The Manitoba Legislature began its fall session this past Wednesday with a number of planned as well as some unforeseen items on the agenda which need to be dealt with in the coming weeks. The session began with the offering of a condolence motion on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the entire Manitoba Legislative Assembly. It has been more than 70 years since this type of condolence has been offered in the Legislature, so it was both a historic moment and one filled with a good deal of emotion as members offered tributes to the late monarch.
Many Manitobans will have noticed that with the passing of the Queen, a number of name changes related to government and institutions occurred automatically. For example, the Court of Queen’s Bench immediately became known and referenced as the Court of King’s Bench. However, there are many other things within Legislation that refer to Canada’s monarch being a Queen which do not change automatically and some of those changes will take place during the legislative sessions in the fall and winter.
There are two primary agenda items for the Manitoba Legislature in the next few weeks. There are scheduled votes on certain pieces of legislation that were held over from last fall, and the passage of the remaining budget items.
Certain pieces of legislation are, every year, carried over from the spring session of the Manitoba Legislature to the fall. Those bills will go to committee hearings and then be voted upon in early November. In addition, a number of steps need to happen to complete the provincial budget process. While the budget speech itself, outlining tax measures and spending plans, was passed in the spring, the detailed analysis of the budget is set to be completed over the next few weeks. This is a process that allows opposition members to ask specific questions about expenditures in government departments. All of this is intended to be completed early in November.
On October 24th, the Manitoba Legislature will hold a special ceremony to officially swear in Anita Neville as the new lieutenant governor of Manitoba. She replaces Her Honour Janice Filmon who has held the position of lieutenant governor since June of 2015, becoming one of the longest serving and most distinguished lieutenant governors in Manitoba history. This ceremony will be attended by elected officials, members of the judiciary and the Canadian Armed Forces, along with invited guests.
Also this fall, a by-election will be called to fill the vacant seat in the Winnipeg riding of Kirkfield Park. Together with the fall elections happening for municipal seats and for school trustee positions, there will be a number of election activities in the days ahead.
It is expected to be a busy fall legislative session. I look forward to updating you as the session progresses.