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Sitting ends with passage of MLA rules

The legislature ended its spring sitting with the most heated unanimous vote in recent memory.

The legislature ended its spring sitting with the most heated unanimous vote in recent memory.

The legislature rose yesterday on a contentious note after a disputed but still unanimous vote on passing new rules to clean up the MLA expense system.

Tory Cecil Clarke railed at length against the NDP for refusing to adopt opposition amendments to the bill. Clarke said he still supported the bill as a step forward, but it wasn’t as strong as it should have been.

“They just came in in the last 48 hours and put the wood to the opposition parties and didn’t give a damn about any constructive aspects that we would offer, and unfortunately the process has been bastardized as a result,” said Clarke.

A Liberal amendment would have created a code of ethics. Tory amendments would have shifted power away from cabinet toward the overall house of assembly.

Premier Darrell Dexter said his party will consider adding a code of ethics at a later session, but said the Tory amendments were rejected because they only first saw them Monday.

“If you want to be considered seriously, then I think you have to share things in a time that allows people to give due consideration,” said Dexter.

“And some of them, quite frankly, we didn’t think made sense.”

After 32 days the legislature passed a total of 29 bills, ranging from a ban on pesticides to tripling the cap on automobile insurance.

The most important piece of legislation was this year’s provincial budget, which included a $222-million deficit and a controversial two-point raise in the HST.

The budget also included a massive capital spending plan, reduced public pension benefits to erase a large unfunded liability and removed the provincial tax from diapers and feminine hygiene products.

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