The Selinger government introduced an interim supply bill this afternoon, enabling it to pay civil servants and meet its financial commitments well into the fall.
The bill, if passed over the next several days, will allow the province to meet its payroll on Aug. 9th. The government has said that it already had funds at its disposal to pay government workers this Friday.
The Opposition Tories have held up the province’s budget implementation legislation in protest of the government’s decision to increase the PST by one point effective July 1. They were also incensed that the retail sales tax hike was introduced without a public referendum on the matter as required by the current law.
However, while continuing to prevent Bill 20 from passing – it has yet to receive third reading -- the Tories have said that they would not stand in the way of a vote on an interim supply bill.
The government, after several tries last week, were able to introduce the legislation (Bill 48) this afternoon. By late afternoon, the bill was already being debated.
Earlier in the day, Opposition Leader Brian Pallister blasted the government for suggesting that the Tories would hold up passage of the interim supply bill, creating a so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ in which government programs and civil servant paycheques were threatened.
Bill 48, introduced this afternoon, would provide the government authority to spend $7.7 billion, some 65 per cent of its operating budget.