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This article was published 25/7/2013 (3261 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Selinger government came oh so close to receiving final legislative approval Thursday for an emergency-supply bill that would allow it to continue to pay its bills in August.
By late afternoon, Bill 48 had passed third reading in the Manitoba legislature. But the government said when it offered to sit late -- beyond 5 p.m. -- so Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee could give the bill royal assent, the Tories refused.
That means the government will try once again to have the bill declared law on Monday, when the legislature next sits.
The Selinger government has said if the interim supply bill is not approved by the end of the month, the province risks being unable to pay health-care workers and civil servants, beginning next month.
The bill would provide the government with funding authority for about 65 per cent of its annual operating budget -- up to $7.7 billion -- as well as money for capital projects. That would be enough to keep the government running until late fall.
The government introduced the interim supply bill this week because its budget-implementation legislation remains stalled in the house due to Conservative opposition to raising the retail sales tax. Indeed, the Tories have managed to hold up passage of every other government bill introduced since the session resumed April 16 -- also largely in protest of the PST hike.
Late Thursday, government house leader Jennifer Howard condemned the Conservatives for twice voting against Bill 48, whose only purpose is to keep the government running during the legislative impasse.
"Let's be clear about what they voted against (in second and third reading): They voted against the ability of the government to continue to fund the programs and services that Manitobans count on next week and next month," she said.
Howard said Bill 48 could easily have become law Thursday.
"The lieutenant-governor was here. They (the Tories) kept him waiting around all afternoon and then they didn't agree to sit for (an extra) 10 minutes to give royal assent," she said.
Howard said the government will attempt to arrange final approval for the bill Monday, but there's no guarantee the Tories won't continue to block it.
Tory Leader Brian Pallister brushed aside the notion Thursday that the province is near a financial crisis. He reiterated his party would not prevent public servants from being paid.
At the same time, he made it clear nothing this legislative session will come easily for the NDP because of the PST fight.
"We're not here to approve the government's agenda. The government's on the wrong track," Pallister said.