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Manitoba Tories to force house to sit until July

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Tory Leader Brian Pallister

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Progressive Conservative Opposition Leader Brian Pallister confirmed today his party's delay tactics will see the house sit into July.

The Tories have used a variety of procedural tactics to stall the NDP’s Bill 20 to delay second reading of the controversial bill, which would remove the legal requirement to hold a public referendum — brought in by former Premier Gary Filmon’s government in 1995 — before the New Democrats increase the provincial sales tax and two other major taxes.

Finance Minister Stan Struthers served notice in his April 16 budget the NDP would hike the PST to eight per cent on July 1. He tabled Bill 20 the next day.

Pallister said keeping the house sitting beyond Canada Day would remind Manitobans about the removal of the referendum.

"We want to make sure that we are here in July to make the case as best we possibly can that this is not a smart course of action, that the government should not raise the PST, but more importantly should not tear up the Taxpayer Protection Act either because it really benefits our province to have it in place," Pallister said outside the house Monday.

Pallister would not comment on how far he was prepared to sit into the summer, but said he had the support of his caucus.

"I’m going to do everything I can in my power and our party will and our members here will to make sure that we make the case as best we can, in every way we can, that this is not a smart approach for our province and our future."

Traditionally, the house breaks on the Thursday of the second full week in June.

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