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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:40 am    Post subject: Steven Fletcher removed from Manitoba pc caucus Reply with quote

( in a somewhat surprising move the Manitoba pc's have removed high profile former mp steven fletcher from caucus )

Manitoba Tories dump Steven Fletcher from caucus

Fletcher recently spoke out against his government’s proposed law

Canadian Press

Friday, June 30th, 2017

WINNIPEG – A high-profile backbench member of the Manitoba legislature who recently spoke out against some of his own government’s policy has been dumped from caucus.

The Progressive Conservatives confirmed Steven Fletcher had been dropped in a news release Friday afternoon.

“Teamwork is a core value of our caucus,” spokeswoman Sarah Guillemard said in a statement that noted the decision was unanimous.

“We were elected by Manitobans to serve as a team. We are proud to work with, learn from, and support each other as a team. Moreover, we believe in the importance of respecting each other as a team.”

Fletcher, a former Conservative MP who won a provincial seat when the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives swept to power last year, said he first learned of the decision from the Winnipeg Free Press.

He said he wasn’t given any specific reason for the move.

Fletcher has been in hot water with the party in recent weeks after speaking out against a proposed law that would create a new Crown agency to promote energy efficiency. He recently tied up two legislature committee meetings by asking questions for hours, late into the night.

He’s also tabled a number of private members bills, including one to reduce the 57 seats in the provincial legislature by eight.

“I have made sure that – as a public servant and a gentleman – that I act for Queen and country first, for my constituents second and everything else is after that, including party,” he said in a interview.

“That is the way it is supposed to be in a democracy.

“I’m doing my job.”

Fletcher, 44, was a member of Parliament between 2004 and 2015 and was Canada’s first quadriplegic MP. He served for a few years as minister of state for democratic reform and minister of state for transport. He lost his seat to Liberal Doug Eyolfson in the 2015 election.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, also a former federal MP, said he abstained from the caucus expulsion vote.

He said he’s got a lot of time for Fletcher, but says being part of caucus is not a right.

“I like and respect Steven Fletcher, worked with him federally, worked with him provincially, but every caucus, every community organization, every sports team, every business, has rules of conduct for its members and being in a caucus and being in an organization requires those rules to be followed,” Pallister said.

“Principles of behaviour have to be established. They have to be maintained.”

Without Fletcher, the Tories still hold 39 of the 57 seats in the legislature.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steven Fletcher expelled from Manitoba PC caucus

'Every team ... has rules of conduct,' Premier Brian Pallister says as rebel MLA disciplined

By Bartley Kives, Cameron MacLean, CBC News Posted: Jun 30, 2017 10:09 AM CT| Last Updated: Jun 30, 2017 2:10 PM CT

Steven Fletcher has publicly quarrelled with his own party a number of times since he was first elected in April 2016.

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives have kicked outspoken MLA Steven Fletcher out of their caucus.

Premier Brian Pallister confirmed the move at a news conference on Friday morning.

The Assiniboia MLA has publicly quarrelled with his own party a number of times since he was first elected in April 2016.

In May, Fletcher filibustered a committee meeting, delaying the passage of a PC bill on Efficiency Manitoba.
■Tory MLA Steven Fletcher stonewalls his party's Efficiency Manitoba bill

"I like and respect Steven Fletcher," Pallister said. "Every caucus, every community organization, every sports team, every business has rules of conduct for those members. And being in a caucus and being in any organization requires those rules to be followed.

"Sadly, sometimes people decide that they'd rather not and so they work alone."

Fort Richmond MLA Sarah Guillemard, speaking on behalf of the PC caucus, said Fletcher violated caucus principles such as respecting confidentiality and supporting the party platform.

She declined to say specifically what Fletcher did.

Pallister also did not specify which rules of conduct Fletcher had violated.

'I haven't done anything wrong'

Fletcher told CBC News he found out about his removal Friday morning and learned of his expulsion from reporters.

"I haven't done anything wrong. I always conduct myself with the greatest respect and honour that accompanies the office," he said.

Pallister said he recused himself from decisions and discussion around the issue.

"That's a caucus decision," he said.

Fletcher, however, said nothing happens without the premier's authorization.

Fletcher has displayed an independent streak that has chafed against traditional party structures, both when he was a federal Conservative MP under Stephen Harper and as a PC MLA in Manitoba under Pallister.

