Manitoba Government House Leader Kelvin Goertzen says a number of pieces of legislation, which should have local interest, were approved prior to the Manitoba Legislature rising for the summer break.

The Legislature rose last week, and Goertzen says one of the main pieces of legislation to be approved was the provincial budget. He notes that is not something that is always approved in spring. And, because of its approval, Goertzen says that means Manitobans will start to see more on their paychecks, beginning this summer. 

"People are going to see in July, they are going to be able to have more on their paycheck because we've changed the basic personal exemption, how much money you can earn before you start paying taxes," explains Goertzen.

He notes there is also the province's hearing aid program, which enables Manitobans over the age of 65 to apply for up to $2,000 in support for those with hearing aids. 

Goertzen says there were also many pieces of legislation that related to justice. One, in particular, is the Intimate Image Protection Act. Goertzen explains there are more and more individuals distributing intimate images to others without permission. He notes this can have huge long-term impacts on individuals, particularly young people. 

Goertzen says they have changed the onus of proof when it comes to distributing intimate images. That means, if an individual is distributing an intimate image of someone else, they now have to prove that they had permission. Prior to now, the individual who had their image distributed had to prove that they did not give permission. 

"I think it will make it tougher on those individuals and hopefully it sends a message that this has a life-long impact when these images are distributed," he adds. 

According to Goertzen, there were 15 private member's bills that were approved, which he says may very well be a record. Nine of those were from Progressive Conservative members, five were from the NDP and there was one Liberal bill. Goertzen says this shows that democracy can work and that there is a lot of collaboration between political parties.

But, Goertzen says he was disappointed in the one private member's bill that did not get third reading. That was a bill by PC MLA Andrew Micklefield that would have seen Providence University College and Theological Seminary granted its wish to be recognized with full university status. Goertzen notes he worked closely with both Micklefield and Providence on this bill.

"I was disappointed," says Goertzen. "Also disappointed that the NDP didn't provide a particularly good reason for not passing it."

However, Goertzen says whether it happens through a private member's bill or a government bill, he believes that Providence will one day be recognized as a full university.

Meanwhile, even though the Manitoba Legislature has risen for summer, Goertzen says it will still be a busy next few months as he continues to lead the Justice Department and prepare for the October election. And, with many MLAs announcing their plans to retire, while others may not be re-elected in fall, Goertzen says it is a little bit like the end of a season for a sports team where you know there will be personnel changes before you gather together again.