Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Byelection delays are political

  • Print

As the extended legislative session winds to an end, the NDP government has yet to wrap up a pressing item. Its PST rate hike will be passed by Thursday, along with 30-plus bills outstanding from the spring sitting. And an important change to speed limits in construction zones will be passed, after a late compromise between the NDP and Tories to add it to the agenda.

But this is all cold comfort to the people of the Morris constituency, vacated in February when Tory Mavis Taillieu resigned. The NDP has yet to drop the byelection writ, despite repeated calls by the Tories.

The government has excused its foot-dragging, blaming a hectic spring session, and a tradition of not holding byelections while the House is sitting. In November, Premier Greg Selinger added a new rationalization -- now that Arthur-Virden will also need a byelection, holding them coincidentally would save taxpayers money.

Mr. Selinger's real interests are purely political.

The byelection could have been called at any time, and should have been when it became evident that the spring sitting was extended. And there is no saving to holding byelections coincidentally, as Elections Manitoba has said. Further, the Morris byelection could have been held in October, after the House broke mid-September.

But all of the evidently possible paled in comparison to the obvious problem before the NDP, which was to battle blistering press and falling popularity sparked by the PST hike. Since the spring budget, the government has been pumping out announcements and holding public press conferences to present cheques for an uninterrupted stream of "infrastructure spending" projects.

That would have been tripped up for weeks with a byelection -- the Election Financing Act demands that government advertising be suspended during a writ. That this was foremost in the NDP's agenda this summer and fall was underscored in November when Mr. Selinger delayed again, to hold two simultaneous byelections and thus avoid the suspension of infrastructure announcements twice, for at least 32 days each time.

The extended session was extraordinary, requiring compromise and innovative solutions from the Tories and the NDP. This was evident in the deal struck to rise in September, delaying passage of the PST implementation while priority legislation on bullying and municipal amalgamations went ahead.

And Thursday, another deal was struck to pass an important amendment to the Highway Traffic Act. Amendments will require motorists to reduce speed on roads and highways where construction is taking place, whether workers are present or not. Fines will rise dramatically for those who ignore the law.

The passage is made possible because the Tories offered to put Bill 2 on the sessional order, substituting it in for another bill that will be put off to the next session.

Amid all the compromise, the people of Morris have been ignored. There is little benefit to the NDP in filling the seat in a true-blue riding in a timely manner. Now the constituents of the riding will be called to the polls in the dead of winter -- by Feb. 12 at the latest. Arthur-Virden must go to the polls by next October, but similarly deserves timely representation. A byelection there should be held before the legislature returns March 6.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 3, 2013 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

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.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Mayor Bowman reacts to Caspian investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010
  • June 25, 2013 - 130625  -  A storm lit up Winnipeg Tuesday, June 25, 2013. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - lightning

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that former cabinet minister Theresa Oswald has entered the NDP leadership race, do you believe the "gang of five" rebel ministers were right to publicly criticize Premier Greg Selinger's leadership?

View Results

Ads by Google