Manitoba Opposition blocks the province from introducing new budget
WINNIPEG -- In a move the province is calling an "abuse of parliamentary privilege" Manitoba's opposition NDP has blocked the Pallister government from introducing the new budget and has refused Finance Minister Scott Fielding to read the budget speech.
Manitoba's 2020 budget was scheduled to be released on Wednesday afternoon but was delayed by what NDP leader Wab Kinew called "procedural tactics in the House" to block the budget.
"We were elected to do a job – stand up to Brian Pallister and stop his plan to hurt families and front line workers," said Kinew in a news release. "Today, and every day until the legislative deadline has passed, we will do everything possible to prevent the Pallister government from ramming through their harmful legislation."
Kinew said the NDP blocked nearly 20 bills that were put on notice on Tuesday, including amendments to the Public Schools Act and the Public Schools Governance and Financing Act.
Kinew later speaking to media said the province could have tabled the budget Wednesday without giving a budget speech.
"We are stopping their legislative agenda; you now have a very stubborn premier who is trying to withhold the budget from you,” Kinew said during.
PALLISTER CALLS NDP MOVE 'DISRESPECTFUL'
However, Premier Brian Pallister said the speech is part of the process.
“It’s important, I suppose, out of respect for the people of Manitoba. This has been the tradition for a long time. If there was a better way to present the budget, the NDP’s had ample opportunities to present alternative ideas for that and they haven’t," said Pallister.
"Until today, they didn’t demonstrate any understanding of the process, frankly. Today, they understand the process can be interrupted. Congratulations. That doesn’t serve the people of Manitoba very well. We’re going to follow the traditions of budget presentation that have parliamentary traditions for a long, long time.”
Pallister added he will have to cancel a trip scheduled for Thursday to Ottawa to meet with the prime minister. He wouldn't specify what was scheduled to be discussed with Justin Trudeau.
Pallister said what the NDP did was disrespectful to the people of Manitoba and he thinks the NDP is scared to debate bills which he claims they haven't read.
“They’re afraid to discuss a budget they have not seen. They’re afraid to have a debate that they know they cannot win.”
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said he does give credit to the NDP because he felt the PCs were introducing "a ton of bills that they wanted to basically smother."
“I don’t doubt for a moment this is going to be a crap budget from the PCs, but the fact is that both of these parties have shown complete contempt for each other and the democratic process," said Lamont.
BUDGET DELAY STEALS GOVERNMENT'S THUNDER: ANALYST
The NDP's move to block the budget is not uncommon, political analyst for Probe Research Mary Agnes Welch told CTV's Maralee Caruso on Wednesday.
"It happens, not all the time, but pretty regularly as sort of a tactic in the legislature," she said. "It tends to make reporters a little bit cranky because they are ready to unleash all the stories, it makes the government cranky because they are ready to unleash all of their announcements and all their budget details."
Welch said the province is in a holding pattern until the NDP decides to allow the budget to proceed. She said the NDP's move shifts the focus away from the government's announcements.
"It's to highlight certain issues (the NDP) wants and steal the governments thunder a little bit," Welch said. "It also has the effect of galvanising caucus a little bit."
The province said it is the government's intention to bring the budget forward in the legislature on Thursday.