We are pleased to report a temporary win on this issue! With a scant 48 hours notice to speakers, the committee hearing for this bill took place on May 11, 2017 at 6pm. President Chris Mravinec spoke to Bill 19 along with Kevin Rebeck (MFL) and four others. All presenters opposed the bill for varying reasons. These were former Hydro execs, retired engineers, and others that have been critics of the NDP’s handling of Hydro in the past. However, on this issue at least, we were in agreement. Bill 19 is not ready to be enacted into law!
The big surprise of the night was Steven Fletcher, PC MLA from Assiniboia, who effectively filibustered the whole committee meeting after the presentations. He is deeply opposed to the legislation and essentially used his parliamentary privilege to speak for 10 minutes on every clause in the legislation. The NDP caucus also assisted by raising objections of their own and giving him breaks between the 10 minute rounds. Mr. Fletcher made it clear he is prepared to continue his efforts to stop the Bill from passing so we are not sure where this will end up considering the current legislative session closes on June 1, 2017.
The committee will have to reconvene to get to a decision before Bill 19 can move to the third reading and become law. We don’t know when this will happen but will continue to track the issue and remain available to attend and defend on behalf of our members.