March 30, 2020

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After NDP filibuster, Tories to introduce budget Thursday

Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding tried to table the budget last week. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)</p>

Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding tried to table the budget last week. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)

Finance Minister Scott Fielding is expected to finally introduce his budget on Thursday — more than a week later than he had planned.

The NDP stalled the operations of the legislature for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, raising matters of privilege and challenging rulings by the Speaker in a bid to prevent the government from introducing bills.

Fielding was set to introduce his budget on March 11, but the NDP blocked it with procedural manoeuvres.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said his party was not targeting the budget so much as some of the approximately 20 bills the government intended to introduce on the same day.

He contended the bills would hurt workers, students, schools and families.

Under the rules of the Manitoba legislature, bills not introduced by March 18 are not assured of passage by June 1, when the legislature is scheduled to break for the summer.

The rules also allow the Opposition to designate five bills of their choice to be held over till the fall.

Government house leader Kelvin Goertzen said Wednesday the government intended to introduce the budget on Thursday if it couldn't that day.

In an interview Wednesday, Kinew said the Opposition would not stand in the government's way.

"We were just trying to hold those bills long enough so Manitobans had a good opportunity to review them" once concern about the pandemic has subsided, he said.

Kinew said he hoped the government has used the last week to make adjustments to the budget to deal properly with the coronavirus emergency.

Manitobans will be looking for greater health funding as well as measures to provide them with more financial security, he said.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont called on the government to announce what investments it will make in health and emergency support for workers and businesses.

He said the budget the Progressive Conservatives were about to introduce last week is "effectively obsolete" at this point.

While Ottawa announced a support package on Wednesday, the feds cannot go it alone, and the province must do its part, Lamont said,

"There are a ton of small businesses and workers... who need to know what's going to happen, and that's not happening right now," he said.

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography


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