Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/11/2011 (2035 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba MLAs sat for only eight days, debated no new laws and won’t be back at work — at least in the legislature — until next spring.
The fall sitting of the 40th session of the Manitoba legislature ended Tuesday even before its scheduled 5 p.m. wind-up time.
Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen termed the NDP government’s legislative menu — a six-page speech from the throne — as "pretty thin gruel."
"It’s a short session, the shortest I can remember, and the only one with no legislation," McFadyen complained to reporters outside the chamber. "It is really not acceptable for MLAs to be sitting for such a short period of time and have no business come before the House other than a throne speech, which recycled things that have been promised in the past."
Premier Greg Selinger defended the short sitting, saying the government was able to start the ball rolling on several new initiatives, including reduced class sizes for kindergarten to Grade 3 students and an air transport program for rural patients needing diagnostic services.
"We had a good session in that we started rolling out our election commitments," he said.
In the last question period before spring, the Tories sought to embarrass the government on its failure to open up five new Quick Care clinics this fall, as promised in a June 27 government release. The premier admitted that the clinics will not open until early in 2012.
The Opposition went so far as to table a photo taken at the site of one of the would be clinic at 17 St. Mary’s Rd. The building still had a "for lease" sign on it and little evidence of any work having been done inside.
The Tories had fun with the fact the building is still listed for lease on the website Kijiji. "Looks like Greg Selinger is opting for Kijiji Care in Manitoba," McFadyen quipped.
Health Minister Theresa Oswald the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has leased some — but not all — of the building on St. Mary’s Road. She said the province is still pushing for a fall opening for some of the clinics but noted that some bugs still need to be worked out.
It’s an aggressive target," she said of the fall promise. "We have not done this before in Manitoba."
The Quick Care clinics — which will be open for long hours and be staffed primarily by registered nurses and nurse practitioners — are designed to ease the pressure on the health system. City hospital emergency rooms are being strained by non-emergency cases as many folks lack a family doctor and need access to health care outside of regular hours.