While the flood forecast was fairly mild, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler had much stronger words for opposition politicians Wednesday, namely independent MLA Steven Fletcher.
Fletcher stalled the passing of an interim supply bill in the house last week that could prevent the government from spending money on flood protection, Schuler said.
"We are here to do what’s best for all Manitobans and I take my duties very seriously as the minister responsible for emergency measures. I take that so seriously that when there’s bad news, I don’t sleep at night," he told reporters.
"As should all 57 members of the legislature. We all have a part to play... This was absolutely uncalled for and he knew exactly what he was doing," Schuler said of Fletcher running out the clock on house debate March 21.
“That is irresponsible behaviour by an elected official... (when) we are in the beginnings of what could be a serious flood."
The minister noted the province would take "whatever measures are necessary" to ensure Manitobans are safe come flood season, regardless if it passed its money bill. Asked how he could make sure that happened without access to government coffers, Schuler said: "Just watch us." (Alluding to a famous Pierre Elliott Trudeau quote from a media scrum during the October Crisis in 1970.)
In all likelihood, the interim supply bill will pass next week, when the house resumes sitting after spring break.
Fletcher only has about 10 minutes left to speak to the bill, Schuler noted.
The independent MLA (who was expelled from the Tory caucus in 2017) has refused to shoulder the blame for the government's inability to pass the interim supply bill. In a news release last week, Fletcher called the government's assertion it may not meet payroll for civil servants after April 1 due to the bill stalling "incredible."
"The government, leaving it to the last moment, the day before spring break, simply demonstrates the arrogant incompetence that has so quickly infiltrated the leadership of this government," Fletcher said.
"Normally, it takes at least 10 years before they reach the lows they are now displaying." (The Tories were elected in 2016.)
The provincial NDP also stalled house proceedings for two days before the spring session break, with numerous matters of privilege and points of order that further delayed debate.
— Jessica Botelho-Urbanski