MB politicians set to pass host of laws before heading into election

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Manitoba politicians are working to pass many bills into law by Thursday — the last scheduled sitting before the summer break and the provincial election slated for Oct. 3.

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Aside from its recently passed budget legislation, the Progressive Conservative government is also set to give First Nations communities more power to enforce laws and collect unpaid fines.

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Other bills that have passed in recent days or are about to pass include one that would make it easier for victims of sue people who share intimate images without consent.

Several bills from opposition parties are also set to be approved in final votes this week, including one from the New Democrats that would require most businesses to let delivery persons use their washrooms, except where there are safety concerns.

There is also a bill to create a specialty license plate to raise money for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

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More than a half-dozen opposition bills, which need support from the majority Tory government, are set to pass in all. The government said it’s a sign of unprecedented co-operation.

“The media will sometimes say it’s combative and we never agree on anything,” Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen said.

“There’s a lot of stuff that happens behind the scenes.”

The Opposition New Democrats said the Tories have only recently been willing to compromise with an election looming in the fall.

“I’ve been the (NDP) house leader for six years and I’ve never seen the government this willing to come to the table to negotiate any bills,” New Democrat Nahanni Fontaine said.

Also expected to pass is a Liberal bill that would require details about personal care homes, such as descriptions of incidents of abuse or neglect, to be posted on a government website.

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Many other bills, however, are not set to come to a final vote and will be terminated.

The NDP used its parliamentary authority to hold back five government bills, including one aimed at allowing more private liquor sales.

Another bill headed for the dustbin would have established licensing and regulations for safe drug consumption sites and other treatment facilities. The NDP and other critics said the bill was designed to make it too cumbersome for any safe consumption sites to operate.

The Tories blocked several opposition bills, including one that would make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 — also known as Orange Shirt Day — a statutory holiday.

The Manitoba government has said for more than a year that it continues to consult business groups and Indigenous leaders on the idea. Some other jurisdictions, such as the federal government and British Columbia, have already declared the day a statutory holiday.

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