It’s not unusual for the House of Assembly to pass an interim supply bill in March. What is unusual, says NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael, is for a government to have no other legislation prepared for debate. Currently in the House, MHAs are standing in succession to speak on a bill that every member will inevitably vote to support. Yesterday, members from both opposition parties decided they would no longer participate in what Michael describes as a “farce,” leaving Liberal MHAs as the only ones speaking.
Today in Question Period, St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers asked first about the provincial budget, noting that the federal government gave two weeks’ notice this year, and that other provinces give similar periods. She then moved to important, expected, and promised legislation that has so far not materialized.
“There are crucial issues facing the people of the province. For instance the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has been asking for over 2 years for legislation for Mandatory Reporting of Critical Incidences and Deaths.” She continued. “I ask the Minister, where is that legislation?”
NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael had other examples of legislation that should be the focus of House activity rather than the supply debate.
“Disability advocates have been asking for a new Buildings Accessibility Act for years. The current one has numerous gaps and is outdated. The Buildings Accessibility Advisory Board has made several recommendations to the Minister of Service NL,” she said.
“I ask the Minister, where is the amended Buildings Accessibility Act and the long overdue amended Residential Tenancies Act?”
Michael then asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs about the progress of the Trails Protection Act he said last December was vitally important.