Alberta Minute: Legislature Returns, Provincial Budget, and Emergencies Act Controversy
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature will be returning this week. On Tuesday, the Speech from the Throne will lay out a new agenda for Jason Kenney and the provincial government. The speech will be delivered at 3:00 pm.
The provincial government will also be delivering the 2023 budget at 3:15pm on Thursday. Last we heard, Alberta will in fact be on track to deliver a balanced budget - quite the reversal of fortunes from the $18 billion deficit originally forecast. Finally, in Committees, the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future will meet on Wednesday at 9:00 am to discuss several items related to a review of the Lobbyists Act.
- Campaigning is now underway in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche after the provincial government called a by-election in the area for March 15th. Unusually, the UCP party candidate (Brian Jean) is openly campaigning against the UCP leader Jason Kenney. Ariana Mancini (a teacher) is running for the NDP. There are a number of other parties running candidates as well, including the Alberta Advantage Party, the Alberta Liberal Party, and the Wildrose Independence Party.
Last Week In Alberta:
The Coutts border blockade opposing COVID restrictions ended peacefully, with protestors and police shaking hands as the protestors departed. In the last few days of the protest, 13 people were arrested after armour and weapons were found, though the RCMP said these people were not actually protestors and had infiltrated the protest. Following the seizures, the organizers of the protest called it off, saying their point had been made. The border crossing is now fully reopened to traffic. Turns out we didn't need the Emergencies Act to peacefully end the blockade after all...
- On that note: The federal government invoked the Emergencies Act to try and dislodge a truck blockade in downtown Ottawa. The last time such extraordinary powers were used was in 1970 when the War Measures Act, the predecessor to the Emergencies Act, was invoked due to a terrorist group setting off over 200 bombs, and kidnapping and murdering the Deputy Premier of Quebec, Pierre Laporte. Some honking from parked vehicles hardly seems comparable to these events. Instead, through a lack of leadership and lack of foresight, Ottawa allowed itself to become paralyzed by nothing more than parked big rigs. Invoking the Emergencies Act was a huge, unnecessary overreach by the government. Sign our petition against using the Emergencies Act if you agree that this was an over-reaction and power grab by the federal government.
- The mask mandate ended at schools across the province on Valentine’s Day and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has forbidden schools from setting their own mandates. A lawyer representing some students with disabilities and the Alberta Federation of Labour went to court seeking to reverse the government’s decision and allow the school board to reimpose their own mask mandate. Their request for an immediate reinstatement of the mandates was dismissed by a judge.
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