Update, 2:50 p.m.:
The Manitoba government was blocked again Thursday from introducing its budget.
For a second straight day, members of the Opposition New Democrats used delay measures to stall proceedings.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew offered a compromise, saying his party would let the Tory government introduce its budget if it agreed to not introduce bills, have question period or other matters.
Tory government house leader Kelvin Goertzen rejected the offer, and accused the Opposition of acting like a dictatorship.
-From the Canadian Press
Manitoba premier Brian Pallister says the provincial government is going to try to table the budget despite the opposition NDP’s stalling tactics.
Pallister told 680 CJOB that the NDP’s actions are “shameful,” but said the government is determined to present the budget regardless.
“I think the key point here is you don’t let the terrorists win.
“The fact of the matter is there’s a well-established parliamentary tradition in democracies all over the world that says the public gets to hear the budget speech and see the numbers at the same time. If they’re deprived of that opportunity… that’s simply wrong,” he said.
“We need to be acting with the priorities of Manitobans and Canadians in mind and not doing things like trying to blockade the work of our legislative assembly. That is irresponsible behaviour.”
The province had planned to table the 2020 budget Wednesday afternoon, but the opposition NDP used procedural tactics in the house to keep Pallister and the Progressive Conservatives from introducing what it called “harmful legislation.”
Pallister compared the move to NDP Leader Wab Kinew’s recent support for activists behind rail blockades, and called it an unprecedented and opportunistic move.
“I don’t remember in over 20 years of serving the people of Manitoba if I’ve ever seen anyone try to put the interests of their political party so clearly ahead of the interests of Manitobans,” he said. “The NDP is afraid to debate bills they haven’t even read.”
Despite his frustration with the opposition’s tactics, Pallister said he’s willing to give Kinew and the NDP the opportunity to voice their concerns in the interest of getting the budget introduced as soon as possible.
“The NDP has been using a stalling tactic which is called points of privilege,” he said.
“We’re going to give them 24/7 opportunity to actually keep talking about their points of privilege, starting today, if we can get agreement in the house.
“If they’re sincere and their points of privilege are as legitimate as they claim, then they’ll seize the opportunity… I’m doing that to make sure we get the priorities of Manitobans to the forefront as quickly as possible.”
The NDP’s focus has been on several bills that were slated to pass at the same time as the budget.
Earlier on Thursday, Kinew told 680 CJOB his party intends to keep stalling until a deadline next week that would force the province to wait until the fall to pass the bills.
He admitted, however, that the province could easily end the stalemate at any moment.
“There’s a set of magic words that the finance minister or anyone on the government side could say,” said Kinew.
“They can stand up at any moment and say, ‘I ask for leave to table the budget.’ We would say yes to that, and then magic happens and all of a sudden the budget gets released at that point.
“For us, this has never been about holding up the budget. It’s just that the government was trying to sneak through these 20 extra bills underneath the cover of the budget.”
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