Parties ready to rock the house as legislature resumes
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Manitoba MLAs will tackle unfinished business and be joined by a rookie colleague, as the legislature resumes today.
“I am always excited when the house resumes,” said government house leader Kelvin Goertzen.
After rising on June 1 for the summer recess, the fourth session of the 42nd legislature resumes with question period at 1:30 p.m.
Thompson MLA Eric Redhead will take his seat with the New Democrats for the first time since winning the byelection in Thompson, which was held to replace New Democrat Danielle Adams, who died in a December highway crash.
The Progressive Conservative government expects to pass five bills.
“Our government looks forward to continuing to make life more affordable, building safer communities and working to strengthen health care,” Goertzen said.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he’s keen to challenge the PC record.
“They’ve done absolutely nothing,” Kinew said. “The health care system continues to get worse and worse and despite a summer of high inflation, there have been no steps to make your life more affordable in Manitoba.”
The PCs passed 28 bills in the spring, including a rush job to hike the minimum wage on Oct. 1.
The rules of the house allow the NDP to hold back five bills until the fall session.
The bills they designated range from amending Manitoba Hydro and Public Utilities Board legislation to allowing the use of cosmetic pesticides.
Bill 36, (Manitoba Hydro Amendment and Public Utilities Board Amendment Act), stabilizes Hydro and caps electricity rates, the PCs say.
The Protect the PUB coalition says it weakens the authority and oversight of the utilities board when it comes to setting electricity rates. It plans to fight the bill when it hits the committee stage this fall.
As of Tuesday, 42 presenters had registered to appear at the committee hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. The coalition hopes the government will withdraw the bill, as it did last year when it killed Bill 64, the unpopular Education Reform Act.
The PCs also have a bill in the works that would allow the social services appeal board to toss cases it deems trivial or vexatious, and would allow for appeals to be heard in writing, by phone or electronically.
Another bill prohibits a new resident who holds an international driver’s licence from driving a heavy vehicle or bus unless their licence is issued by a jurisdiction in Canada or the United States, and increases the amount of third-party liability insurance required to $500,000 from $200,000.
Bill 22, (Environment Amendment Act — Pesticide Restrictions) would allow pesticide use that had been banned under the former NDP government, but is approved by Health Canada.
The five bills the NDP selected to delay are not particularly top of mind with my voters, said PC backbencher James Teitsma. He cited Bill 22.
“When I tell them what’s being held up, I find them more frustrated than anything,” said Teitsma. “They would really like to control the weeds on their lawn. It seems the only thing stopping them from doing so this summer was the NDP.”
The final day of the session is Nov. 3.
A new session will kick off on Nov. 15 with a new lieutenant governor. Anita Neville will deliver the throne speech after being sworn in on Oct. 24, replacing Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.