Kelvin Goertzen will be premier for about 60 days
By Diego Flammini
Manitoba has a new leader for the next two months.
Kelvin Goertzen was sworn in as the province’s 23rd premier on Wednesday following former premier Brian Pallister’s formal resignation.
Goertzen’s tenure as premier will end after the Oct. 30 Progressive Conservative leadership vote. And he plans to use his time as leader to position the party well for the future.
"I know that the role that I have is one that's primarily viewed as one of caretaker — a new premier will be selected for Manitobans in 60 days. But I also know that these are times that will still require significant decisions," he told reporters Sept. 1.
One of those decisions is to remove any remaining bills from the legislative agenda.
Five bills hadn’t been passed prior to Premier Pallister’s departure, with at least one affecting the ag sector.
Bill 57, the Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act, outlines penalties for people who choose to protest in areas considered critical infrastructure. And it allows owners or operators to apply for a court order to establish a protection zone which people would be prohibited from entering.
Agriculture and food production locations including meat processing facilities, feedlots and grocery stores are among the facilities considered critical infrastructure in the bill.
The other bills which won’t receive consideration include Bill 64, an education reform bill, Bill 35, which would have allowed the government to temporarily set electricity rates, and Bill 16, which would have removed arbitration requirements after a 60-day dispute between a union and employer.
Removing these bills give the new leader a fresh agenda upon his or her election.
“This really is about setting that clean slate for a leader; that’s really why it’s important to remove these five bills,” Goertzen said.
Farms.com has contacted Manitoba ag industry groups for comment on Bill 57’s removal from the provincial legislative agenda.