NDP Holds Three More Pallister Government Bills To Allow Manitobans Greater Chance to Voice Concerns: Lindsey

The NDP is today forcing the Pallister government to hold three bills that have long-term negative impacts on Manitobans, MLA Tom Lindsey said. The bills would make it harder to vote in provincial elections; would weaken standards for the assessment of drinking water systems and protection of provincial watersheds; and would put the livelihoods of fishing communities at risk, Lindsey said.

“These are regressive pieces of legislation and it’s our responsibility to fight them,” Lindsey said. “We will do everything we can to convince the Pallister government to drop these bills and to give Manitobans time to voice their opinions and concerns.”

Bill 24, The Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act, permits the Pallister government to weaken the regulations surrounding assessment of drinking water systems that distribute and treat drinking water. Instead of requiring assessments of these systems once every five years, which is the recommendation of the Walkerton Inquiry and our current standard, these systems could be tested as infrequently as once every 10 years, Lindsey noted.

The bill also weakens environmental standards for how hog manure is managed, adding risk of added manure and nutrients hurting Lake Winnipeg, Lindsey said.

Bill 27, The Elections Amendment Act, makes it harder for people to vote who don’t have all the necessary ID. These new requirements would make it harder for vulnerable people, low-income people, seniors and those living in remote communities to vote, Lindsey said.

Bill 23, The Fisheries Amendment Act, takes Manitoba out of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation, which would make it more challenging for commercial fishers, particularly from isolated communities, to market their catch, Lindsey noted.

As well as the two latest bills, the NDP has also forced two other bills to be held until fall so that Manitobans can have a greater chance to voice their opinions. They are: Bill 30, The Local Vehicles for Hire Act; and Bill 31, The Advanced Education Administration Amendment Act.

All five bills were introduced by the Pallister government in the spring sitting of the legislature. Under new rules, the Official Opposition has the right to prevent up to five bills from going to a final vote until the fall sitting.