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Abracadabra!

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Almost everything I learned about life as a child was through Bugs Bunny.

Every Saturday at 5 p.m. the TV was tuned to the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour.

I memorized almost every one of them. In my nine-year-old brain they were brilliant.

One stands out as one of my all-time favourites.

Bugs has walked into a castle and meets up with a clumsy vampire.

No matter what the vampire does, Bugs smacks him down.

This brings me to the Manitoba legislature and the goings on between the ruling NDP and the Opposition Progressive Conservatives.

No matter what the NDP do, the PCs smack them down.

We're now into our third week of an extended spring sitting and there appears to be no end in sight for the NDP.

They look and sound tired in Question Period, perhaps even bored with the rehearsed lines they've been repeating since the April budget on the PST increase by one point to eight per cent.

Over the past decade the NDP have for the most part wiggled out of trouble and held the Opposition in check.

Those days appear over. Brian Pallister's PCs look almost giddy at the position the NDP find themselves.

Abracadabra!

Bad polling results. Bad media coverage. And now sitting in the summer when NDP MLAs had expected to be on holiday. And now a PC-led court challenge against Bill 20.

Abracadabra!

With each passing hour,  there is no reason why the PCs would let up. Why would they?

Abracadabra! 

The only alternative is for the NDP to invoke closure to end debate and get all their bills passed; Bill 20, Bill 18 and Bill 33.

But that's exactly what Pallister's Tories want. How the NDP would justify closure to the public would be a tough sell.

Certainly, the Tories are monkeying around with procedure, but to end debate to baptise a tax increase without a public referendum would not look good on the NDP.

So they're stuck holding a big stone over their heads, outmaneuvered by a rascally Opposition.

One wonders what the discussion is around the NDP cabinet table on this political impasse. Out in public the New Democrats appear as a team, but behind closed doors?

Abracadabra!

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca 

 

 

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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