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NDPers to mull varied slate of issues

In resolutions for weekend convention

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/5/2013 (2281 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Rank-and-file NDPers will weigh in on issues as diverse as online gambling, adopting photo-ID health cards and the introduction of compulsory voting as they gather this coming weekend in Brandon.

The New Democratic Party has ruled the roost in Manitoba since 1999, winning majorities in the last four general elections, but recent polling shows its popularity may be on the wane.

Several hundred faithful will trek to Brandon's Keystone Centre for the three-day event that begins Friday evening and ends around noon Sunday.

The convention's resolution booklet contains more than 140 motions on topics ranging from school bullying and incentives for restoring wetlands to the expansion of all-weather roads and the twinning of Highway 59.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/5/2013 (2281 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Rank-and-file NDPers will weigh in on issues as diverse as online gambling, adopting photo-ID health cards and the introduction of compulsory voting as they gather this coming weekend in Brandon.

The New Democratic Party has ruled the roost in Manitoba since 1999, winning majorities in the last four general elections, but recent polling shows its popularity may be on the wane.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES
NDP members have submitted resolutions on topics ranging from online gaming to bullying.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES NDP members have submitted resolutions on topics ranging from online gaming to bullying.

Several hundred faithful will trek to Brandon's Keystone Centre for the three-day event that begins Friday evening and ends around noon Sunday.

The convention's resolution booklet contains more than 140 motions on topics ranging from school bullying and incentives for restoring wetlands to the expansion of all-weather roads and the twinning of Highway 59.

A resolution from party members in the Elmwood constituency shows not all NDPers endorse the Selinger government's recent initiatives to expand gambling in Manitoba.

It urges the government to instruct Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries to "cease and desist its online-gambling operations." Manitoba's first regulated online gambling site, PlayNow.Com, was launched in January. It's touted as a safe and secure way to plan online poker or roulette.

Since then — and well after the deadline for receipt of convention resolutions — the government decided to add up to 500 more VLTs, bringing the provincial total to 6,353.

Party members in the Minto area are pushing the government to begin adopting health cards that can be used as photo identification — at no charge to individuals. The motion's backers say many Manitobans don't possess valid photo ID and cannot afford the cost of other forms of photo identification. They argue the move will also protect against health-care fraud.

Another resolution from Elmwood New Democrats urges the Manitoba Legislative Assembly to strike an all-party committee to study compulsory voting. The movers say despite efforts to make it easier to cast ballots, "the health of our democratic system is failing because of extremely low voter-participation rates... "

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES
Premier Greg Selinger�s NDP looks poised to finally accept taxpayer funding for party operations.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Premier Greg Selinger�s NDP looks poised to finally accept taxpayer funding for party operations.

The government seems to be in tune with the party base with its introduction of Bill 18, the anti-bullying bill. No fewer than 14 constituency organizations and the party's youth wing have endorsed a resolution congratulating the government on the proposed Safe and Inclusive Schools Act. A resolution supporting the idea that gay-straight alliances be permitted in all schools receiving public funding has five co-sponsors.

Similarly, a resolution supporting proposed new Manitoba Hydro dams in the north is being moved by nine constituency associations and the party's youth wing.

While more than 140 resolutions are listed in the convention booklet, they won't all make it to the convention floor due to time constraints. The motions are prioritized in advance, although there are opportunities for delegates to convince the meeting to rank their favourites higher so they make the cut.

Notably, the convention's policy book is silent on the government's most controversial initiative this year — the decision to raise the provincial sales tax to eight per cent effective July 1. (However, there is a motion urging the government to consider removing the PST from the costs of bikes and bike equipment to encourage cycling.)

Also absent is a motion demanding the NDP accept government funding for party operations. The meeting erupted in anger a year ago when the NDP executive, under pressure from Premier Greg Selinger, failed to carry out a 2011 convention directive to accept taxpayer funding. The government hired an independent consultant to amend the process, and it now appears the party will accept the funds, which could amount to a quarter of a million dollars per year. The provincial Conservatives, however, have pointedly refused the handout.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

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.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 8:43 AM CDT: adds sidebar

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