POLITICS

Manitoba legislature sitting finally drawing to an end; tax debate continues

09/11/2013 12:46 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST
WINNIPEG - The longest sitting of the Manitoba legislature in 30 years is expected to end by Friday.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives prolonged the session by stalling dozens of bills, including one to increase the provincial sales tax to eight per cent from seven.

Tory Leader Brian Pallister says he feels his party did the right thing by fighting the increase, which went against the NDP government's campaign promises in 2011.

The Tories and NDP struck a deal recently to put off the tax bill and many others until November.

In exchange, the Tories have agreed to let the bills come to a final vote before the end of the year.

But Pallister says the fight will not be over, because his party will push ahead with a court challenge against the PST increase.

Under the province's balanced budget law, the sales tax cannot be increased without a referendum.

The NDP government has introduced a bill that would simultaneously raise the tax and eliminate the need for a referendum.

The government has said the manoeuvre is legal and the tax will raise money needed for infrastructure and front-line services.