Manitoba’s Early Election Expands the Caretaker Convention


Introduction 

Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba after leading the Progressive Conservatives to a parliamentary majority and 53.1% of the popular vote and 40 of 57 seats in April 2016, has decided to ignore Manitoba’s fixed-date election law in the most convoluted – or, perhaps, creative – way up until now. In the six instances where premiers had opted for snap elections instead of waiting for the polling day scheduled under fixed-date election legislation from 2014 to 2019, they had announced plans for an early election very shortly (on the order of a few days at most) before advising the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the legislature and issue the writs of election.

On 19 June, Premier Pallister announced that a general election would take place on 10 September 2019, fully 13 months earlier that the polling day scheduled for October 2020. But because Manitoba’s Election Act specifies that the writ for an unscheduled election must last between 28 and 34 days, the Premier did not advise Lieutenant Governor Filmon in person to dissolve the 41st Legislature and issue the writs of election until 12 August 2019. This unprecedented decision resulted in a de facto election campaign of nearly 90 days despite the de jure writ of 29 days.[1] Pallister had stoked speculation about this early election since December 2018 and tried to make it all more palatable by voluntarily binding his government to the 90-day pre-election prohibition on all but necessary and routine government advertising which under the Election Financing Act currently only applies to the Government of Manitoba in the 90 days preceding a scheduled general election. In so doing, Pallister has also set a precedent for broadening the scope of the Caretaker Convention to at least 4 months.

In this post, I will review the history of Manitoba’s fixed-date election law and its current laws regulating the duration of the writ and pre-election advertising, delve more into how recent legislation and Pallister’s actions will, in practice, expand the scope of the Caretaker Convention, and conclude with an explanation why Pallister took this bizarre staggered approach to announcing an election two months before the dissolution and issuing of writs actually took place.

The History of Manitoba’s Fixed-Date Elections Law 

As of 2008, Manitoba’s fixed-date election law forms part of its Elections Act. Section 49.1(1) of the Act contains the non-derogation clause:

Powers of Lieutenant Governor preserved
49.1(1)
Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Lieutenant Governor, including the power to dissolve the Legislature at the Lieutenant Governor’s discretion.[2]

Section 49.1(2) fixes the elections on the first Tuesday in October every four years, starting in 2011. As it turned out, however, only the election of October 2011 followed this schedule.

General election on first Tuesday in October
49.1(2) Subject to subsection (1),
(a) a general election must be held on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, unless a general election has been held between the coming into force of this section and October 3, 2011; and
(b) thereafter, a general election must be held on the first Tuesday in October in the fourth calendar year after election day for the last general election.

While Manitoba adopted the fixed-date elections law in 2008, the Legislative Assembly first dealt with the issue in 2005. Progressive Conservative MLA Glen Cummings introduced the first fixed-date election bills to the 38th Legislature in 2005; both failed. Cummings explained the rationale of his bill in familiar terms, namely that it would “regularize election dates”, allow MLAs and candidates to “plan ahead” for upcoming elections, and prevent the Premier from advising early dissolution on a whim “for political purposes.”[3] Cummings’s bill would have enacted the following:

The Lieutenant Governor in Council must under subsection 25(1) of The Elections Act, order that polling at a general election take place on May 8, 2007, and thereafter on the second Tuesday in May in the fourth year following the day of polling for the most recently held general election.[4]

It did not contain a non-derogation clause. As such, this wording would have imposed an unconstitutional fettering of the Crown’s authority over dissolution, and the bill would have been ultra vires of section 41(a) of the Constitution Act, 1982.

In Manitoba, a bill that forces the Premier to advise the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the legislature in the month of May is sheer folly, because torrential floods often submerge southern Manitoba during the spring. Flooding would surely put a damper on any general election campaign and make wading to the polls more difficult. Indeed, Prime Minister Chretien’s decision to advise early dissolution in 1997 raised the ire of Manitobans because this inconvenient and early federal general election coincided with “the Flood of the Century.”[5] Chretien even had the audacity to tour the flooding preparations in Winnipeg before flying back to Ottawa and walking over to Rideau Hall the very next day in order to advise the Governor General to dissolve the 36th Parliament.[6] The debates on the Doer Government’s fixed-date election bill reflect these considerations. Even Premier Pallister had to abide by them and pledged not to call a snap election during the spring of 2019.

On 12 May 2008, the Doer Government introduced its fixed-dated election bill. Acting Attorney General Steve Ashton explained that it would mandate fixed-date elections every four years, starting on 14 June 2011, along with a provision that would postpone a general election to September in the event of a “major flood.”[7] The bill originally said:

Powers of the Lieutenant Governor Preserved
49.1(1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Lieutenant Governor, including the power to dissolve the Legislature at the Lieutenant Governor’s discretion.
General Election on Second Tuesday in June
49.1(2) Subject to subsection (1) and section 51.1,
(a) a general election must be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, unless a general election has been held between the coming into force of this section and June 13, 2011; and
(b) thereafter, a general election must be held on the second Tuesday in June in the fourth calendar year after election day for the last general election.[8]

The clause “unless a general election has been held between the coming into force of this section and June 13, 2011” raised the ire of the Progressive Conservative and Liberal MLAs on the opposition benches. Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux protest that “there’s nothing that prevents the Premier (Mr. Doer) from being able to call an election before that June 14 date” – but Lamoureux and his colleagues were referring to the aforesaid clause 49.1(2)(a)  in particular and not to the general principle underlying all Canadian fixed-date election laws, that they in fact preserve the Crown’s authority over dissolution, expressed in the non-derogation clause 49.1(1).[9] Conservative MLAs Gerald Hawranik and Larry Maguire also objected to the bill for the same reason.[10] Maguire argued that Premier Doer “could call [the election on] any date in 2010 and still comply with the legislation” and concluded that the bill would leave intact “the political whim of the Premier as to when he really wants to call the date of the next election” – though they were referring to the wording of clause 49.1(2)(a) and not to the general principle.[11] Maguire found this clause redundant in a majority parliament and argued that under a fixed-date election law, the Premier could only advise dissolution in a minority parliament, which presumably means that he would only do so if the government had first lost the confidence of the assembly:

In a minority government situation in our British democracy, minority governments can occur. I would believe that the Premier (Mr. Doer) would have to have the right to go to the Lieutenant-Governor and allow for the dissolution of the Legislature so that an election could be called. […] They’re saying that unless a general election has been held between the coming into force of this section and October 3, 2011, then we’ll have an election on October 4, 2011.[12]

At the behest of Lamoureux, the Doer government agreed that the Assembly could amend its fixed-date election bill and changed the fixed date to the first Tuesday in October, as the other provinces have chosen. In effect, the Doer Government used its parliamentary majority to extend its own life by four months, as Conservative MLA Derkach pointed out.[13]

