Thursday, June 28, 2007

When will the NB legislature break?

The past few years the legislature has sat until the very end of June, under threats of continuing into July, until a last minute deal has been cut to avoid returning to to the blistering hot, non-air conditioned chamber after Canada Day.

So, what is left on the legislative agenda?

The main estimates and a subsequent Appropriations Bill to authorize the government to keep spending money and operating must be passed by July 31, and have not made it through yet.

The bill to implement the income tax increases has not yet passed.

Other than that there is no business, but those are some pretty important pieces that need to pass before the House can break.

Also, the Telegraph-Journal reports today that Government House Leader Stuart Jamieson will be introducing some electoral reform bills today, including one that would provide financial incentives to parties who run a certain number of woman candidates. I do not think that that sort of quota system will solve the underlying problems that give us the disgraceful underrepresentation of women in our parliaments and am a bit dissapointed to see a move like this go forward if it actually does so.

UPDATE: It seems the Telegraph was misinformed as no reforms were introduced today. Debate on estimates has continued all day today after routine proceedings.

UPDATE 2: Seems I was careless, though no legislation was introduced, Jamieson did table the government plans in response to the Legislative Democracy Commission.

UPDATE 3: It is 3:10 p.m. and I am about to head away for the weekend. The legislature is still working on the Education Department estimates. After that they have some more departments and after that they need to pass an Appropriations Bill. They have now done about 160 hours on Estimates. Last year the Tories called the Liberals "obstructionist" for wasting the time of the House spending too much time on estimates. How much time was spent? 70 hours.

UPDATE 4: Today is July 4, the House continues to sit. I believe it is unprecedented for the House to sit in July on routine business. It has sat for the election of a Speaker and to deal with an urgent issue before. The budget was introduced two weeks earlier this year than it had been under the Tories. The House has been sitting until 10 p.m. as opposed to 6 p.m. as it was under the Tories. Yet the budget debate drags on. Why? Charles LeBlanc advises that the House will adjourning Friday. If so, then the Tories will have dragged out debate 3 weeks longer than the Liberals did and those weeks each contained an extra 9 hours of debating time. Yet some how the Tories are a cooperative and collaborative opposition and the Liberals in opposition held things up so long that the government proposed a complete inversion of the rules to curtail debate. What a joke. (It should be noted that the rule changes the Liberals now propose were the most moderate fourth rule change suggestion the Tories brought forward, the Liberals have not resurrected the first three more draconian proposals.)


Anonymous said...

At least the new rules will make things work better next session.

Charles LeBlanc said...

The Leg will break this Friday....