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Manitoba.

The House rose from the 3rd session of the 39th Legislature on October 8, 2009. A number of government bills passed and received Royal Assent this session, including:

* Bill 9--The Social Work Profession Act, which replaces the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers Incorporation Act, and provides for the regulation of the social work profession.

* Bill 16--The Police Services Act, which would introduce civilian oversight and an independent investigation unit.

* Bill 35--The Municipal Conflict of Interest and Campaign Financing Act, which included the following provisions:

** Making the annual statements of assets and interests filed by municipal councillors under The Municipal Council Conflict of Interest Act available for public inspection;

** Governing election campaign financing for municipalities outside Winnipeg; and

** Amending the election campaign financing regime for the City of Winnipeg.

On September 24, 2009 the Leader of the Official Opposition Hugh McFadyen moved the following Opposition Day Motion:
 THAT the Legislature ask the
 Government House Leader to
 call a meeting of the Standing
 Committee on Legislative
 Affairs as soon as possible to
 consider the Annual Report
 of Elections Manitoba for the
 year ending December 31, 2003,
 which deals with certain matters
 arising from the 1999 general
 election, and that the Legislative
 Assembly of Manitoba call witnesses,
 including Tom Milne,
 David Asselstine and other
 relevant witnesses to testify at
 the committee, and to compel
 production of documents and
 records in the possession of any
 witnesses, and have the committee
 continue to meet without
 time limit until all outstanding
 questions are answered regarding
 the 2003 annual report.


After two hours of debate on this issue, the House defeated the motion on a recorded vote of Yeas 15, Nays 29.

On October 8, 2009 the House agreed to extend the reporting deadline for the Special Committee on Senate Reform to allow further time for the drafting of the final report. On November 9, 2009 the Committee met and, after some discussion, agreed on division to adopt a report and submit it to the Speaker for tabling in the House.

Committee Activity

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts met on several occasions in September and October to consider reports from the Auditor General covering a range of topics including:

* First Nation Gaming Accountability

* Audit of Workplace Safety and Health

* Compliance with Oil and Gas Legislation

* Image Campaign for the Province of Manitoba

* Employment and Income Assistance Program

* Investigation of Maintenance Branch of the Manitoba Housing Authority

* Audit of the Child and Family Services Division Pre-Devolution Child in Care Processes and Practices

* Property Transactions in the Seven Oaks School Division

* Examination of the Crocus Investment Fund

In light of recent allegations made by a former external consultant to Manitoba Hydro, on October 21, 2009 Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk announced a government request for the Office of the Auditor General to conduct a special audit of Manitoba Hydro's risk management. In response to the suggestion that her time on the Manitoba Hydro Board of Directors prior to her appointment as Auditor might possibly be seen as a potential conflict of interest, Auditor General Carol Bellringer made a statement at the October 21, 2009 Public Accounts meeting detailing a number of safeguards her office will be implementing for this audit to avoid perceptions of conflict of interest. The safeguards include seeking out a former Legislative Auditor from another jurisdiction to oversee the entire process. The audit continues to receive public attention.

The Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs met in October to consider the Report and Recommendations of the Judicial Compensation Committee dated June 25, 2009. The Standing Committee on Crown Corporations met in November to consider outstanding reports from Manitoba Hydro.

New Premier Cabinet Changes

On August 27, 2009 Premier Gary Doer announced his resignation after ten years in that office. The following day Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Mr. Doer as Canada's next Ambassador to the United States. On October 8, 2009, Premier Doer's last day in the House, Members paid tribute to him with speeches and by singing a traditional Ukrainian song of salute.

Three cabinet Ministers resigned their positions to run in the leadership race to succeed Mr. Doer, Steve Ashton, Greg Selinger and Andrew Swan.

On October 19, 2009 Mr. Selinger was sworn in as the 22nd Premier of Manitoba. On November 3, 2009 the new Premier announced a cabinet shuffle, making a number of changes to the Executive Council including installing three new Ministers:

* Jennifer Howard, Minister of Labour and Immigration and Minister responsible for persons with disabilities

* Bill Blaikie, Minister of Conservation and Government House Leader

* Flor Marcelino, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism

Other changes to the cabinet included:

* Rosann Wowchuk, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier

* Andrew Swan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General

* Stan Struthers, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives

* Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister of Housing and Community Development

* Eric Robinson, Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, and Deputy Premier

* Steve Ashton, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation

* Jim Rondeau, Minister of Healthy Living, Citizenship and Youth Peter Bjornson, Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade

* Dave Chomiak, Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines

* Nancy Allan, Minister of Education

* Ron Lemieux, Minister of Local Government

The Fourth session of the 39th Legislature began on November 30, 2009 with a Speech from the Throne.

Rick Yarish

Clerk Assistant/Clerk of Committees
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Title Annotation:Legislative Reports
Author:Yarish, Rick
Publication:Canadian Parliamentary Review
Date:Dec 22, 2009
Words:880
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