Manitoba decided to re-evaluate its legislation four years later in order to prevent the prospect of over-lapping federal and provincial elections. In 2012, the government of New Democratic Premier Greg Selinger introduced a bill to “postpone [the] fixed-date election.” The amended law now prevents any future provincial general election from overlapping with a federal general election:

Despite clause (2)(b), if the election period for a general election to be held in October under that clause will, as of January 1 of the year of the election, overlap with the election period for a general election to be held under subsection 56.1(2) or section 56.2 of the Canada Elections Act, the general election must be held instead on the third Tuesday of April in the next calendar year.[14]

In the debates, Conservative MLA Kelvin Geortzen criticized the Selinger government because it might end up having extended its own mandate by extending the life of the Parliament in order to avoid overlapping federal and provincial general elections.[15] (In fact, it did). His colleague Mavis Taillieu introduced such a bill that would have amended the Selinger government’s proposal so that “the general election must be held no later than six months before the date of the general to be held under the Canada Elections Act.”[16] Taillieu’s bill would have shorten the life of the legislature to three and a half years rather than lengthen the life of the legislature to four and half years if the federal and provincial general elections would otherwise have coincided with one another. New Democratic MLA and Government House Leader Jennifer Howard denounced the Conservative amendment, in a bizarre and mendacious comment, on the grounds that it would transfer “the decision for when Manitoba’s election should be in the hands of the Prime Minister.”[17] Whether the life of the Legislature of Manitoba is shortened by six months or lengthened by six months because of the prospect of overlapping federal and provincial general elections, the decision has something to do with the federal Prime Minister.

Howard argued that overlapping federal and provincial elections would be untenable, impose numerous logistical problems, and potentially confuse voters.[18] Howard also corroborated the stories that Premiers Wall and Ghiz asked Prime Minister Harper to consider changing the federal date (whether by simply “breaking his own law” or by introducing legislation is not known) and stated that “we have written to the Prime Minister and requested that […] they give some consideration to moving their election date.”[19] Howard acknowledged that if the current 40th Legislature lasted for four and half years, then so too would the 41st Legislature; she also pointed out that four-and-a-half-year legislatures have occurred before in Manitoba.[20] This debate in Manitoba is remarkably similar to the debate in British Columbia in 2011 and shows that when the Opposition considers early elections advantageous, they no longer object to them in principle! Sometimes early elections are justified, and they do not necessarily benefit the Government.

Manitoba held its first scheduled election on 4 October 2011; in the absence of a federal general election, the next provincial general election would have occurred in October 2015. However, Elections Manitoba announced on 5 January 2015 that the next provincial general election will occur instead on 19 April 2016 because as of 1 January 2015, the next federal general election was still scheduled to occur in October 2015.[21] The wording of Manitoba’s fixed-date elections law means that even if Prime Minister Harper had decided to advise an early dissolution so that the federal election occurred before the scheduled date in October 2015, which would have preventing the federal general election and Manitoba’s provincial general election from coinciding, Manitoba’s provincial general election would still have occurred in April 2016, pursuant to the following provision of the Elections Act:

Postponing fixed date election
49.1(3)
Despite clause (2)(b), if the election period for a general election to be held in October under that clause will, as of January 1 of the year of the election, overlap with the election period for a general election to be held under subsection 56.1(2) or section 56.2 of the Canada Elections Act, the general election must be held instead on the third Tuesday of April in the next calendar year.

On 5 January 2015, Elections Manitoba, rather than the Selinger government per se, announced the postponement of the 41st general election from October 2015 to April 2016:

Manitoba’s set date provincial election is now officially moved to April 19, 2016. Under section 49.1(3) of The Elections Amendment Act, the provincial election date moves from October 6, 2015 to the third Tuesday of April 2016 if, by January 1, 2015, the federal election date has not been changed. The change to Manitoba’s set election date was adopted to eliminate overlap between the timing of provincial and federal elections.[22]

As such, the 40th Legislature lived for four and a half years instead of four, from October 2011 to April 2016. In the 41st general election of April 2016, Manitobans elected a Conservative majority. The 41st Legislature would have lasted four and one-half years instead of four, from April 2016 to October 2020, if Premier Pallister had not pursued an early dissolution in August 2019. Only after the 42nd general election in October 2020 would Manitoba’s fixed-date elections re-equilibrated themselves on a true four-year cycle, where the 42nd Legislature would have scheduled to live from October 2020 to October 2024. After September 2019, the fixed-date election provision would schedule next provincial general election for October 2023. Manitoba has had a fixed-date election law on the books since 2008, but only one provincial general election since then has occurred on the original schedule.

The Election Itself and Efforts to Extend the Duration of the Caretaker Convention 

In addition to scheduling the date of general elections sometime between every four and just under five years, Manitoba’s Election Act sets out both a minimum and maximum duration for the writ and specifies that polling day must fall on a Tuesday. Scheduled fixed-date elections must come with a writ of 28 days, but the act permits snap elections such as this to fall within the range of 28 to 34 days.

Order calling an election
49(1)       To call an election, the Lieutenant Governor in Council must make an order that does the following:
(a) directs the chief electoral officer to issue a writ of election, in the prescribed form, to the returning officer for each electoral division in which an election is to be held;
(b) sets the date the writ is to be issued;
(c) sets as election day a Tuesday
(i) that is 28 days after the date the writ is issued, in the case of a fixed date election, or
(ii) that is at least 28 days but no more than 34 days after the writ is issued, in the case of any other election.[23]

Premier Pallister has identified 10 September 2019 as polling day, so the Lieutenant Governor could have dissolved the 41st Legislature on Pallister’s advice between 7 and 13 August. The dissolution ended up happening on 12 August.

What Canada at the federal level combines into one statute (the Canada Elections Act) Manitoba separates into two. Manitoba’s Election Law deals strictly with the mechanics and procedures of calling and conducting elections themselves but does not regulate election financing. Instead, Manitoba’s Election Financing Act further regulates how registered political parties and candidates can spend funds during the writ and during a “pre-election period” as well. Section 58(1) of the Election Financing Act says: “A registered party must not incur expenses for advertising or accept non-monetary contributions of advertising of more than $260,000 during the pre-election period.” Section 58(2) adds, “In the year of a fixed date election, a candidate must not incur expenses for advertising or accept non-monetary contributions of advertising of more than $6,500 outside the election period.” Currently, the statute only applies this “pre-election period” to “the 90-day period before the start of the election period of a fixed-date election” and thus not to snap elections.[24] This, of course, makes perfect sense as a statutory provision because snap elections are usually by their very nature not planned out in advance; even though Pallister did plan this particular snap election in advance, it only became possible for Pallister to restrict his government voluntarily from advertising in the 90 days because of the peculiar circumstances of his announcement. A more politically astute premier would not have deliberately built up months of speculation beforehand, and such legislation could logically not apply to snap elections in general – especially to an election that happens because a minority government has lost the confidence of the legislative assembly.

