Alberta Minute: Donair Costume, Decentralizing AHS, and Commonwealth Games Debacle
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Government of Alberta is making headlines - for a truly hilarious reason. The Province is auctioning off a one-of-a-kind donair costume. Its condition is described on the auction site as both “dusty” and “excellent”, and it comes with a silver body suit to complete the "authentic tinfoil look." The donair was apparently purchased in 2015 for a traffic safety video campaign about driving while high on cannabis, but the video was never made. Now, there’s a bidding war - two local restaurants have made bids over $15,000 in an attempt to score the strange item. Premier Danielle Smith even took the coveted costume out to the Taste of Edmonton festival and got herself a donair for dinner. The auction runs until August 14th - what price do you think it will ultimately fetch?
Alberta Grains is the name of the newly merged Alberta Wheat Commission and Alberta Barley commission. The new organization will begin operating on August 1st. Draft bylaws are available for viewing online. Farmers can heave-ho, hi-ho, and provide feedback until tomorrow.
- Applications are now open for Every Kid Can Play, a program that helps families with the cost of youth sports. The Province provided funding to KidSport, who will administer grants of up to $350 per child to eligible families. It’s expected that the program will help 8,500 children and youth in Alberta.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Premier Danielle Smith has tasked her Minister of Health, Adriana LaGrange, with decentralizing Alberta Health Services. In 2008, the Progressive Conservative government merged all the regional health authorities, creating the first provincewide health authority in the country. Smith wants to return to a more localized system where managers can make quick decisions for their areas. The mandate letter lays out a number of other priorities for LaGrange, all focused on improving health care delivery in the province while ensuring no one ever pays out of pocket to see a doctor. Other highlights include adding more obstetrics doctors to communities like Lethbridge and Fort McMurray, investing $10 million in a provincial midwifery strategy, recruiting and retaining medical professionals, and resolving delays in lab services.
Victoria, a state in Australia, has backed out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to rising costs. The cancellation has put the spotlight back on Alberta’s potential bid for the 2030 games. Around $3 million in provincial and municipal funding has already been spent exploring the feasibility of hosting the 2030 games, and the Bid Committee says the cancellation in Australia won’t impact the work being done in Alberta, but it really should. It should be a lesson to Alberta that these things always go over budget and provide very little economic benefit to their host cities. The Province is toying with the idea of mandating a referendum for future international game bids, but the framework isn't expected to be in place in time for this bid. We'll have more to say on this in the next few days, but if you agree that there should be No Taxpayer Funding For The Commonwealth Games, sign our petition here.
- Nathan Neudorf, the Minister of Affordability and Utilities, received his mandate letter. He has been asked by the Premier to continue pushing back on federal ambitions to reach net-zero by 2035, as well as to look at how to get rising insurance and utilities costs under control. Premier Smith said that, while work is being done, anyone on the Regulated Rate Option for electricity should look at getting on a different plan as soon as possible, noting that the “regulated” rate is actually misnamed. It’s the most volatile rate, and doesn’t offer protection for consumers in terms of price stability. Smith applauded the province’s free market options, but said that additional, longer-term options are necessary for people who are struggling.
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