Alberta Minute: Municipalities Conference, Population Boom, and Transit Pass Funding
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange will present her proposal for decentralizing Alberta Health Services (AHS) to Premier Danielle Smith and Cabinet on Wednesday, with potential implementation beginning in the fall to align with the new budget cycle in February. Smith has tasked LaGrange with making AHS more responsive to regional needs.
As we enter the cold and flu season, the Province will be leaving mask-wearing in healthcare settings up to individuals. Some Canadian jurisdictions have recently reinstated mask mandates for hospitals and other healthcare settings, but the Ministry of Health says the Province will not issue such a mandate.
- Alberta is leading the country in population growth, with people flocking to the province both from other countries and the rest of Canada. Statistics Canada says that this year’s numbers mark not only the highest annual net interprovincial gains for Alberta, but the highest annual net interprovincial gains ever recorded for a province since comparable data has been available.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Premier Danielle Smith threatened to use the Sovereignty Act to challenge the federal government's net-zero strategy. The Alberta Electric System Operator also expressed concerns about the economic impact of the net-zero plan, estimating it would cost Albertans $118 billion and impact people’s daily lives. The Province has launched a campaign called "TellTheFeds" to encourage people to contact Ottawa with their concerns about the upcoming Clean Electricity Regulations.
Alberta Municipalities, the organization that represents 265 municipalities across the province, closed out its annual ABMunis conference by reiterating a call for a $1 billion increase in provincial infrastructure funding. The Province already contributes $722 million, but the organization claims that provincial spending on local infrastructure has dropped from 3.7% of total spending a decade ago to just 1%, resulting in a large deficit. Premier Danielle Smith acknowledged the funding issue and expressed a desire to collaborate on a funding model, particularly as municipalities have few options to raise funds other than property taxes.
- The Province announced funding to expand the low-income transit pass to six communities outside Calgary and Edmonton. Residents in Camrose, Hinton, Leduc, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Spruce Grove will be eligible for the passes. The Province will spend $1.7 million to fully cover the cost of implementing the pass, as well as 10% of the municipalities’ administration costs.
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