Section 92 of the Election Financing Act further restricts government advertising during the election itself, and, in the case of fixed-date elections, during the 90 days preceding dissolution and the issuing of writs as well.

(1) — Restrictions for general elections and by-elections
During the following periods, a government department or Crown agency must not advertise or publish any information about its programs or activities:
(a) in the last 90 days before election day and on election day, in the case of a fixed date election,
(b) in the election period, in the case of a by-election or a general election that is not a fixed date election.
(2) — Exceptions
Subsection (1) does not apply to an advertisement or a publication
(a) that is required by law,
(b) that is required at that time
(i) to solicit proposals or tenders for contracts or applications for employment with a government department or Crown agency, or
(ii) because it relates to important matters of public health or safety,
(c) that, in the case of a Crown agency, is in continuation of earlier advertisements or publications and is required at that time for ongoing programs of the agency, or
(d) that, during the election period of a by-election,
(i) is in continuation of earlier publications or advertisements and is required for ongoing programs of a government department, or
(ii) deals with a matter before the Assembly during the election period of a by-election, such as the throne speech, the budget, the introduction or passage of a bill or an order or resolution of the Assembly.[25]

The statute of course carves out exceptions for advertisements and publications “required by law” and necessary and routine business which “relates to important matters of public health and safety.” I would argue that any announcements relating to the consolidation of hospital emergency rooms would fall under the category of announcement which build upon “early publications or advertising and is required for ongoing programs […].” Even though the statute did not apply to this early election, Premier Pallister voluntarily adopted its terms to this election as well; the Government of Manitoba’s news releases shows that the Pallister government has indeed adhered to that promise, too.

But these obvious logical contradictions did not stop New Democratic MLA Nahanni Fontaine from introducing a Private Member’s Bill that would have imposed the 90-day pre-election period on snap elections.[26] The preamble to the bill says, “AND WHEREAS the length of the restriction on government advertising should be the same for fixed date elections and elections that are called on a discretionary basis.” The bill would then have implemented the following operative provision:

(1) — Restrictions during general elections and by-elections
A government department or Crown agency must not advertise or publish any information about its programs or activities during the following periods:
(a) in the last 90 days before election day and on election day, in the case of a fixed date election,
(b) in the last 90 days before election day and on election day, in the case of a general election that is not called because the government lost the confidence of the Assembly,
(c) in the election period, in the case of a by-election or a general election that is not described in clauses (a) or (b).[27]

The wording in 1(b) would exclude a snap election called because the government has lost a vote of non-confidence, so at least a modicum of thought went into the bill. But 1(a) still presumes the obvious fallacy that snap elections are necessarily planned 90 days in advance, even though the historical record over the last eleven years and seven previous early dissolutions under fixed-date election laws directly contradicts this claim. This provision would have become utterly unenforceable because under the circumstances in all of the previous seven discretionary early dissolutions in Canada from 2008 to 2019, it would have been impossible to prove that the Premier or Prime Minister had specifically planned it that far in advance, even if they had. Pallister only made drawing this conclusion possible in this one specific case because of his glib trolling; other premiers proved far more discrete. Fontaine also expressed sincere bewilderment in Hansard on 11 April that the Conservatives had shot down her bill:

And so what we want–attempted to do in Bill 232, which members opposite voted against, was ensure that premiers who just, you know, willynilly want to decide to, you know, call a provincial election–even though we have fixed election date laws here–election laws in Manitoba, who want to attempt to just call an election whenever they can, they would still have to adhere to the 90 days.[28]

One really does have to wonder about the collective and individual intelligence of this country’s elected representatives sometimes.

In 2018, Parliament similarly amended the equivalent federal legislation, the Canada Elections Act, to include restrictions on political parties and candidates from spending in a pre-election period which starts on 30 June if and only if the federal general election is scheduled to take place on the third Monday in October that same year under section 56.1 of the Canada Elections Act. Logically, such a statutory provision cannot apply to early federal elections. But the Canada Elections Act does not contain this same restrictions on government advertising during the pre-election period. The closest equivalent federal policy comes from non-statutory (and thus non-binding) Directive on the Management of Communications, which states:

Federal elections
Heads of communications are responsible for the following:
6.44: Suspending advertising and public opinion research activities the day that the Governor in Council issues a writ for a general federal election and resuming only when the newly elected government is sworn into office, unless approved by the deputy head; and
6.45: Suspending advertising activities on June 30 in a year in which there is a fixed general federal election date.[29]

The Government of Canada released the following information under the Access to Information Act. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Materiel of the Department of National Defence issued guidance on 25 June 2019 to all the other assistant deputy heads within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.  The “National Defence Procurement and Contracting Guidance – Federal Election Period” takes effect as of 30 June and seems to flow directly from section 6.45 of the Treasury Board’s Directive. (The document included the underline in its name). It says: “This guidance comes into effect 1 July 2019, and will remain in effect until 7 calendar days following the federal election date.”[30] In other words, it would apply from 1 July to 28 October 2019. The guidance applies to “all DND/CAF procurement-related activities that fall within departmental contracting authority and valued at greater than $25K,” which will allow DND-CAF “to maintain transparency, accountability and political neutrality in all its procurement-related activities and processes during a federal election.”[31] Any such contract would need the approval of a director (presumably EX-01 in the civil service’s classification) and would have to follow a list of criteria which seem to flow from PCO’s Guidelines on the Caretaker Convention. Furthermore, each branch within DND and L1 command of the CAF “must ensure that the Election Period Procurement and Contracting Register is completed and maintained.”

