The MLA for La Verendrye says the spring sitting of the Manitoba legislature was quite the learning experience. 

The spring sitting ended early Tuesday morning with MLAs working until after 1 am. As a new MLA, Konrad Narth says it was exciting for him to witness some of the strategic politics involved in debating the third reading of bills before they are given royal assent. 

"Everything being a new experience to me," says Narth, "I was there to partake in the entire show, so definitely willing to sit through the night, to see the process. So, it was exciting for me."

Narth says they went into the fall session shortly after the election and so there was not a lot of legislation brought forward. As a result, he feels the spring session was the first real one for the new government. And, Narth says it was exciting to see how the strategy of being effective opposition varies greatly from being in government. 

In looking back at the spring sitting, Narth says his greatest disappointment is how the NDP government decided to jam through legislation by an omnibus budget. He explains that we have a great system in Manitoba where bills and legislation have a public committee process which allows all Manitobans to have a say on each and every piece of legislation that is brought before the House. Narth says the only exception is when legislation is included within the budget. 

"This new government unfortunately decided to include a significant amount of legislation within the budget and that excluded Manitobans from having an opportunity to have a say in those bills," he adds. 

Narth says some of the legislation that was included in the budget had to do with new laws forcing workers to unionize and laws allowing the NDP to raise gas taxes behind closed doors and at the cabinet table without any transparency or accountability. 

Narth says other disappointments included government cuts to the summer green team program, the elimination of the school tax rebate and the plan to cancel the construction of nine new schools without any explanation.

As the infrastructure critic during the spring session, Narth says that is a portfolio that is near and dear to him, especially considering his former role in municipal politics. Narth says it is his opinion that southeastern Manitoba is one of the largest contributors to the growth of our province and as a result, there are demands for an increase in infrastructure spending. 

Narth says the five-year capital investment plan is something that was developed and fine-tuned over the last seven and a half years. He notes these are projects that are most important to the growth and prosperity of Manitoba. Yet, he says we are nearly halfway through 2024 and the NDP government has yet to make any commitment on the new five-year capital plan and there has been no action on projects moving forward. 

"I had highlighted to the provincial government some of the largest most important capital investment projects," says Narth. "As of yet, haven't gotten any confirmation on where they are at."

These projects include further development and expansion to Provincial Road (PR) 311 and 201, and paving PR 210 from Woodridge to Highway 12. 

"I look forward to working with the communities and bringing and showcasing the importance that those projects not only have to southeast Manitoba but to the prosperity of Manitoba as a whole," adds Narth. 

Meanwhile, Narth says he has concerns with Bill 208, which was passed this sitting. This is the Two-Spirit and Transgender Day of Visibility Act. Narth says his concern lies with a sub-clause included with this bill. For starters, he says this should only be a bill to declare a day of recognition. Instead, there are 11 sub-clauses. 

"My constituents have some concern around children in schools, in sub-clause eight, gaining agency over their lives and that it said, understand the concepts of gender expression and gender identity and appreciate the access to gender-affirming care," says Narth. 

The La Verendrye MLA says this sub-clause should rather be of larger public policy and not be included with this bill. For that reason, he voted against it. 

"Unfortunately, it seems to be a bit of a trend for this government to try to create division and as a result create deflection from the issues at hand. So, they created the hate and the perception of hate towards me and other MLAs," says Narth. "I'm not a hateful person, I'm inclusive of all Manitobans. My vote in opposition was as a result of it being passed third reading and the NDP wanting to create this uncomfortable division."