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MLAs quit early on first day of brief sitting

The first sitting of the Legislature since May ended earlier than expected today with the NDP refusing to help the Liberals accelerate their economic legislation through the house.

“I would have thought with a relatively short session we could have got to the initial second reading debate as quickly as possible,” said government house leader Michael de Jong speaking with reporters. “I would hope the opposition would have more important things on its mind then dragging things out or procedural shenanigans.”

Acts normally get their second reading and debate the day after they are introduced, but they can be moved faster if the opposition agrees.

“They know the rules,” said NDP house leader Mike Farnworth. If the government was in such a hurry, he said, they could have kept the schedule that had the session starting on October 6 or they could have recalled the Legislature last month when premier Gordon Campbell gave his speech saying he wanted to focus on economic issues.

“Instead the government goes into hibernation for 28 days,” he said. “Now, today they say they want to debate it this afternoon. They know the rules. The opposition just doesn't dance to their tune.”

The Legislature will not sit Friday, so both the Economic Incentive and Stabilization Statutes Amendment Act and the Vancouver Foundation Amendment Act will come back for second reading on Monday, November 24.

Finance minister Colin Hansen is scheduled to deliver the second quarterly report on the government's finances Monday as well.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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