7. The following should be considered in the development of the recommendation of the procurement activity:
Nature of the activity (level of visibility or association of the activity with the federal government);
The outcomes of the procurement activity (the impact of the activity on the federal government and the perceived partisanship of the participants of the procurement activity);
The perceived partisanship of the relationship or potential relationship between the participants of the procurement activity and other stakeholders; and
The need to proceed with the activity during the election period vice waiting for the new Government to be formed.[32]

Pallister decided to compensate for the gaps that the New Democrats identified by voluntarily placing a similar halt on the Government of Manitoba’s advertising beginning on 12 June 2019 – 90 days before 10 September 2019 – even though he did not officially announce his intention to call an early election for 10 September until 19 June.[33] The Pallister government did issue 15 substantive spending and policy announcements on 11 June but then ceased issuing such spending-related announcements thereafter; the next news release did not come out until 28 June.[34] The media widely reported Pallister’s pledge as a “blackout,” which is not accurate, because the Government of Manitoba has still issued the kind of perfunctory and necessary press releases permitted under section 92 of the Election Financing Act and which the Government of Canada would still issue pursuant to the Privy Council Office’s Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Secretaries of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During An Election and that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador would still be allowed to announce under the Guidelines on the Conduct of Public Servants During An Election Period. For instance, on 28 June, the Government of Manitoba issued a health advisory on “Travel-Related Measles Case Confirmed in Manitoba”, six other routine health and weather advisories in July 2019, and two in August as of the 12th.[35]

Both Pallister and the Government of Canada have thus promoted what Philippe Lagassé calls “convention creep” in an analogy to the military concept of “mission creep”: a form of path dependency, but also involving the deliberate gradual extension of the application of the Restraints of Government Activity known as Caretaker Convention from during the election campaign and after the election until the first meeting of the new parliament if one party does not win a clear majority to now at least 90 days before the writ as well.[36] That would restrict all government activity for at least four months (pre-writ plus writ), and possibly up to five or six months after the election of a minority parliament and delayed formation of a new government. Interestingly, at the very same time, the Trudeau government has wisely opted not to promote this same sort of de facto extension of the federal Caretaker Convention and instead made several spending announcements in July after the new pre-election period began, including on major ship-building contracts spread across three provinces.[37] The Privy Council Office’s federal Guidelines say:

In short, during an election, a government should restrict itself – in matters of policy, expenditure and appointments – to activity that is:
  • routine, or
  • non-controversial, or
  • urgent and in the public interest, or
  • reversible by a new government without undue cost or disruption, or
  • agreed to by opposition parties (in those cases where consultation is appropriate).
 In determining what activity is necessary for continued good government, the Government must inevitably exercise judgement, weighing the need for action and potential public reaction, given the absence of a confidence chamber and the possibility that a different government could be elected.[38]

On 23 June, Wab Kinew, the Leader of the New Democratic Party and the Official Opposition in Manitoba, expressly demanded that Premier Pallister adopt convention creep and “enter caretaker mode” from 19 June to 12 August so that the Pallister government would engage in “no more cuts, no more closures, until the people of Manitoba have […] their say.”[39] Kinew took this view on the grounds that extending Restraints of Government Activity (not merely on advertising, as Pallister volunteered to do) to the 90 days prior to an election would thereby preventing the Pallister government from closing the emergency room at Seven Oaks General Hospital. Whatever the merits of the argument of deliberately extending the Caretaker Convention to before the writ, Kinew quite reasonably observed that the province had already entered a de facto election campaign on 19 June when Pallister that he would call an early election for 10 September, even though the de jure writ could not begin under the Election Act until August. However, since the Pallister government had already made the operative decision to consolidate six emergency rooms in Winnipeg into three before the election, back in 2017, the Caretaker Convention would prevent a policy already underway from continuing. If anything, the Caretaker Convention operates on inertia and the principle that the ship of state should continue on its current course apart from absolutely necessary corrections, and this would, in turn, support the continuation of a policy that has been underway for two years. In addition, the federal Guidelines say that policies undertaken during the writ should be reversible, and Kinew’s New Democrats have already pledged to re-open the other two separate emergency rooms that the Pallister government had already consolidated, which suggests that these policies are reversible.[40]

During the last sitting day of the Legislative Assembly on 3 June, Hansard records an exchange between Kinew and Pallister under the heading “Pre-Election Media Blackout: Impact of ER Closure Notifications” in which Kinew asks Palliser whether his policy on halting government advertising would “impact the public service announcements that are supposed to warn northeast Winnipeggers about this government’s closure of the Concordia emergency room.”[41] Pallister did not really answer the question, but, logically, there is no reason why either prohibitions on government advertising or the Caretaker Convention would somehow prevent the government from issuing a routine and necessary news release informing the media and the public that it had closed a section of a hospital, especially when the operative decision to close that emergency room was made several months before the election and even before the pre-election period. In any event, the Pallister government still issued necessary and routine advisories pertaining to public health, dangerous weather, and legally mandated announcements. The Ball government did the same in Newfoundland & Labrador earlier this year.

The Pallister government has already laid the groundwork for introducing legislation that would make Pallister’s voluntary decision to refrain from issuing government advertising during both the pre-election period and the election campaign itself mandatory. Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced on 1 May 2019 that Michael Green, a former Commissioner for Elections Manitoba, had released his Report on Proposed Legislation Concerning Government Advertising, which “recommends developing policy and guidelines around all paid government advertising.”[42]

Brian Pallister Cultivated the Speculation Over An Early Election For Months

Brian Pallister often gives glib, coy, and sarcastic responses in his interactions with the media, whether during more formal interviews, press conferences, and scrums. He comes across as a natural troll (less light-hearted and laughing with and more sardonic and laughing at), and he even sometimes produces an expression disturbingly similar to that of the archetypal Troll Face Meme.

For instance, he once knowingly avoided answering a question substantively by saying: “Well, I’m coping what’s known as a ‘Woman’s Answer,’ isn’t it? A sort of fickle kind of thing.” He concluded that sentence sporting a trollface.

And in December 2013, while still Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Manitoba, he said:

“I wanted to wish everyone a really, really Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah. […]
All you infidel atheists out there, I want to wish you the very best also. I don’t know what you celebrate during the holiday season – I myself celebrate the birth of Christ – but it’s your choice. If you wish to celebrate nothing and just get together with friends, that’s good, too. All the best.”[43]

His travelling has also raised some controversy and shows an anti-social rejection of hibernal solidarity with other Manitobans. As Premier, Pallister has spent six to eight weeks per year, primarily during the Manitoban winter, at his estate in Costa Rica,[44] and as opposition leader from 2012 to 2016, he spent one in five days either travelling between Manitoba and Costa Rica or in Costa Rica.[45] The Premier of Manitoba thus spends a great deal of time out of the province. Since becoming Premier, Pallister has continued making his whimsically ill-tempered, off-the-cuff remarks. In 2017, he delivered a speech in Virden, Manitoba (at least he didn’t say this in Costa Rica) criticizing spotlighting by indigenous hunters:

“Young indigenous guys going out and shootin’ a bunch of moose ’cause they can, ’cause they say it’s their right, doesn’t make any sense to me. […]This is a poor practice. A dumb practice […] It should stop. […]
So what are we doing? We’re organizing to bring indigenous people together and say the same thing I just said to [you], ’cause it’s becoming a race war and I don’t want that.”[46]

