NDP Oppose Pallister’s Bad Bills in Late Sitting of the Manitoba Legislature

June 1, 2018

In a sitting that ran into the early hours of Friday morning at the Manitoba Legislature, NDP members opposed several bills put forward by the Pallister government that move Manitoba in the wrong direction.

The NDP noted serious issues with several bills, including:

  • Bill 10, The Boards, Committees, Councils and Commissions Streamlining Act which eliminates several bodies that provided guidance and advice to government on issues essential to Manitobans, like post-secondary education, restorative justice, and worker safety;

  • Bill 19, The Planning Amendment Act, that initially contained measures that would harm local news outlets and detract from Manitoban’s access to information about their local government until they were pulled at the 11th-hour after extensive pressure from the NDP and community groups like the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. However, the amended bill still contains measures that will expand the number of hog barns in Manitoba, which was noted by many Manitobans as concerning.

  • Bill 3, The Canadian Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act that fails to include provisions that would allow Manitoba Hydro to prioritize the hiring of local businesses in their tendering process, putting them at risk, while several other provinces, like Saskatchewan, Quebec, New Bunswick, Newfoundland, and BC have put this protection in place;

  • Bill 4, The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act that allows elected officials to change parties after being elected and violate the will of their constituents to elect a representative of a particular party.

“The government’s legislative agenda this session was disappointingly bad. This sitting we saw the government prioritize bills that would allow lawyers to add an honorific to their titles, and for cabinet ministers to get payouts after they leave office. The families I speak to in Manitoba aren't asking for that - they want smaller class sizes and for emergency rooms to stay open,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

The sitting would have gone even later had Kinew not previously announced the most harmful bills introduced this session that would be delayed until the fall, in accordance with the rules of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. They are:

  • Bill 8, which would badly hurt local newspapers and Manitoban’s ability to stay informed by removing several requirements for governments to post notices in their local newspapers;

  • Bill 12, which would strip renters of their right to object to unjustified rent increases;

  • Bill 16, which would impose an ineffective and costly carbon tax on Manitobans with no plan to reinvest in our economy or help people transition to greener lifestyles;

  • Bill 24, which would prevent Manitobans who appear before the Social Services Appeal Board to seek a review of decisions made on their EIA, rent assist, and disability payments or other matters based on violations of their Charter rights;

  • Bill 27, which would let cabinet ministers get lump-sum paybacks of salary that was deducted because of deficits in their department if the government is able to balance the budget by 2024-25. The payback would take place even if the current government falls, or if a current minister is shuffled or leaves office.

Manitobans will have an opportunity to voice their opposition to these bills when the Legislature resumes sitting in the fall. A neat bit of trivia - whenever Manitobans view the flashing light on the roof of the Legislative Building, the House is sitting late and they are invited to attend in the public gallery.

A summary of the schedule of the bill votes is below:

Bill 5, The Public Interest Disclosure Amendment Act - 4:10 PM

Bill 3, The Canadian Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act - 5:25 PM

Bill 4, The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act - 6:50 PM

Bill 6, The Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act - 7:05 PM

Bill 9, The Community Child Care Standards Amendment Act - 7:20 PM

Bill 10, The Boards, Committees, Councils, and Commissions Streamlining Act - 8:36 PM

Bill 11, The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act - 8:48 PM

Bill 14, The Traffic and Transportation Modernization Act - 9:00 PM

Bill 17, The Drivers and Vehicles Amendment and Highway Traffic Amendment Act - 9:20 PM

Bill 19, The Planning Amendment Act - 10:35 PM

Bill 20, The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act - 10:43 PM

Bill 22, The Queen’s Counsel Act - 11:26 PM

Bill 25, The Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Amendment Act - 11:48 PM

Bill 26, The Impaired Driving Offences Act - 12:03 AM