NEWS

Time limits slapped on debates in B.C. legislature

05/31/2012 10:21 EDT | Updated 07/31/2012 05:12 EDT

The B.C. government is invoking time limits to end debate and adjourn the legislature Thursday after a four-month spring session.

Liberal House Leader Rich Coleman reeled off a long list of bills Wednesday — including some major legislation — that will get as little as 30 minutes or as much as an hour’s debate before they're put to a vote.

Coleman said four bills will not be completed, but the time limit means a major bill involving the province's return to the seven-per-cent provincial sales tax by next April will pass, as will a bill to amend drunk-driving laws.

The government was forced to make the change after the Opposition New Democrats chose to hold up debates, Coleman said.

NDP House Leader John Horgan bristled at the suggestion his members dragged matters out.

"Poppycock," Horgan said. "And the notion that the NDP orchestrated closure is poppycock as well."

The NDP, in turn accused the Liberals of stacking the legislative agenda, with 14 bills introduced in May alone, but not leaving enough time to ensure important laws receive full and fair scrutiny.

Four other bills will remain on the order paper and will not pass this spring, including the controversial Animal Health Act.

"That strikes me as chaos and confusion, not orderly government, not good management, and it's atrocious in my view,” Horgan said.

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