back for a day
Whirlwind session mops up procedural details, debates hydroelectric
By Dan Lett
Winnipeg Free Press
See you in September.
The Manitoba legislature reconvened yesterday for a whirlwind,
one-day session to mop up procedural issues and hold an
emergency debate on mad cow disease.
All parties in the legislature agreed to the one-day session
to give MLAs and their families time to recover from the
33-day provincial election campaign, which concluded June
Premier Gary Doer said he would reconvene the legislature
in early September to complete the budget approval process
and introduce a legislative agenda.
Lieutenant-governor Peter Liba delivered a hasty speech
from the throne which did little more than remind the legislature
of the result of the election and the NDP's five-point campaign
platform. The NDP expects to unveil a much more detailed
speech from the throne in November.
On behalf of the government, Liba identified the future
of the Port of Churchill, mad cow disease and an uncertain
international economy as issues of concern to the NDP government.
The construction of additional hydro electric generating
dams in northern Manitoba was identified as one of the most
exciting opportunities the government is pursuing.
Yesterday did provide the opportunity to officially swear
MLAs into office. Only 54 of the 57 MLAs attended yesterday's
Minnedosa Tory MLA Leanne Rowat was declared the winner
after a judicial recount last week but must complete a five-day
appeal period before she can be sworn in. A recount in Fort
Garry, where NDP candidate Kerri Irvin-Ross defeated incumbent
Tory Joy Smith by 84 votes, is taking place this week in
Winnipeg. Tory MLA John Loewen (Fort Whyte) could not attend.
MLAs also elected NDP MLA George Hickes (Point Douglas)
as speaker of the legislature. Hickes has been speaker since
1999, when the NDP was returned to power after 11 years
The April budget, which was approved by the legislature
the day before the provincial election was called, was reintroduced
to allow for completion of the estimates process. In estimates,
MLAs are given the opportunity to examine the budget of
each department of government, line-by-line. Government
does not have full spending authority until the estimates
are passed by the legislature.
Former premier Gary Filmon recalled the house for one day
in 1991 to debate an amendment to the Environment Act.
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