Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 08/7/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
The provincial cabinet minister responsible for Manitoba's controversial municipal-amalgamation legislation said Tuesday he's open to the Opposition's suggestions on how Bill 33 can be improved.
Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux said he is open to amendments from Progressive Conservative MLAs, but he added the window for such changes is short.
"If they have some suggestions on how to make parts of this bill better, improve it, improve municipalities and how they work together, I am open to those discussions," Lemieux said after question period.
Bill 33, now before the legislature, would require towns and rural municipalities with fewer than 1,000 people to merge with other municipalities. Affected municipalities would have to submit merger plans by Dec. 1. The plans would take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The bill is one of dozens tied up in the legislature this summer.
Lemieux said Tuesday he is still adamant the legislation proceed. He would not speculate about what sections of the bill he might be open to changing. However, he promised any constructive discussions he had with the Tories on the bill would be kept confidential.
Conservative critic Blaine Pedersen (Midland) was not impressed by Lemieux's offer.
"You can't amend a bad bill," he told reporters. "You can amend a workable bill into something that is better. But a bad bill can't be made workable."
Pedersen said the government sprung amalgamation on municipalities without consulting them. The minister should withdraw the bill and seek input on the issue from local governments, he said.
He said the Conservatives don't oppose municipal amalgamation, but they don't believe it should be imposed by the province as Lemieux is proposing.
If two or more municipalities wish to amalgamate, the province should act as a facilitator, Pedersen said.
"That's the way amalgamation should work -- from the bottom up, not from the top down."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2013 B2
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Katz, Mint to honour Jones team
Police bomb unit to get new, permanent facility
Katz agrees roads need fixing, but funds an issue
Police warn of phone scammers pretending to be officers
Police seek help identifying man accused of threatening bus driver
AGI achieves record-setting results
Katz questions penalizing condo developer
Fire at plastics manufacturer sends one to hospital
Winnipeg Free Press Pothole Locator
A mix of warm and cold as winter keeps its claws in
Pothole season could last until June
Activists for disabled slam safe-driving ad
Jeered young Islanders fan receives outpouring
Tots alone, mom parties
Drunk driver in tragedy pays