Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Delay looks spiteful

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IT'S been clear for more than three months now that the spring flood threat has passed and that calendar is pretty much clear for a Morris byelection, to replace the former MLA, Mavis Taillieu, who resigned in February. If this were a federal parliamentary seat, a new byelection would have been called by now.

Federal statute demands a riding vacancy be filled within six months. But in Manitoba, the government has a year from the date of the vacancy, an excessively long time to leave constituents without representation in the legislature.

The Tories, who have held the seat since 1966, want the byelection called now but the NDP, which initially used the threat of flood this spring to delay the writ, has been mum on the topic since.

The Conservatives claim that the government is delaying the call because, under Elections Finances Act, it would have to halt all advertising of government programs, including press releases and conferences to "announce" infrastructure projects during the byelection period.

It is growing clearer that there is no good reason for delaying the byelection. Residents ought to know by now when they will be called to the polls. Premier Greg Selinger should announce that date now. Further delay lends credence to the complaint the NDP is acting out of sheer spite, over the Tories' tactics in the legislature concerning the PST hike, in denying the people of Morris a voice in the legislature.

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

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 14, 2013 A8

History

Updated on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:21 AM CDT: Corrects that if Morris were a federal parliamentary seat, a new byelection would have been called by now.

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