Prior to the legislature’s break for the fall, #Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative administration enacted a number of measures into law on Thursday night addressing anything from power to weeds. One bill that was ultimately enacted limits annual rate increases to a maximum and mandates debt reduction goals for Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro. The government claimed that the actions will enhance the utility’s financial stability while keeping increases realistic.
“This is about ensuring that there is rate certainty and not rate shock for Manitobans. It’s really, really important in this time in high inflation,” Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen said.
They said that the debt reduction goals will need bigger rate increases than required. Additionally, the measure grants the provincial cabinet new authority to establish guidelines for hearings conducted by the provincial regulator. That amounts to meddling in what is meant to be an impartial process. Another piece of legislation that was approved on Thursday lifts limitations on the use of cosmetic pesticides in select places, including residential lawns and public parks.
Municipalities have praised the action as necessary to combat weeds, while the government said that it is merely adhering to federal health requirements on pesticide use. But the NDP claimed that the modification might endanger people’s health. They claimed that larger rate increases than necessary would be needed to achieve the debt reduction goals. The legislation also gives the provincial government new power to set rules for hearings held by the provincial regulator. According to the NDP, that amounts to interfering with a procedure that is supposed to be impartial.
Thursday’s approval of another piece of legislation relaxes restrictions on the use of cosmetic pesticides in a few specific locations, such as private lawns and public parks. While the government claimed that the move is only being taken to comply with federal health regulations on the use of pesticides, municipalities hailed it as being required to eradicate weeds. The NDP, however, warned that the adjustment might put people’s health in jeopardy.
The Manitoba Law Reform Commission, a nonpartisan organization tasked with enhancing and modernizing provincial legislation, was given the responsibility of reviewing Lamont’s bill even though the government did not enact it. Early in the next year, the commission is anticipated to provide recommendations.
On Nov. 15, when the legislature will reconvene, the government will give its annual plans in a throne speech.
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