pearl North MHA Steve Kent, who's been live tweeting since the filibuster began.

In an interview with the St. John's Morning Show, Kent said the filibuster had been going well.

"We've had a good night," he said.

"We've been busy bringing concerns to the House of Assembly on behalf of people from all over the province."

Kent said the point of the filibuster is to show the Liberal government that there's still time for them to change direction.

"There are still unresolved issues and concerns about this budget process," he said.

"Just because the formal budget motion has passed, there's still several pieces of legislation related to the budget that are going through the house, including the bill on the levy."

He said it's important to hold Ball's Liberals accountable.

"We also want to get the message out there that people in this province overwhelmingly have lost confidence in Dwight Ball's leadership and in his administration."

'It's tiring, of course'

Liberal MHA Bernard Davis said he respects the filibuster.

"It's tiring of course, but this is democracy at play and everybody has a right to ask questions and ensure the people's concerns are brought forward," he told the St. John's Morning Show just after 8 a.m.

"It's impressive that it's gone on for 13 hours right now."

Kent said on Twitter that he believes the pause in the filibuster by the Liberals is a small victory. 

He indicated that the Progressive Conservatives plan to keep drawing out the debate into Tuesday evening.