Alberta Minute: Consultations, Pay Cuts, and Unemployment

Alberta Minute – Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.

Alberta Legislature by IQRemix on Flickr

This Week In Alberta:

  • The Legislature is still on break for Summer, and the next scheduled meeting is a Standing Committee on Public Accounts meeting on September 10th. Other, as yet unscheduled meetings are, of course, possible.
  • Public consultations continue over Summer, however, with the government’s AHS review getting underway. Ernst and Young have been hired to conduct the review and they are now accepting public submissions. Details of the review, and instructions on how to submit are available here.
  • As well as appointing two industry panels, the government is accepting public submissions on Red Tape Reduction, so if you know of a rule, regulation, or process that should be reformed or eliminated entirely, you can submit your suggestions here.

 

Last Week In Alberta:

  • The Standing Committee on Member Services voted unanimously to cut the pay of MLAs and the Premier by 5% and 10%, respectively. The committee also abolished the fuel card system that allowed MLAs to double-dip on both fuel and mileage expenses. While these cuts are a step in the right direction and help to set a precedent of fiscal restraint, MLA pay and expenses are only a tiny portion of Alberta’s budget and the government will need to tackle the much larger problem of exorbitant pay and compensation within public-sector unions and the wider bureaucracy in order to get the provincial budget to a sustainable point.
  • One month of data doesn’t make a trend but, for the first time in many years, Edmonton’s unemployment rate is higher than Calgary’s. In July, Calgary‚Äôs unemployment rate dropped to 6.9%, while Edmonton’s unemployment rate rose to 7.5%. The Alberta average also rose from 6.6% to 7.0%.
  • The new government marked 100 days in office with Premier Jason Kenney giving a press conference detailing the government’s actions in those first 100 days. The government claims to have fulfilled 68 of their 375 campaign promises including the carbon tax repeal, the job creation tax cut, and the recently passed cut to MLA pay.