Alberta Minute: Parole Boards, Inquiry Extensions, and Even More Bad News
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- The Legislature is still on break until February 25th, but Committees continue with the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship meeting on Thursday at 8:30 am. The Committee will continue its review of the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act with seven presentations, including one from the Chair of the AHS board, and one from the Office of the Public Interest Commissioner.
- Building on some of the recommendations from last year's Fair Deal Panel that we advocated for, starting today Alberta will have its own functional provincial parole board for inmates serving their sentences in provincial prisons. Ontario and Quebec already have their own provincial parole boards.
- While Alberta is starting a very long, slow process to reopen (see below), the federal government is going in the other direction, introducing significant new travel restrictions. Flights to sunshine destinations are cancelled, Calgary airport is set to become one of only four airports where other international flights are allowed to land (along with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal), and a self-funded hotel stay for Canadians returning home (estimated to cost $2000) will be required for at least three days until a negative test result can be proven.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The Province put forward a plan to re-open local restaurants and gyms next week, but there will still be many very strict limitations in place. Restaurants will be one household per table while gyms will be open only for one-on-one training sessions. We're not sure that this will quell the tide of civil disobedience from businesses across the Province, as the Province made the announcement sound like a much bigger change than the details actually provide for.
- The Province's inquiry into foreign-funded attacks on Alberta's oil and gas industry was given another (third!) extension for when it has to report back to the government. The commissioner, forensic accountant Steve Allan, now has until May 31, 2021, to table his final report.
- Ottawa announced even more bad news for Alberta, ordering an independent review of Suncor Energy's proposed oilsands extension to replace the Base Plant mine, which will be exhausted in about 10 years. When Suncor applied for the permit they said it was "prudent" to do so early, and it looks like they might have been right. Maybe 10 years will be enough time for Ottawa to make a decision, but given the federal government's remarkable ability to delay oil and gas-related projects beyond anybody's expectations, we won't hold our breath!
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