NDP Block Pallister’s Bills to Cut Schools and Universities, Slash Pensions and Hurt Workers

March 11, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB—Today Wab Kinew’s NDP Official Opposition used procedural tactics in the House to block the Pallister Conservatives from introducing their harmful legislation and refused to allow the Finance Minister to read the Budget speech.

On Tuesday, the Pallister government put nearly twenty bills on notice in preparation for a legislative deadline that would allow all of those bills to be guaranteed to pass into law by June before Manitobans had a chance to review them. The NDP Official Opposition took today as the earliest opportunity to block the government from introducing the bills in the House.

“We were elected to do a job—stand up to Brian Pallister and stop his plan to hurt families and front line workers. 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,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

The bills include amendments to the Public Schools Act and the Public Schools Governance and Financing Act (as well as a repeal of the Public Schools Finance Board) ahead of Pallister’s review of public education, which is not set to be made public until late March.

Other bills blocked by the NDP include:

● Changes to the civil service pension plan;

● A weakening of the Public Utilities Board’s oversight on Crown Corporations and its ability to keep Hydro rates low;

● Value-for-money targets for universities that will lead to cuts to programs; and

● Making it easier for employers to attack worker’s representatives and collective bargaining.

The Official Opposition also prevented the Minister of Finance from reading the Budget speech in the House. The NDP House Leader made it clear that government is still able to table the Budget documents before the House, thereby releasing the lockups, and ensuring it will pass at the same time it always would. Yesterday, the NDP supported the government motion to fund $35 million for health care supplies in preparation for COVID-19.