Alberta Minute: 2021 Budget, Recall Legislation, and Citizens-Initiated Referenda
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- After a one-day sitting for the budget last week, the Legislature is adjourned for a constituency week, until March 8th. However, the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills will be meeting at 9:00 am today to consider the Official Sport of Alberta Act. We're not sure why we need to designate an official sport for the Province, or why that's a priority right now, but here we are. Can you guess what sport is being suggested?
The provincial government may, or may not, announce reduced COVID restrictions at any time this week. Today marks three weeks since the Province moved to "Step 1", and the number of hospitalizations in the Province actually already meets the requirements for entering "Step 3", nevermind "Step 2", but the Province has mandated at least 3 weeks between Steps, meaning we're still at least 9 weeks away from whatever comes after "Step 4", even if everything goes perfectly.
- Calgary-based WestJet will commence further layoffs this week as the airline industry continues to be battered by COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, horror stories from government-run quarantine hotels continue to come in on a daily basis. The system seems plagued with shared buses to hotels, passengers having to interact with dozens of people to be processed and checked in, a lack of dietary-appropriate food (or no food or water at all!) and more, all because driving home to a private residence was apparently not considered "safe" enough.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The big story last week was, of course, the Alberta 2021 Budget. We went through the budget in detail so that you don't have to, and you can find a short summary and analysis of the key points on our website here. Spoiler: Could this budget have been worse? Sure. But, is it great? No.
- In a big step forward, however, it was confirmed that the Province will be introducing both Recall legislation and Citizens-Initiated Referenda in the upcoming legislative session. While full details such as the number of signatures required, etc, aren't available yet, the Province have confirmed that both municipal politicians and school board trustees will be able to recalled - something we have been pushing strongly for.
- Finally, the Province went to war in the Alberta Court of Appeal against the federal government's environmental Impact Assessment Act, but made peace with the Alberta Medical Association with a tentative agreement having been struck. We'll have to wait for more details on both issues, however, with the court's ruling on the Impact Assessment Act not expected for several months, and no details being released about the AMA agreement until their members have a chance to ratify the deal.
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