Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

The Great and Painful Filibuster of 2008: Who won?

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The Tories, but it's a political victory more than a policy one.Last night, at about 9-ish, after endless negotiations, the NDP basically pulled their entire legislative agenda off the table and delayed it until the fall. That's the balanced budget overhaul, the elections changes, the access to information tweaks and the hog barn ban. There's some other little bills that will pass, but none are hugely significant.The NDP capitulation comes after days of old-fashioned time-wasting by the Tories. They also stacked the committee meetings with their own people and finagled the rules so that just a handful every night got up to speak. That threatened to stretch things out into July.It's not like the party rallied huge public opinion against the balanced budget bill or the elections overhaul - the public doesn't care, frankly, and the Tories probably can't make them, even if they have all summer. But the PCs did rally their own people - a good 150 of them - which is something one Tory supporter said hasn't happened in an effective way for years. The NDP didn't expect that kind of organised gridlock because it's never really happened before. The Tory called it "a chink in the NDP's armour."Problem is, all the bills will probably pass pretty much as written in September. This was a wiener-measuring contest, and the Tories won, but the NDP still wears the pants.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first covering city hall and then the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter. Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school. She has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category.

She was a Southam journalism fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College in 2012-13, where she studied indigenous issues, urban planning and political science. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists and has served on several boards.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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