Alberta Minute: Equalization Debates, Technology Fails, and Oil Prices Keep Climbing
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
Despite the federal government's considerable fanfare in announcing that all its staff would be vaccinated, it turns out federal civil servants living in Alberta and elsewhere may not have to be vaccinated at all. Two-thirds of civil servants are exempt, including people such as park wardens, call centre operators, judges, postal workers, and tax auditors, and for those who are still covered, the program runs on the honour system, so we doubt anyone will lose their job over this.
The price of oil is closing in on $80 a barrel and, while higher energy prices are great for the economy overall, they're still hitting Albertans' pocketbooks at the pumps and on their natural gas bills. Of course, one way the federal government could reduce the pain is to reduce the carbon tax, but, that’s looking unlikely. The provincial government will be raking in extra royalties to the tune of $6.9 billion or even more, too. Will this lead to a plan for a balanced budget in our future?
- The Alberta Legislature’s break continues until October 25th, however, on Friday from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm there will be a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. It will consider the fund’s annual report and the logistics of the annual public meeting for the fund.
Last Week In Alberta:
It emerged that the provincial government’s COVID app - ABTraceTogether - has been a massive flop, costing $4.3 million to allow just 158 Albertans to report their test status to the app. Back in May 2020, we predicted exactly this would happen, but even we underestimated just how expensive - and just how useless - it would be. Life lesson - never underestimate government incompetence!
- The debate over equalization is heating up ahead of next week’s provincial referendum. Our friends at Project Confederation made a presentation to an online event/webinar, and you can read their remarks here. A new group, called The New West, also hosted a debate on the referendum, which can be viewed here. The referendum will be included with your municipal vote on October 18th, and because the question is whether to remove equalization, you have to vote yes to remove equalization from the Constitution, or vote no to keep equalization in the Constitution.
- Speaking of things that don’t work, the provincial government released a QR Code update for their “totally not a vaccine passport” vaccine passport. But - shocker(!) - it can't actually be scanned by any app... yet...
The Alberta Institute doesn't accept any government funding and never will. We think you should be free to choose, for yourself, which organizations to support. If you're in a position to contribute financially, you can make a donation here.
If you're not in a position to donate, we understand, but if you appreciate our work, you can help by spreading our message. Please forward this email to your friends, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and help make sure every Albertan knows what's going on in our province.