Alberta Minute: Government Accountability, Privacy Rights, and Safe Or Essential
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- At a time when accountability should be more important than ever, the government has removed dates and the projected government business section from the Legislature's Order Paper. The Order Paper is supposed to lay out the government's plan for the coming week and removing these types of details reduces the ability of organizations like ours to hold the government to account. We understand plans can change rapidly in the current circumstances, but the Order Paper is always subject to change anyway, so there's really no reason to abandon transparency.
- Given the above, there's not much we can tell you about what will be happening this week. Bill 1 - the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act; Bill 2 - the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act; and Bill 4 - the Fiscal Planning and Transparency (Fixed Budget Period) Amendment Act, are all currently at Second Reading, where they've been parked since February.
- Meanwhile, Bill 3 - the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Amendment Act; Bill 8 - the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act; and Bill 13 - the Emergency Management Amendment Act, are all currently before the Committee of the Whole.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Government watchdogs expressed concern about the extent and reach of Alberta's Bill 10. The Bill provides the government and its agents (such as the police) a wide range of new powers over and above the extra powers the Alberta Public Health Act already gives them in an emergency.
- Premier Kenney also outlined elements of his plan for Alberta's recovery from the pandemic. While efforts such as wider testing are welcome, he also suggested the province would use "cellphone tracking" without going into any details about how such tracking would work and how privacy rights would be protected. We'll be keeping a close eye on this.
- People are beginning to question the economic costs of the ongoing lockdown. While protecting people's health, and the healthcare system is important, policymakers must recognize the tradeoffs. We think instead of deciding what's open or closed based on what is essential or non-essential, the test should be whether something is safe or unsafe. Shouldn't things like golf courses, landscaping, and such - that can operate perfectly safely - be allowed to re-open?
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