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Manitoba Liberals Call for All-Party Agreement to Bring Back Full-Time Legislature

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberals are calling for the Legislature to go back to sitting Monday to Thursday during June to make up time that's been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Since being shut down in March, the Legislature has only been able to sit once a week, on Wednesdays.

Manitoba Liberal House Leader and MLA for River Heights Jon Gerrard said that shows the Legislature can keep working with COVID-19 imposed physical distancing and sanitation requirements - but to be effective, it needs to go back to work full-time.

"We have seven weeks of work to make up, and unless we go back with more sitting days, it is not going to get done," said Gerrard. "We should be sitting in June and September to make sure that the PCs have to justify and defend their agenda in public."

The current one-day sitting means that debate, questions on bills, public input on committees, and the 100 hours of direct questioning of the Premier and Ministers have all been put off.

Gerrard said the Manitoba Liberals, NDP and PCs have shown the Legislative session can work with one third of MLAs in the Chamber. Procedures are almost ready for a process that could combine one-third of the MLAs sitting in the Chamber with the other two-thirds participating virtually.

Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface said the PCs can't demand reopening and shame workers while refusing to go back to work themselves.

"Too many decisions are being made behind closed doors, and if this government wants to get things done, they have to do it publicly," said Lamont.


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