Pallister has demonstrated a clear pattern over the last decade of going out of his way to make inflammatory and foolish utterances – often gratuitously so, simply because he seems to enjoy it. Pallister first kicked off all the speculation over an early general election with characteristic glibness in late December 2018; this blithe commentary essentially Pallister to commit to an early election in 2019, whether he had originally intended to do so in 2018 or not:

Why would I give my opponent that advantage? I’ll just say 2020 is what it’s scheduled for. I was in sports too long. I’m not giving away whatever minor advantages I may have. I’m not giving them away. […] I’ve seen federal Liberal governments go early, […] so we’ll just wait and see.[47]

The speculation continued to ramp up thereafter throughout the first half of 2019,[48] and MLAs and the political parties prepared in earnest for an early election. The Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats began nominating slates of candidates in earnest in March,[49] but that same month Pallister promised not to call an election to coincide with the spring thaw and potential massive flooding.[50] Finally, on 19 June, Pallister delivered a speech on the grounds of the Legislature alongside several Progressive Conservative MLAs and stated that the early election would occur on 10 September.[51]

Manitoba’s Legislative Debates on the Early Election

Hansard also records lively debates amongst MLAs who considered Pallister’s early election a foregone conclusion in the first half of 2019. New Democratic MLA Andrew Swan led the charge against Premier Pallister. On 11 April, he said, “the Pallister government’s attempts to break Manitoba’s election laws amount to cheating.”[52] On 23 May, Swan asked, “Why does the Premier believe he’s entitled to break the fixed-date election law?”[53] As if he had not paid attention for the last eleven years of Canadian politics and the seven other instances where snap elections occurred notwithstanding fixed-date election laws, Swan declared: “The Premier’s now made it very clear that he will break the law which mandates the election for October 6, 2020.”[54] Pallister did make clear that he would seek early dissolution, but that remains a lawful decision. On 3 June, he accused the Premier of “breaking the election law and having this Legislature dissolve.”[55] Swan continued his fallacious fusillade on 27 May, accusing Pallister of “break[ing] the law for his own benefit” and asking, “Why is the Premier planning an illegal election in breach of Manitoba’s fixed-election-date law?”[56]

Premier Pallister and the Attorney General should have given the direct and correct response to all these stupid questions in the chamber if only because they were so brazen in talking up an early election outside the chamber. They should have said that the non-derogation clause in the fixed-date election provision deliberately preserves the Lieutenant Governor’s authority to dissolve the legislature at any time prior to when it would dissolve by efflux of time. Since Responsible Government means that the Lieutenant Governor’s only act on ministerial advice, this non-derogation clause thereby also deliberately preserves the established constitutional position that the Lieutenant Governor dissolves the legislature on the Premier’s advice at any time. No statute law can purport to bind the Premier without binding the Lieutenant Governor, and Manitoba’s law never attempted to go that far anyway.

Unlike his colleagues, New Democratic MLA Mohinder Saran did raise a valid point about the history of Manitoba’s fixed-date election law and the initial debates surrounding its enactment in 2008 and offered some intelligent commentary on what the Progressive Conservatives had done in opposition:

NDP, at that time, wanted the election fixed date in spring and PC wanted that fixed date in October. The reason why that because farmers are busy during the spring time, therefore election–the fixed date should not be in September. So we agreed that it will be in October. So now I wonder whether farmers are–will be busy now or not? So why the contradiction? So I think there is something to think about.[57]

Dougald Lamont, Liberal MLA and leader of the moribund Liberal Party of Manitoba, must similarly have not paid attention to the last eleven years of Canadian politics and seven previous discretionary early dissolutions. On 4 April, he asked:

It is because leaving the timing of election call in the hands of an incumbent party was considered unfair. Having fixed election dates makes elections more competitive because all parties are able to fundraise and recruit candidates knowing that an election will be called at a specific time. Manitoba’s fixed election dates are the first Tuesday in October and the third Tuesday in April. Now, I know the Premier loves a good loophole, but if the Premier calls an election this spring or summer, can he explain how he is not breaking the fixed-date-election law?[58]

Pallister in an uncharacteristic move offered something of a relevant response to Lamont’s intervention, saying:

I remember Pearson and I remember Jean Chrétien. I remember Paul Martin. I remember them calling elections. A lot of them called elections. One of them came here and threw a sandbag right in the middle of a flood in ’97 and then went and called an election. So I know the Liberal history.[59]

Pallister deflected Lamont’s question by pointing out that Prime Minister Pearson had undertaken a snap election in 1965 (which, incidentally, almost precisely replicated the results from 1963 and left the Liberals still with only a plurality of seats and a minority government), and how Prime Minister Chretien had called two snap elections in 1997 – despite the Flood of Century that had inundated Manitoba at the same time – and again, less controversially, in 2000. Prime Minister Martin called an “early” election in 2004 (but, in reality, it had been almost four years anyway) because he wanted to seek his own electoral mandate after having been appointed as Prime Minister mid-parliament. Where Chretien succeeded twice, Martin failed, reducing the Liberals from a majority to a mere plurality. But even though fixed-date election laws do not prevent early dissolution, it is relevant to point out that Canada did not have such a law on the books until 2007.

The most honest exchange took place on 9 May between Liberal leader Lamont and Premier Pallister, and it is worth quoting in full.

Mr. Dougald Lamont (Leader of the Second Opposition):
Since December, the Premier’s been floating the idea of ignoring Manitoba’s fixed-date election law and calling an election this spring or summer. And since then he’s been coming up with ever less believable reasons to call that election and to try and pin it on somebody else.
He said the PST would pass, then he said it wouldn’t. He claimed that elections and advertising bans during Manitoba 150 would spoil the party, though despite having a majority, that his hands are tied and he’s unable to change the rules, though he’s been able to find time to change lots of other election rules to rig the game in his favour.
In a rare moment of candour, the Premier said, and I quote: I was in sports too long; I’m not giving away whatever minor advantages I may have. I’m not giving them away. Can the Premier explain how his time in sports inspired him to want to ignore the fixed-date election law? Hon.
Brian Pallister (Premier):
Well, I don’t think that the member opposite could argue he hasn’t been given a heads-up. That’s one of the reasons that you want to have that legislation, I suppose, to make sure that opposition parties are ready. It would be on him and the opposition leader to get their parties ready.
The second thing would be that we don’t want to have what happened under the NDP happen again, which is that governments shouldn’t use their resources to promote themselves, which is exactly what government would be doing in 2020 when dozens and dozens and dozens of events sponsored by the government will be held throughout the entire year.
You’re put in an impossible situation as a public servant, Madam Speaker, in the sense that if you go to them, you’re accused of doing the wrong thing, and they’d be doing that on January 1 next year, and they know that. So, Madam Speaker, it’s most certain that the member has the obligation to get his party ready, and he needs to accept that challenge.[60]

The Election Financing Act prohibits both advertising from political parties and candidates, as well as political advertising by the Government of Manitoba, in the “pre-election period” 90 days before a scheduled election. There is merit to Pallister’s argument that the Government of Manitoba, and thus by extension the party in power, really ought not to benefit from what could be reasonably perceived as free advertising through all the big announcements and speeches by ministers that will necessarily accompany Manitoba’s 150th anniversary in 2020. Again, if Pallister had simply articulated this argument honestly and sincerely instead of in his typical glibness and gratuitously insulting manner, he would come off as reasonable and could have easily justified the early election.