Fletcher annoyed his colleagues by supporting organ-donation legislation and criticizing the province's decision to create a stand-alone energy-efficiency Crown corporation.

Earlier this week, Fletcher repeated that criticism at a public event held by a non-partisan activist organization. He said he does not know if that was the final straw for the PC caucus.

He said he plans to post video of that speech on YouTube.

Fletcher said Pallister knew what he was getting into when the now-premier asked him to run for provincial office.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fletcher kicked out of Progressive Conservative caucus

By Joyanne Pursaga, Winnipeg Sun
First posted: Friday, June 30, 2017 07:06 PM CDT | Updated: Friday, June 30, 2017 07:20 PM CDT
Steven Fletcher

Assiniboia MLA Steven Fletcher is being kicked out of Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative caucus.

The expulsion follows a few incidents in which Fletcher openly criticized his own party since he was elected in April 2016, including his recent filibuster against the government bill to create Efficiency Manitoba. Fletcher has argued the new Crown corporation is unnecessary and too expensive.

But Fletcher stood by his actions on Friday, noting the expulsion came as a surprise.

“I have no regrets. I always conduct myself to the best of my ability,” he said.

The MLA said he will continue to represent his constituency independently and believes he was right to speak his mind, even when doing so departed from the Manitoba PC stance.

“That’s the culture I came from and that does not exist in Manitoba. This would never have happened in the federal Conservative caucus,” said Fletcher.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ousted Manitoba backbencher plans legal challenge for right to cross the floor

By Steve Lambert — Jul 4 2017

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba politician who was kicked out of the governing Progressive Conservative caucus says he's planning a court challenge against a law that forbids him from joining another party's caucus.

Steven Fletcher, who was dumped by the Tories last Friday, said Tuesday a provincial law that forbids him — or any other Manitoba politician — from crossing the legislature floor is unconstitutional.

"That goes against almost every tradition that exists for our parliamentary democratic systems," Fletcher told The Canadian Press.

"I've given instructions to my lawyer to file the necessary paperwork to have the law thrown out on a constitutional basis."

The law was brought in by the former NDP government in 2006 in response to a controversy that erupted when David Emerson left the federal Liberals, weeks after being elected, to join the Conservatives. Then-premier Gary Doer said the aim was to ensure voters' wishes at the ballot box are respected.

The Manitoba law stipulates that any legislature member who ceases to belong to a caucus must sit as an independent until the next election, or resign and run in a byelection under their new party banner.

Fletcher, who served as a member of Parliament between 2004 and 2015 and was Canada's first quadriplegic MP, said he believes there is no similar law elsewhere in the British Commonwealth.

Fletcher was removed from the provincial Tory caucus after criticizing a proposed law that would create a new Crown agency to promote energy efficiency. He tied up two public hearings on the bill by asking questions late into the night.

A spokesperson for Justice Minister Heather Stefanson would not say if the government will fight Fletcher's planned legal action. There will be no formal response until legal documents are filed, press secretary Kalen Qually wrote in an email.

"This is a law that was introduced by the previous government in 2006," he said in a statement. "These types of laws should not supersede the important issues faced by our province."

Fletcher's ability to join another caucus would not mean much to the Tories, who still have 39 of the 57 legislature seats. But if he were to join the Liberals, it would give the struggling party a fourth seat — enough for official party status and the funding that comes with it.

Fletcher said he has no intention of joining another party and simply wants to fight the law on principle. However, he said he feels there are disgruntled members of all three parties and a new caucus could emerge if some were to band together.

"They may exercise their ability to do what they're allowed to do constitutionally, and they may do so simply because they want to be a better representative for their constituency."

Fletcher pointed to the rupture in the Canadian Alliance in 2001, when Deborah Grey, Chuck Strahl, Monte Solberg and others left the Stockwell Day-led party and formed the short-lived Democratic Representative Caucus. Most rejoined after Stephen Harper became leader.

"Look at that group — Monte Solberg, Chuck Strahl. Some of the key people who turned out to be awesome public servants."

The Manitoba Liberals said Tuesday they have long considered the floor-crossing ban to be unconstitutional, but had no plans to talk to Fletcher about joining their team.

"At this time, we are not considering him as a potential fourth (legislature member)," Liberal president Paul Brault said.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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Steven Fletcher removed from Manitoba pc caucus

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