Tuesday's throne speech will be like no other.

Tuesday's throne speech will be like no other.

The Manitoba legislature event steeped in ceremony that was created by and for men in power will undergo a gender shift.

For the first time, speech from the throne will be delivered by a woman, on behalf of a governing party led by a woman, to a legislative assembly presided over by a woman, with a woman in charge of keeping track of the proceedings.

Patricia Chaychuk, who became the first female clerk of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 2000, says she feels honoured to be part of the "historic nexus in time when we will have the first female premier (Heather Stefanson) along with a female Speaker (Myrna Driedger) and a female LG (Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon)."

Head clerk Patricia Chaychuk (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

Head clerk Patricia Chaychuk (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

As an intern at the legislature in 1987, Chaychuk wrote a paper about the electoral candidacy of women and the barriers they faced. It was easier for women to win nominations in constituencies that were viewed as "no-win constituencies" and a struggle to receive support and funding comparable to men, she said.

"One female candidate was even told on a doorstep, while canvassing, words to the effect of 'Why would you want to take a job away from a man who would need to be supporting a family?'" she said Monday.

Throne speech: who, what, when

At 1 p.m., Sgt. Kristopher Quiring will lead members of the 26th Field Artillery Regiment (Brandon) from 38 Canadian Brigade Group through a 15-gun artillery salute as Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon leaves Government House.

At 1:30 p.m., the sergeant-at-arms, house Speaker and clerks will parade into the chamber before the lieutenant governor arrives with her aides to deliver the throne speech, which, in recent years, has begun with an Indigenous land acknowledgement.

After the playing of God Save the Queen and O Canada, the lieutenant government exits, the fourth session of the 42nd legislature will officially start, and the Speaker reads the prayer. It is not clear the government has prepared an Indigenous land acknowledgement as part of the daily proceedings of the house.

At 1 p.m., Sgt. Kristopher Quiring will lead members of the 26th Field Artillery Regiment (Brandon) from 38 Canadian Brigade Group through a 15-gun artillery salute as Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon leaves Government House. 

At 1:30 p.m., the sergeant-at-arms, house Speaker and clerks will parade into the chamber before the lieutenant governor arrives with her aides to deliver the throne speech, which, in recent years, has begun with an Indigenous land acknowledgement. 

After the playing of God Save the Queen and O Canada, the lieutenant government exits, the fourth session of the 42nd legislature will officially start, and the Speaker reads the prayer. It is not clear the government has prepared an Indigenous land acknowledgement as part of the daily proceedings of the house.

The members will follow the COVID-19 pandemic rules agreed to by house leaders during the last session with only two-thirds of MLAs present in the chamber, and one-third participating virtually.

The premier moves a few essential motions and, as with long-standing Manitoba precedent, will move that the house adjourns for the day.

The house will be sitting for eight days: Tuesday through Friday this week and Monday through to Dec. 2.

Throne speech debate, as it is commonly referred to, is usually the principal business of the house for the eight sitting days following the opening day.

On the day after the throne speech, a motion called the "address in reply" is moved in the house. It gives thanks to the lieutenant governor for the throne speech and opens up debate for the contents of the throne speech.

"We have come a long way since then," said Chaychuk, who is responsible for maintaining records of the assembly, including legislative documents, debates and proceedings and manages the non-political legislature staff based in the building.

"The fact that we have so many more BIPOC MLAs, a gender non-conforming MLA (Uzoma Asagwara), and females that have achieved prominent roles such as the first Black female minister of health (Audrey Gordon) and the first female Indigenous Opposition house leader (Nahanni Fontaine) is inspiring and should be celebrated," Chaychuk said, adding she will be "smiling on the inside" while maintaining an always-neutral clerk's face.

Even though it won't be men dominating the throne speech, as per tradition, it will be a very traditional throne speech, according to Stefanson.

"It be will be more traditional and high level, covering different themes and important issues for us all to address together," the premier told the Association of Manitoba Municipalities on Monday.

The premier later told reporters she wants to get back to a time when the details of the budget and other announcements are left to the ministers responsible who've consulted with Manitobans in shaping them. Former premier Brian Pallister was known for having a major role in shaping policy details without first consulting with those affected.

As an intern at the legislature in 1987, Chaychuk wrote a paper about the electoral candidacy of women and the barriers they faced. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

As an intern at the legislature in 1987, Chaychuk wrote a paper about the electoral candidacy of women and the barriers they faced. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

"Obviously, we want to empower our ministers to do their jobs," Stefanson said. "We're going to be having them working with and listening to Manitobans moving forward in terms of shaping what that budget will look like and what the more detailed portions will look like."

The official Opposition, however, is expecting nothing will change with a new Tory premier starting out on the same footing as her predecessor.

"From where I'm standing, things are looking, unfortunately, pretty similar to when Brian Pallister was in office," said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

Budget talk

The province is inviting Manitobans to take part in Budget 2022 consultations, starting later this month.

“We’re listening to Manitobans and want to hear what matters most to you and your families," Finance Minister Scott Fielding said Monday in a news release.

Manitobans can take part by telephone, virtually or in-person.

The province is inviting Manitobans to take part in Budget 2022 consultations, starting later this month.

“We’re listening to Manitobans and want to hear what matters most to you and your families," Finance Minister Scott Fielding said Monday in a news release.

Manitobans can take part by telephone, virtually or in-person.

Community meetings scheduled so far include:

• Nov. 29, at 7 p.m., RBC Convention Centre, Winnipeg (English-French bilingual session);

• Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., Pinawa Community Centre, Pinawa;

• Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., Dome Building, Brandon;

• Dec. 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Blarney Stone Pub and Restaurant, Killarney.

Telephone town halls:

• Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m. for northern Manitobans.

More community meetings will be held in January, including Churchill, Thompson, Russell and Dauphin, with dates and locations to be announced.

Due to COVID-19 public health restrictions, Manitoba Finance asks participants to pre-register and reserve a spot for an in-person meeting or sign up to receive a phone call for the telephone town hall at engagemb.ca/budget-2022.

An online survey that will launch soon on EngageMB. Manitobans can also email comments and ideas to budget2022@gov.mb.ca or mail written submissions.

"(It's) pretty similar to what we've seen from the PCs before. We've seen both Heather Stefanson and Brian Pallister start their terms as premiers with a (faculty) strike at the University of Manitoba.

"Now we've got this new announcement of basically a do-over of Bill 64 where they want to look at (K-12) education funding. We're looking at a fourth (COVID-19) wave where we're not taking action to stem the rising tide," Kinew said.

On Monday afternoon, the NDP leader took to Twitter to announce he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be taking part Tuesday in a virtual capacity.

Outside the legislature, some out-of-the ordinary political events are on the horizon.

On Dec. 23, the premier will be an intervenor in a court case brought forward by PC leadership opponent Shelly Glover. The former Winnipeg police officer and Conservative MP is asking the Court of Queen's Bench to declare the leadership election invalid over alleged irregularities.

Early in the new year, a byelection is expected to be called in Fort Whyte, the seat vacated by Pallister when he resigned Oct. 4 . A byelection is usually called within three months of an MLA resigning.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.