Pallister also gave a full press conference in the Legislature of Manitoba after the end of the spring sitting on 3 June where he delivered a campaign-style summary of his government’s legislative record and what he would like to continue doing in future. At 12:30, he invented a new blended word for “election speculation” – which he himself started – and dismissed the “speculection” floating around the media:

“I want to give some clarity because there’s a lot of speculection obviously in the last while, as recently as yesterday, with both opposition parties calling for an election. I have no plans to call an immediate election.” […]
I wanted to say that because I have respect for the challenges of getting a work-life balance that you [the media] face, and the people who work here [at the Legislature] face, and that all MLAs face as well. And I wanted to make sure that everyone who works here knows that they need not be concerned about an election – at least for a number of weeks.

Of course, the Hansard shows that the New Democrats and the Liberals did not want an early election and criticised Pallister for having mused about the idea openly for six months. Pallister executed a carefully choreographed rhetorical performance there, with the key word being “immediate.” He did not plan on calling an immediate election, by which he meant that there would be a gap between his announcement of an early election and the dissolution of the legislature and the issuing of the writs of election themselves.

Pallister all but admitted that he would go for an early election in August and September but not in June and July, and the official writ conformed to that timeframe. In that same press briefing, he also explains at 13:30 his rationale for voluntarily applying the statutory ban on all but essential government advertising during the pre-election period before a fixed-date election to this semi-scheduled early election:

I have also very clearly given direction to the Clerk of the Executive Council that – and I have his agreement – he will review any communications materials that are prepared by the government before they are shared with the general public. And that is with the goal of making sure that as a government, we do not use taxpayer resources to try to promote our political ends. And there are rules under the Election Financing Act that we want to follow and we want to respect. I have seen them disrespected, federally and provincially, by other governments. I spent lots of time representing the people of Manitoba as an opposition member, and I didn’t like it when governments abused those rules, so as someone in government, I have no intentions of abusing those rules.
So the Clerk of the Executive Council will be reviewing those materials – we’re just crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on how that will work right now – but the goal is to ensure that there’s no violation of the principles of fairness, no use of government resources to support announcements based on politics. It is important, though, for Manitobans to understand that the work of our government will continue and despite the fact that we may be restricted somewhat in doing announcements, we will still be continuing to work for the people of Manitoba.

Pallister concluded by reiterating, correctly, that the fixed-date election legislation does in fact allow for early elections, and he told one reporter that if he had waited for the scheduled election in October 2020, then the press would have criticised him and his government for taking advantage of government announcement for Manitoba’s 150th anniversary celebrations for the Progressive Conservative Party’s advantage. 

The volley between obscurantist journalist Tom Brodbeck and Premier Pallister in this exchange from around 19:00 to 20:00 amuses me a great deal, because it’s as if Brodbeck has not paid attention to the last eleven years of Canadian political history and is yet unaware that in seven previous instances First Ministers have secured snap elections notwithstanding the schedules defined by the various fixed-date election laws in this country. Something does not need to happen in Manitoba for that thing to have happened for the first time. He clearly says to Pallister in the video footage, “If you want to play by the rules, then why won’t you abide by the set election rules?” Pallister retorted, “Actually, if you read the legislation, I am entirely abiding by the rules.” That is factually correct. Brodbeck, who comes from a long line of Canadian journalists seemingly incapable of understanding simple concepts surrounding fixed-date election laws — I documented similar incidents with Ontarian journalists here and here back in 2016 — provided me some further entertainment on Twitter with his self-contradictory assertions on what fixed-date election laws achieve.

 

 

In any case, the far more pertinent and interesting aspect of Pallister’s early election is how he has set a significant precedent for broadening the Caretaker Convention.

Conclusion: The Caretaker Convention Annexes Swathes of the Calendar 

In 2012, Manitoba first pioneered the ad hoc proviso to fixed-date election laws that Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia all later adopted: the province would postpone its general provincial election by six months, from October to the following April, if it would have otherwise overlapped with a scheduled federal general election in October. It is therefore at least somewhat ironic that Premier Pallister opted to go to an early election for 10 September 2019 which raises the possibility that the provincial election will overlap for a few days with the federal general election scheduled to begin between 1 and 15 September 2019.

Premier Pallister has now undertaken the 8th early dissolution relative to a polling day scheduled by a fixed-date election law without having first lost a vote of non-confidence. Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives are widely expected to win another parliamentary majority.

First Ministers Who Elected to Go Early Result for the Incumbent Government
2008: Harper (Canada)

Minority Parliament

Draw: the Conservatives expanded their plurality but failed to secure a majority
2014: Marois (Quebec)

Minority Parliament

Loss: The incumbent PQ lost and the rival Liberals won a majority
2014: Wynne (Ontario)

Minority Parliament

Win: The incumbent Liberals went from a plurality to a majority
2015: Prentice (Alberta)

Majority Parliament

Loss: The rival New Democrats won a majority
2015: MacLauchlan (PEI)

Majority Parliament

Win: The Liberals expanded their majority
2019: MacLauchlan (PEI)

Majority Parliament

Loss: The Liberals came in third in a minority parliament, and the Progressive Conservatives took office
2019: Ball (Newfoundland & Labrador) Majority Parliament Loss: The Liberals went from secure majority to tenuous plurality and probably guaranteed another early election
2019: Pallister (Manitoba)

Majority Parliament

To be determined on 10 September 2019

The worst possible timing prevented Premier Pallister from going to the polls until 12 August, for an election on 10 September. He first mused about calling an early election as early as December 2018. But, for practical purposes, he could not pursue a discretionary snap election in the winter because of the cold, nor in the spring, because of annual flooding. Pallister also had to rule out an election in May or early June in order to avoid cutting short the 4th session of the 41st Legislature before the House rose for the summer on 3 June, because the Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceeding of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Orders) provide for three sitting periods each year and further stipulate that “The House will not rise until royal assent has been granted.”[61] The Lieutenant Governor therefore only grants Royal Assent to all bills at the very end of the session or sitting, in this case, the Spring Sitting, which extends “from the first Wednesday in March to the first sitting day in June.”[62] That included the budget implementation bill, which promulgated the Pallister government’s signature policy of cutting the Provincial Sales Tax from 8% to 7%, and various other important government bills.

