Alberta Minute: Legislature Returns, School Returns, and Drone Spying Shot Down
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- We hope you're enjoying your long weekend! The Legislature finally resumes tomorrow, after a three-week break due to COVID-19. The Legislature is scheduled to sit Tuesday morning, afternoon and evening, Wednesday morning, afternoon and evening, and Thursday morning and afternoon. First up on Tuesday will be Bill 64, the Public Lands Amendment Act, 2021. Committees will not meet this week.
- In-person schooling for grades K-12 will also resume for almost all areas of Alberta this week, the exception being in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo where continuing outbreaks mean at-home schooling will continue for at least one more week. The most shocking part about all this is that the "two-week" shutdown actually ended up being just two weeks, for once!
- In yet another ridiculous example of the inconsistency of COVID rules, the Public Health Agency of Canada has now backtracked and says that travellers who travel across the border solely to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine are not exempt from the quarantine requirement. Just to be clear, that means the rules are now: If you're vaccinated, you have to do a hotel quarantine, unless you've tested positive, then you don't, unless you test negative after testing positive, then you do, unless you're returning from getting a medical procedure, then you don't, unless that medical procedure was getting a vaccine, then you do. (And yes, we have all those the right way around, we triple-checked.)
Last Week In Alberta:
- It was revealed (by us!) that the Alberta government had put out a Request for Proposals for drones that would patrol Alberta crown lands and spy on people going camping or hanging out in groups of 10 or more this summer. We quickly launched a petition, gathered over 5500 signatures, and had the government backpedalling mere hours later. A huge thank you to everyone who signed the petition and told the government that spying on their own citizens with drones was not acceptable!
- Massive debt loads have resulted in bond rating Agency S&P Global downgrading Alberta's credit rating from A+ to A. "Reflecting the province's large after-capital deficits, which will average more than 25% of total revenues during fiscal 2020-2024, we have lowered Alberta's stand-alone credit profile (SACP) by one notch," said S&P. And before certain people start calling for tax increases, let's make one thing clear... despite the pandemic, and despite oil prices, if Alberta spent the same per-capita as Ontario, we would have a budget surplus this year.
- Lastly, the provincial government's long-delayed inquiry into foreign funding of anti-energy campaigns has been given a fourth (!) extension until the end of July. The Premier said that during his time in public service, he can't ever recall a public inquiry that's come in on time.
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