Manitoba NDP leader says he would relaunch annual open house at Legislative Assembly
WINNIPEG — The leader of the Manitoba Opposition NDP has said he would like to reinstate the annual recess open house at the Legislative Assembly if he were to be elected premier.
Wab Kinew says security is important, but so is the tradition of allowing the public into the legislature where they can meet politicians at a family event.
The open house, which normally takes place on a weekend in early or mid-December, allows people to move freely around the building, meet politicians, and enjoy snacks and musical entertainment.
It was canceled this year due to security concerns and construction work on one side of the building.
Security at the Legislative Assembly has been tightened in recent years and was further tightened after encampments were set up on the grounds before being dismantled in the fall.
Kinew, whose party leads in opinion polls ahead of October’s provincial election, said he would like to see the event return.
« It’s one of the times of the year when we really live up to the phrase that it’s the edifice of the people, » Kinew said in a year-end interview with La Presse. Canadian.
« Security is a big concern, but there has to be a way for us to balance those concerns with the fact that we live in a democracy where people have the right to have access to the people’s building and to be able to speak and meet and, in the case of an open house, celebrate with their democratically elected representatives.
Security upgrades to the Legislature in recent years include the use of a metal detector for visitors.
Don Leitch, head of the provincial civil service as clerk of the executive council, said in November that construction on the land and security issues raised security concerns for potentially handling thousands of visitors in one afternoon .
The same concerns also led to the cancellation of the New Year’s Eve, hosted by the Lieutenant Governor in the Legislative Assembly on January 1.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the government aims to continue to hold public gatherings at the legislature, including popular springtime photo ops with high school graduates and wedding parties.
“I think we will continue to find ways for Manitobans to come here, to celebrate, to come together, to see this as their building and to use it as their building,” Goertzen said.
« It might not look exactly like it did before and it might have a little more formality, maybe, than before. »
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 29, 2022.
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