Alberta Minute: Budget Updates, School Closures, and a Stimulus Package
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- The Legislature is back after the Constituency break and is scheduled to continue debate on the Budget. Given the COVID-19 situation, we suspect the government will try to accelerate the passage of the Budget and then suspend the Legislature again, as happened with the Federal Parliament last week.
- It was also announced last night, that as of this morning all schools in the province are closed indefinitely. Given just yesterday the province said that they were keeping schools open for now because once they were closed they would likely stay closed until the new academic year in September, we don't expect this closure to be short-lived.
- Meanwhile, we had heard that a bill to undo the previous NDP government's ban on private blood collection agencies would be introduced this week, but it remains to be seen whether that will now be delayed given the uncertainty around the Legislature's schedule. This is a repeal that we have been promoting for some time, and repealing a law that limits the effectiveness of our province's health system seems sensible at any time.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Alberta's economy continues to struggle with the combined triple-whammy of federal regulations blocking resource development, an oil price war between Saudia Arabia and Russia, and of course now COVID-19. Asked, directly, multiple times, Canada's Deputy Prime Minister avoided answering the question of what the federal government plans to do to help Alberta. Reminder: While the short-run looks difficult, in the long-run Alberta doesn't need aid, we just need Ottawa to get out of the way!
- In a remarkable opinion piece, Chris Nelson outlined the concerns of many Albertans who were hoping to see the current provincial government take a different approach to the economy than what was taken by the previous NDP government. Instead, we find ourselves with a supposedly fiscal conservative government that is promising to massively increase spending, rack up even more provincial debt, and slosh money around the economy in an attempt to "stimulate" our way out of this mess. Isn't that exactly what the NDP tried for 4 years, and failed miserably? It's time to get taxes and spending under control, not ramp them up further!
- Speaking of which, another option being considered by the provincial government that would hurt, rather than help, the provincial economy is further oil curtailments. Of course the oil and gas industry needs support in this difficult time, but since when has having the government control supply and tell companies how much product to produce "helped" anyone?
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