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Bill 226 would bring needed modernization to Presumption of Death Act
A private member’s bill introduced by Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield was debated this morning in the Manitoba legislature.
Introduced earlier this year, Bill 226, the Presumption of Death and Declaration of Absence Act and Amendments to the Insurance Act, brings needed modernization to Manitoba’s current Presumption of Death Act, which has not been amended since becoming law in 1968.
“Numerous problems with the existing legislation were identified in a 2015 report by the Manitoba Law Reform Commission,” said Micklefield. “This bill builds on the law commission’s recommendations and provides a clearer path for families of missing loved ones seeking closure on their affairs.”
The bill also gives judges the power to declare a person missing for specified purposes if the finality of declaring the person dead is not warranted or prudent.
Although supported by Progressive Conservatives, Opposition MLAs chose to use their allotted speaking time to run out the clock and prevent Bill 226 from going to a vote at second reading – which would have sent it to a committee for a review and a public hearing.
“I am disappointed that the Opposition has chosen to play political games,” said Micklefield. “Families I have spoken to have told me this legislation can make a real difference for those trying to cope with missing loved ones. I hope we will soon be able to move Bill 226 forward for the benefit of those who have long been waiting for these changes.”