Alberta Minute: Contract Extension, Fuel Tax, and MLAs Sworn In
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature remains adjourned, but now that MLAs have been sworn in (more on that below!), contact information for elected officials is available online.
The fuel tax relief program, which saves Albertans 13 cents per litre at the pumps, was set to expire at the end of this month, but will now continue until the end of the year after the Province announced an extension. Premier Danielle Smith said that, despite the price of oil falling below the benchmark, Albertans are still facing challenges with the cost of living due to inflation.
- The petition being run by our friends at Project Confederation to oppose the Just Transition has been making waves. It's now more than halfway to its stretch goal of 50,000 signatures, so if you haven't had a chance to sign it yet, please do so here and help them reach their goal!
Last Week In Alberta:
Members of the Legislative Assembly were sworn in for the new term, and Nathan Cooper was once again elected as Speaker. Cooper, the MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, has held the role since 2019. Angela Pitt (Airdrie-East) was elected Deputy Speaker, and Glenn van Dijken (Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock) will be the Deputy Chair of Committees.
Two judicial recounts were undertaken in Calgary, and both upheld the original results. The NDP’s Diana Batten (Calgary-Acadia) and Nagwan Al-Guneid (Calgary-Glenmore) are now officially confirmed to have won their seats. Both seats had already seen automatic recounts, but these only see election-day votes re-counted, while a judicial recount sees all ballots, including those cast during advanced polling, recounted in front of a judge. Batten's election night lead of 7 votes grew to 25 during the automatic recount and dropped to 22 with the judicial recount, while Al-Guneid won by 30 votes on election night, 42 after the first recount, and 48 in the end.
- The Province has extended the contract of Alberta Health Services’ sole administrator, Dr. John Cowell. The newly appointed Minister of Health, Adriana LaGrange, said that Cowell has made progress on the items he was tasked with, and that tangible metrics such as a 17% decrease in wait times at emergency departments, a drop by almost half in EMS response times, and the addition of more front-line staff, can be seen by Albertans already. Going forward, Cowell will also help to implement a recovery-oriented model of mental health and addictions care.
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