Alberta Minute: Fiscal Update, Police Pay, and Photo Radar Cash Cows
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature will meet for its last week of sittings before Christmas - wait, Christmas already?! The Legislature is scheduled to meet until Thursday, but we hear that it's quite likely they will be finished by Tuesday. The first order of business will be Bill 73, the Infrastructure Accountability Act, followed by a number of government bills at Committee of the Whole.
In committee news, on Thursday from 8:00 am to 10:00 am the Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future will meet to receive a presentation and continue work on the Lobbyists Act review.
- Alberta is administering COVID-19 booster shots to all adults in phases, beginning today. As of this morning, Albertans aged 60 years and older can receive third doses. To be eligible, at least six months must have elapsed from the date of the second dose. The provincial government said it would expand booster eligibility to those 18 and older early in the new year.
Last Week In Alberta:
The provincial government released a fiscal update that showed some good news. The projected deficit for 2021 has decreased from a staggering $18.2 billion to $5.8 billion thanks primarily to rising oil prices. This is indeed good news however with all the deficits we’ve been incurring, total debt is still scheduled to reach an astounding $101.6 billion by spring.
- The provincial government announced new guidelines for photo radar but didn't follow through and ban them entirely. The new rules - amongst other things - prohibit the setting up of new photo radar sites for a further two years, prohibit them from roads with speed limits less than 50km/h, and only permit them in construction zones when workers are present. The NDP, who started the reforms in 2019, criticized the government for not going far enough - not something you see every day!
- Municipalities around Alberta that use contract RCMP policing raised the alarm over unexpected costs being downloaded to them by the federal government. In June 2020, the federal government struck a new labour deal with the police union that awarded retroactive pay to members going back to 2017. Unfortunately, despite the federal government negotiating the deal, municipalities are the ones responsible for paying for much of it!
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