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This article was published 16/4/2018 (679 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The provincial government has delayed scrapping the longstanding requirement of posting government notices in newspapers.
That's delayed, not withdrawn.
Sports, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox acknowledged in an interview Monday the province could choose to reverse its field again and eliminate the requirement at any time.
On the other hand, the requirement could be there forever, she said.
"We're leaving it open."
Cox said her major concern with the proposed plan to remove notices from newspapers is the lack of internet connectivity across northern Manitoba, which the province and Ottawa plan to rectify over the next five years with a $60-million project to improve communication services.
Cox told a community newspapers event Saturday she has decided to backtrack on bills 8 and 19, which would have amended two-dozen bills to remove the requirement to publish government notices in newspapers.
Instead, newspapers would still be an option. Bill 8 deals with the modernization of government notices and Bill 19 is about planning changes would emphasize that notices of public business from planning matters to environmental hearings to boundary changes to human rights complaints be posted online.
"We're delaying. There's more work that needs to be done," the minister said.
"We're very sincere in saying we're not ready. We moved too quickly. We're going to wait until we get more connectivity."
The provincial government will still proclaim parts of the legislation which cover operations of the Queen's printer and which will make The Manitoba Gazette available online for free, Cox said, noting her decision had nothing to do with the loss of revenue to community newspapers if she pulled the government notices. "
It's not about revenue, it's about listening to Manitobans," she said.
Winnipeg Free Press publisher Box Cox applauded the minister's decision.
"I am glad the government is taking more time to consider the matter of public notices and how they should be done in the 21st Century," he said Monday.
In the legislature, New Democrat James Allum accused the minister of using the possibility of proclaiming the elimination of the requirement as a threat against media.
"The right thing for her to do is withdraw both of those bills," Allum said. "They continue to hold a hammer over local media."