Manitoba’s official opposition blocked the Pallister government from introducing its new budget Wednesday.
In a release from the Manitoba NDP sent Wednesday afternoon the party said it was using “procedural tactics” in the house to keep the PCs “from introducing their harmful legislation.”
The action means Manitoba’s Finance Minister wasn’t able to read the budget speech 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,” said NDP Leader, Wab Kinew, in the 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.”
Manitoba’s 2020-21 fiscal plan was to be delivered Wednesday afternoon, but the New Democrats ate up the clock by raising matters of privilege in the legislature chamber.
One by one, various NDP members of the legislature stood up, talked very slowly, and complained about a variety of issues.
Kinew said his caucus is also working to block some 20 bills the Progressive Conservative government is planning to pass before the summer break.
Kinew said he’s standing up for families who may be hurt by the Tory government’s cost-cutting agenda.
Government house leader Kelvin Goertzen called on the NDP to apologize to members of the public who had come to hear the budget’s contents.
But Kinew told media the PCs could have stood up on a point of order at any time and presented the budget.
Media and interest groups were provided the contents of the budget earlier in the day, but are not being allowed to reveal it until the document is presented in the chamber.
The NDP said the PCs would still be able to table the budget documents before the house, meaning it can pass at the same time it would have otherwise.
A statement sent to media from the Manitoba Government around 4:20 p.m. said the government would bring the budget and budget speech forward again on Thursday if it couldn’t be considered as scheduled Wednesday.
“The official Opposition have indicated its intent to prevent the budget and budget speech from being considered by the Manitoba legislative assembly as scheduled this afternoon,” reads the statement.
“This is an abuse of parliamentary privilege and is very disrespectful to the guests and media who have come to the legislature for the presentation of Budget 2020.”
After the house was adjourned at 5 p.m., Premier Pallister spoke to media, calling NDP’s tactic’s “disrespectful.”
“They’re afraid to debate bills they have not 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,” he said.
“If this budget was anything but good news for Manitobans, they wouldn’t have delayed it, would they?
“It’s a great budget and the NDP’s delay tactics show that their priority is attention-seeking behaviour, not the priorities of Manitoba.”
Pallister said they will follow tradition and table the budget Thursday, along with a speech by finance minister Scott Fielding.
–With files from the Canadian Press