Academic journal article Canadian Parliamentary Review

Manitoba

Academic journal article Canadian Parliamentary Review

Manitoba

Article excerpt

Speech from the Throne

The Third Session of the 40th Legislature began on November 12, 2013 with the presentation of the NDP government's 17th Speech from the Throne. Delivered by Lieutenant Governor Phillip Lee, the address highlighted a range of government commitments and proposals, including:

--Strong infrastructure to grow Manitoba's economy--a new five-year, $5.5 billion plan focused on core, strategic economic infrastructure will build Manitoba's road and bridges, flood protection and municipal infrastructure like water and sewer;

--Better and streamlined tax credits for employers to take on more apprentices, and new tools to help match apprentices with job openings;

--A new grant program for young entrepreneurs in technology-based start-ups and access to better resources for young people in skilled trades wanting to start their own business;

--New schools for growing neighbourhoods;

--New Churchill transportation authority to diversify and market the port to attract investment and develop opportunities in the north;

--New child-care centres to give parents more convenient options for care;

--More health professionals to help family doctors' offices take on new patients, expansion of care options for cancer patients and building more clinics for families to conveniently access the care they need; and

--Expansion of Manitoba Hydro energy-efficiency incentives to lower-income renters.

Reply to the Speech From The Throne

Official Opposition Leader Brian Pallister's non-confidence amendment to the Address in Reply motion noted a number of shortcomings in the speech and in the government's performance, including:

--Ignoring both the will of Manitobans and the law by choosing to raise the Provincial Sales Tax by one per cent from seven to eight per cent;

--Failing to respect the rule of law and the democratic right of Manitobans by raising major taxes without a referendum and exempting Ministers from established salary penalties during deficit periods;

--Continuing to impose taxes on Manitobans at a lower level of income than what is found in all but two provinces, and failing to provide an increase in the basic personal income tax exemption to the national provincial average;

--Failing to protect the most vulnerable Manitobans by refusing to raise the rental allowance portion of employment and income assistance to 75 per cent of median market rents; and

--Failing to follow through on past commitments of numerous core infrastructure projects.

Following the defeat of Mr. Pallister's amendment on November 21, 2013 by a vote of yeas 18, nays 34; on November 22 the main motion carried on a vote of yeas 35, nays 17.

Legislation

As a result of the Sessional Order adopted on September 11, 2013, the fall session dealt with the remaining legislative stages of 35 reinstated government bills from the 2nd Session. In late November, the House debated numerous Report Stage Amendments moved by all parties to 15 separate bills and saw the passage of 10 amendments affecting seven government bills.

As well, this fall session saw the introduction of 19 bills and the passage of one government bill, all addressing a variety of governance areas including:

--Bill 2--The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Safety of Workers in Highway Construction Zones), which increases the additional fine to $7.70 per kilometre per hour of excess speed regardless of whether workers are present or equipment is being used in any construction zone that is signed in accordance with the regulations. …

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