Alberta Minute – Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- Most of this week will be filled with introduction of new bills, with at least 12 pieces of legislation expected during the “Summer of Repeal”. Bill 2 will be the Open for Business Act which introduces a lower minimum wage for young workers, and restores the right to a secret ballot in union certification votes.
- Bill 3, the Job Creation Tax Cut Act, will also be introduced this week and drops Alberta’s business tax rate from 12% to 8% (the previous government had raised it from 10% to 12%). Economists estimate that this reduction will generate 55,000 new full-time jobs, and increase the size of Alberta’s economy by $12.7 billion.
- Bill 4, the Red Tape Reduction Act, will measure, report and reduce regulation imposed by the Government, with the aim of reducing the overall regulatory burden by one third. The Act will also be amended later in the year to set legislated timelines for various regulatory approval processes.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The legislature reconvened last week, with MLAs being sworn in on Tuesday and the Speech from the Throne on Wednesday. The speech was a more traditional, short summary of the Government’s plans, compared to what has become a quite partisan event in other provinces and in Alberta in recent years.
- Bill 1, An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax, was the first piece of legislation introduced by the new government. The Act will repeal the NDP’s economy-wide carbon tax but Jason Nixon, Environment Minister, confirmed that the UCP will replace the carbon tax with their own price on carbon, levied against heavy emitters.
- The new Environment Minister also announced that, rather than being “gone” as described by Jason Kenney during the campaign, Energy Efficiency Alberta’s programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Subsidies for lightbulbs will be “gone”, but subsidies for solar panels might not be “gone”.