Pallister could not time the election immediately after the House rose for the summer on 3 June because then polling day would have fallen, with the minimum writ of 28 days and maximum writ of 34 days, between 1 July – Dominion Day – and Sunday, 7 July. We generally do not hold general elections on the Christian Sabbath – which Brian Pallister himself would certainly appreciate judging by his profession of faith and admonition of infidels. Furthermore, Pallister could not delay an autumnal election much beyond 10 September, because then the provincial general election would have overlapped significantly or wholly with the federal general election, which will start between 1 and 15 September for polling day on 21 October 2019. Finally, waiting until after the federal general election would then have placed the provincial general election in late November – and thus winter once again. Pallister’s trolling got the better of him. While he boxed himself in to an election in the early fall, he most certainly did not need to take the unprecedented step of announcing his intention to go for an election in September 2019 as early as June 2019.

Pallister made some ostensibly good-faith efforts, such as not taking advantage of Manitoba’s sesquicentenary in 2020 as one giant advertising opportunity for his Conservative government, and in voluntarily assuming limits on both partisan and governmental advertising in the pre-election period of 90 days that normally only precede fixed-date elections, though he partially boxed himself in to that latter gesture by stoking rumours for the prior six months. But he deliberately avoided giving a proper explanation for these decisions, like the late Premier Jim Prentice did in Alberta in 2015, because he could not resist his natural inclination toward gratuitous offensiveness and trolling his opponents, and perhaps ultimately Manitobans themselves. Pallister should probably have said nothing and not stoked all this speculation about an early election over the course of six months. Like the other premiers who have chosen to go to the polls early to seek a new mandate from voters, he should have simply paid a visit to Government House on 12 August and advising the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the 41st Legislature on that day for an election on 10 September. He could even still have voluntarily refrained from government announcements that offered partisan advantage to the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, especially given that his cabinet already seems to have accepted in principle the Green Report’s recommendation that all news releases and announcements by the Government of Manitoba non-partisan at all times.

I had hoped that all these early dissolutions notwithstanding fixed-date election laws (shown in the chart above) as well as the late dissolutions that Manitoba and Saskatchewan undertook in 2016 would have shown that we should repeal these daft fixed-date election laws entirely. Unfortunately, the Parliament of Canada and the Legislature of Manitoba have instead layered on more features which flow from and depend on fixed-date election laws, namely these “pre-election periods” and bans of partisan advertising (federally) and both partisan and government advertising in Manitoba during an election and the pre-election period under the Election Financing Act. The Green Report raises the possibility that the Pallister government would, if sustained in power after this early election, introduce legislation to make all government advertising issued at any time subject to review and approval by the Auditor General.[63]

Even though fixed-date election laws have been “broken” (but not, in fact, broken) eight times since 2008, they will remain on the books because they have still nevertheless turned into a useful baseline for layering on restrictions on partisan and governmental advertising in the 90 days before the scheduled fixed-date elections begin. This trend will, in turn, almost certainly then provide an avenue for deliberately perverting the Restraints of Government Activity and applying the Caretaker Convention to the 90 days, or three months, before a scheduled election campaign begins and thus about four months before polling day itself. Indeed, the Government of Canada has also taken steps to impose this restriction on government activity outside of the Privy Council Office’s Guidelines on the Caretaker Convention by consolidating several disparate policies into one new Treasury Board Directive on the Management of Communications, which incorporates the 90-day pre-election period and restrictions on party advertising from the Canada Elections Act and applies it non-bindingly to government advertising. Alternatively, Manitoba has taken the approach of codifying more of these restrictions on government advertising and the like in statute, which raises the possibility that further restrictions on government activity during an election would also be codified in statute and thus no longer be “conventions” per se but mandatory.

Anne Twomey, Professor of Law at the University of Sydney and one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the whole Commonwealth, recently wrote on the same phenomenon in her new book The Veiled Spectre, calling this general trend a “shift in emphasis from ministerial constraint to public service rules.”[64] Twomey quite reasonably concludes:

Care should be taken to tether the caretaker convention back to the constitutional principle of responsible government. Issues concerning the independence of the public service and the interaction between public servants and ministers can be dealt with by codes of conduct and other means. They should not be regarded as falling within the caretaker conventions as they have no source in constitutional principle. [65] 

Path dependency and stealthy convention creep have replaced open debate.

Similar Posts: 

Notes

[1] Steve Lambert, “Pallister Makes It Official: Manitoba Election Formally Underway,” Global News, 12 August 2019; CBC News, “Pallister Declares Official Start of Manitoba Provincial Election Period,” 12 August 2019.

[2] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly. An Act to Amend the Elections Act, 39th Legislative Assembly, 2008

[3] Glen Cummings [“Bill 205-The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act (Set Date Elections)”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 38th Legislature, 3rd Session, Vol. LVI No. 41, (Winnipeg: Legislative Assembly of Manitoba): 2304.

[4] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act (Set Date Elections), Bill 205, 38th Legislature, 3rd Session, 2005.

[5] Stephen Clarkson, “Securing Their Future Together: The Liberals in Action,” Chapter 3 in The Canadian General Election of 1997, edited by Alan Frizzell and Jon H. Pammett, 39-70 (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1997), 43.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Steve Ashton, [“Bill 37”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, Vol. LX, No. 39 (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba): 2051.

[8] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly. The Elections Amendment Act, Bill 37, 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, 2008.

[9] Kevin Lamoureux, [“Bill 37”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, Vol. LX, No. 39 (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 12 May 2008): 2052.

[10] Gerald Hawranik and Larry Maguire, [“Bill 37”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, Vol. LX, No. 39 (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 12 May 2008): 3134-3136.

[11] Larry Maguire, [“Bill 37”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, Vol. LX, No. 39 (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 12 May 2008): 3135.

[12] Larry Maguire, [“Bill 37”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, Vol. LX, No. 81B (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 7 October 2008): 3832-3833.

[13] Leonard Derkach, [“Bill 37”], Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 39th Legislature, 2nd Session, Vol. LX, No. 81B (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 7 October 2008): 3846.

[14] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly. The Election Financing Act and Elections Amendment Act. Bill 33, 40th Legislature, 1st session, 2012.

[15] Kelvin Goertzen, [“Bill 33 – The Election Financing Act and Elections Amendment Act”], in Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 40th Legislature, 1st Session, 7 June 2012 Vol. LXIV, No. 47B (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 2012), 2266.

