Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Drop curtain on clown show

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Tory backbenchers Cliff Cullen, Blake Pederson and Cameron Friesen in the legislature on Aug. 14.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Tory backbenchers Cliff Cullen, Blake Pederson and Cameron Friesen in the legislature on Aug. 14. Photo Store

If ever a Broadway show deserved to have the curtain run down on it, the current clown show at the Manitoba legislature is one. It is neither productive nor entertaining, and as Bruce Owen's Aug. 22 story, Summer session: $12,500 a day, shows, racking up ridiculous costs to taxpayers.

It all started with the Progressive Conservative Party's objections to increasing the PST by one percentage point. However, anything resembling rational debate on this issue soon turned into pointless obstruction of most legitimate business of the legislature.

Worse yet, things have degenerated into childish calls of "You said a bad word!" followed by "No, I didn't; you did!" The clowns have taken to honking each other's red noses. However, the taxpayers are not amused.

The relevant facts here are: The tax increase went into effect on July 1. Merchants paid to adjust their sales registers; they would not appreciate another change soon. No one likes tax increases, but the public has so far shown no visible outrage over this one.

Also, the NDP is determined to pass the necessary legislation and has the votes to do so; the PCs cannot prevent this. If Manitoba voters do side with the PCs on this or other issues, they will show it in the next provincial election. In the interim, if the NDP can invoke closure on this clown show, I hope they will do so soon.

ROBERT BASHAM

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 24, 2013 A14

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