Nfld. & Labrador

Filibuster day 3: Opposition continues stall tactics to delay Liberal budget measures

While people in Newfoundland and Labrador were just waking up to start their Wednesday, opposition MHAs were continuing into day three of their filibuster of the budget.
PC MHA Tracey Perry reads emails sent in by members of the public, while the filibuster continues through its third day in the House of Assembly. (House of Assembly)

The marathon, round-the-clock filibuster launched by the opposition this week continues Wednesday in the House of Assembly as MHAs stall implementation of controversial Liberal budget measures.

The delay tactic forced the cancellation of Question Period.

The Progressive Conservatives, along with NDP and Independent MHAs, put questions to the Liberal government about their latest budget.

And the PCs seemed to have public support for their actions.

Former Tory MHA Sandy Collins tweeted photos of food — including pizza and Tim Hortons donuts — delivered to the PCs after midnight.

The focus of the filibuster Monday was on Bill 14, which creates the deficit reduction levy, but by Tuesday night had shifted to Bill 19, which raises the tax on insurance premiums. 

Those bills must pass through committee before they can become law and be implemented.

Reading emails and tweets from members of the general public, the opposition members questioned the Liberal's choice to create a levy — and whether they realized the impact on people.

"These Liberals are mocking us," read Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune Progressive Conservative MHA Tracey Perry in one email sent in by a member of the public.

"Another person says the premier outright lied."

The one bright side to the ongoing debate, Perry said, is the proof that the public is becoming more engaged in politics and are becoming more aware.

Perry added the Liberals have disappointed the people of the province, who feel they've been betrayed by their government.

The filibuster of the levy started around 8 p.m. Monday, and went straight through until Tuesday around 1 p.m. It only stopped at that point when Government House Leader Andrew Parsons stopped debate to report progress.

By 6 a.m. Wednesday, opposition members were still seen on the House of Assembly live feed reading aloud feedback they received from their constituents.

On Tuesday, the opposition tried to grill Premier Dwight Ball, who remained mostly silent in the House of Assembly.

PC Leader Paul Davis said Ball's media silence is in turn a silence directed at the people of the province, and he must answer to the public.