[16] Mavis Taillieu, [“Bill 33 – The Election Financing Act and Elections Amendment Act”], in Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 40th Legislature, 1st Session, 7 June 2012 Vol. LXIV, No. 51B (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 2012), 2505. (emphasis added)

[17] Jennifer Howard, [“Bill 33 – The Election Financing Act and Elections Amendment Act”], in Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 40th Legislature, 1st Session, 7 June 2012 Vol. LXIV, No. 51B (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 2012), 2506.

[18] Jennifer Howard, [“Bill 33 – The Election Financing Act and Elections Amendment Act”], in Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Official Report (Hansard), 40th Legislature, 1st Session, 7 June 2012 Vol. LXIV, No. 51B (Winnipeg: Legislature of Manitoba, 2012), 2506.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Elections Manitoba, “Manitoba’s Set Date Election Moves to April 2016,” 5 January 2015.

[22] Elections Manitoba, “Manitoba’s Set Election Date Moves to April 2016,” 5 January 2015. <http://www.electionsmanitoba.ca/downloads/Change_to_set_date_NR.pdf&gt;

[23] Elections Act, C.C.S.M. c. E30 (Manitoba)

[24] Election Financing Act C.C.S.M. c. E27 (Manitoba), section 115. This comes from an extensive “Definitions” section of the statute.

[25] Election Financing Act C.C.S.M. c. E27 (Manitoba), section 92.

[26] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, 41st Parliament, 4th session, Bill 232: The Election Financing Amendment Act, 2019.

[27] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly, 41st Parliament, 4th session, Bill 232: The Election Financing Amendment Act, 2019.

[28] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 38B, 11 April 2019: page 1225.

[29] Canada, Government of Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat, Directive on the Management of Communications, 25 October 2018.

[30] Canada, Department of National Defence, “National Defence Procurement and Contracting Guidance – Federal Election Period”, Annex A, 25 June 2019.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Jacques Marcoux, “Policy Announcements Tripled in Lead-Up to Voluntary Pre-Election Blackout, CBC Analysis Finds,CBC News, 19 June 2019.

[34] Manitoba, Government of Manitoba, News Releases for June 2019, accessed 13 August 2019.

[35] Manitoba, Government of Manitoba, News Releases, “Media Bulletin – Chief Provincial Public Health Officer,” 28 June 2019; Manitoba, Government of Manitoba, News Releases, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Livestock Producers Temporarily Allowed to Cut Hay and Graze Animals on Crown Land,” 5 July 2019; Manitoba, Government of Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Province Issues High Wind-effect Warning for Areas of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg,” 9 July 2019; Government of Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Washout Closes Section of PR 246 South of Aubigny,” 9 July 2019; Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Rising Red River Levels May Close Riverwalk at the Forks,” 12 July 2019; Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Province Issues Extended Heat Advisory,” 19 July 2019; Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Province Issues High Wind-Effect Warning for Areas of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg,” 28 July 2019; Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Province Issues Extended Heat Advisory,” 1 August 2019; Manitoba, “Media Bulletin – Manitoba: Manitoba Rent Guideline Adjustment Set for 2020,” 12 August 2019.

[36] Canada. Privy Council Office, Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Secretaries of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During An Election. (Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2008): 1; Canada. Privy Council Office, Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Secretaries of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During An Election (Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2015): no page number online.

[37] David Akin, “ANALYSIS: In this pre-writ period, Liberal ministers find a fondness for visits to battleground ridings,” Global News, 9 July 2019; CBC News, “$1.5B in frigate repair contracts split among yards in three provinces,” 16 July 2019.

[38] Canada. Privy Council Office, Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Secretaries of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During An Election. (Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2008): 1; Canada. Privy Council Office, Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Secretaries of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During An Election (Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2015): no page number online.

[39] Ian Froese, “Manitoba NDP Demands Pre-Election Freeze on Controversial Government Decisions,” CBC News, 23 June 2019.

[40] Ian Froese, “Manitoba NDP Demands Pre-Election Freeze on Controversial Government Decisions,” CBC News, 23 June 2019.

[41] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 61, 3 June 2019: page 2320.

[42] Manitoba, “News Release – Manitoba: Province Releases Report of Government Advertising,” 1 May 2019; Michael Green, Report on Proposed Legislation Concerning Government Advertising (Winnipeg: Government of Manitoba, 2019).

[43] CBC News, “Manitoba Tory Leader Defences ‘Infidel Atheists’ Remark,” 2 December 2013.

[44] CBC News, Manitoba Premier Says He’ll Be in Costa Rica Six to Eight Weeks A Year,” 18 December 2018.

[45] Chris Glover et al., Brian Pallister Spends Nearly 1 in 5 Days of His Time in Costa Rica, Travel Logs Show,” CBC News, 14 April 2016.

[46] Maclean’s, Manitoba Premier Says Indigenous Night Hunting is Starting a ‘Race War’,” 20 January 2017.

[47] Steve Lambert, “Manitoba Progressive Conservatives could call early election,” CBC News, 27 December 2018.

[48] Bartley Kives, “After cutting the PST, Brian Pallister has nothing left to do but call an election,” 8 March 2019.

[49] Ian Froese, “Early election or not, Manitoba’s political parties working to get candidates in place,” CBC News, 29 March 2019.

[50] Ian Froese, “Premier Says He Won’t Call An Election While Manitobans Are Sandbagging,” CBC News, 12 March 2019.

[51] Ian Froese, “Pallister Sends Manitobans to Polls Sept. 10, Ending Months of Election Speculation,” CBC News, 19 June 2019.

[52] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 38B, 11 April 2019, page 1199.

[53] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 56B, 23 May 2019, page 2110.

[54] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 56B, 23 May 2019, page 2110.

[55] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 61, 3 June 2019: page 2334.

[56] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 57, 23 May 2019, page 2137.

[57] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 38B, 11 April 2019: page 1211.

[58] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 34B, 4 April 2019: page 1035.

[59] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 34B, 4 April 2019: page 1035.

[60] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 49B, 9 May 2019, 1768.

[61] Standing Order 2(1), Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceeding of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (Winnipeg: Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 2018), page 2.

[62] Manitoba, Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 41st Legislature, 4th Session, Official Report (Hansard), Volume LXXII, No. 61, 3 June 2019: page 2381-2382; Standing Order 2(1), Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceeding of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba (Winnipeg: Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, 2018), page 2.

[63] Michael Green, Report on Proposed Legislation Concerning Government Advertising (Winnipeg: Government of Manitoba, 2019), 1.

[64] Anne Twomey, The Veiled Sceptre: Reserve Powers of Heads of State in Westminster Systems (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 514-515.

[65] Anne Twomey, The Veiled Sceptre: Reserve Powers of Heads of State in Westminster Systems (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 519.

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