Manitoba's NDP Government To End Legislature Sitting Without Introducing A Single Bill
WINNIPEG - Politicians are known as legislators and sit in legislatures, so you might expect them to introduce and debate legislation.
But in Manitoba this fall, you'd be wrong.
The NDP government is scheduled to wrap up the fall sitting of the legislature Tuesday without introducing a single bill. The politicians are not expected to reconvene until spring.
The sitting was even moved up one month from its traditional mid-November start time — not because there was any pressing legislation, but because the government wanted to outline its plans for the coming year in a throne speech, Premier Greg Selinger said.
"We were eager to get on with implementing our election commitments," Selinger said Monday.
"So for us, coming back and encapsulating in a throne speech the things that we ran on, was our way ... to get rolling on the things that we talked about, such as building Manitoba Hydro and investing in the economy, such as moving forward on health care."
The government announced several initiatives, including $120 million over the next four years for medical equipment. It also announced plans to limit class sizes to 20 pupils from kindergarten to Grade 3.
Those announcements could have been made without having the legislature in session, Selinger admitted, but having the throne speech in place helped set the tone.
"The throne speech allows you to set the table for what happened in the election (campaign) and gives some early direction to things we're doing."
The opposition disagreed, and accused the government of trying to make the fall sitting quick and painless.
"I think it's indicative of how anxious the NDP was to get members in and then out," Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said.
The sitting followed the Oct. 4 election that saw the NDP given a fourth consecutive mandate. The party formed one of the biggest majorities in Manitoba history, with 37 of the 57 legislature seats.
The Opposition Tories won 19 seats, prompting McFadyen to announce on election night his plan to step down as soon as the party chooses a new leader.
The Liberals, who garnered just one seat, will also be searching for a new leader. Jon Gerrard said recently he will stay on only until the party's next leadership convention, expected in the spring of 2013.