Alberta Minute: Legislature Paused, More Restrictions, and Trans Mountain Pipeline Blocked By Hummingbirds
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- MLAs were meant to be returning from a Constituency Break this week, but instead, the government has announced that they will be "pausing" the Legislature for a minimum of two weeks. Normally such a suspension would require a vote of the Legislature but recently passed emergency powers allow the government to make this choice unilaterally. Cabinet and Committees will continue to meet remotely.
- On Monday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm there will be a meeting of the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills to discuss Bill Pr2 (The United Church of Canada Amendment Act, 2021) and Bill 216 (the Fire Prevention and Fire Services Recognition Act). On Tuesday from 8:00 am to 10:00 am the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will meet to discuss the Ministry of Labour and Immigration's Annual Report.
- Also on Tuesday from 6:15 pm to 7:15 pm the new Select Special Committee on Real Property Rights will hold their inaugural meeting which will mostly involve procedural tasks. Lastly, on Friday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund will meet, but no agenda has yet been posted.
Last Week In Alberta:
The provincial government, after saying on Monday that new restrictions wouldn't be introduced and could cause a backlash meaning they'd be ineffective, changed its mind on Thursday and implemented new restrictions in "hot spots" around Alberta. A "hot spot" is defined as any community with more than 350 cases per 100,000 residents and at least 250 total cases. As of now, this includes Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Airdrie, Lethbridge, and Strathcona County. The extra restrictions include shifting junior and senior high schools back to online learning, closing gyms again, and more.
- The Province also threatened curfews for municipalities with over 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents, and has given municipalities the power to request curfews as well. Fort McMurray is one municipality that currently meets this criteria but the local Mayor, Don Scott, has said the City does not yet have any plans for a curfew. Banff, however, has said that they are seeking more details about the proposal. What do you think? Should municipalities be given the power to introduce curfews?
- Finally, and in almost unbelievable circumstances, there has been yet another delay in the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Environmental activist groups have created so-called "Community Nest Finding Networks" which go looking for legally protected bird nests to use to try to block the construction of the pipeline. To be clear (and unreported by the media), Trans Mountain had already found the nest, marked it with pink tape, and created a buffer zone around the nest to protect it, but when the activists complained to the Canadian Energy Regulator, an Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officer showed up and halted all work on the pipeline. The stop-work order lasts until August 20th, when nesting season finishes.
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