Manitoba government axes controversial education reform bill

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The Progressive Conservative government's new premier, Kelvin Goertzen, got the message and read the signs sprouting on lawns across the province urging Manitoba to kill Bill 64.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/09/2021 (465 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Progressive Conservative government’s new premier, Kelvin Goertzen, got the message and read the signs sprouting on lawns across the province urging Manitoba to kill Bill 64.

At his first news conference as Manitoba premier Wednesday, Goertzen thanked the 500-plus presenters who registered to speak this fall at a legislative committee about the contentious Education Modernization Act, but said they needn’t bother: the legislation will be dead, as well as four other bills that had been designated for a fall vote.

“A new leader has to be able to set their own agenda,” he said, noting his role as a “caretaker premier” ends when a new leader is elected by the PC party Oct. 30.

Bill 64 and four other bills were axed by the Progressive Conservative government's new premier, Kelvin Goertzen on his first day in office. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“As such, cabinet and caucus have authorized, with my full support, that those bills will not move forward this fall.”

Axed are:

Bill 64 — among other reforms, it would have eliminated English language school boards.

Bill 16 — would have allowed an employer to fire an employee for “strike-related misconduct” (even if the employee has not been convicted of a criminal offence) and eliminated the right of striking workers to access binding arbitration after 60 days of strike action or lockout.

Bill 35 — would have had the Public Utilities Board approve rates in five-year intervals rather than annually, with the provincial cabinet setting hydro rates in the meantime.

Bill 40 — would have enabled liquor sales by third parties.

Bill 57 — would have restricted the rights of protesters by allowing owners or operators of “critical infrastructure” (highways, pipelines, food-processing plants, hospitals and courthouses) to apply for a court order to halt or limit protests.

The house will resume sitting this fall, but only long enough to pass a necessary budget implementation bill to ensure staff and government have the resources they need and remove the five pieces of legislation his government won’t pursue this session, Goertzen said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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