Alberta Minute: RCMP Vacancies, Federal Budget, and the Rate of Last Resort

Alberta Minute: RCMP Vacancies, Federal Budget, and the Rate of Last Resort

Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.


Alberta Legislature by IQRemix on Flickr


This Week In Alberta:

  • There will be afternoon sittings of the Legislature Monday through Thursday, in addition to Committee meetings. Today, the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund will meet at 9:00 am to discuss the logistics of the annual public meeting as well as the draft 2023-24 Annual Report of the Committee. On Tuesday, at 8:00 am, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will meet to discuss the 2022-23 Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services Annual Report. Finally, the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship will meet on Thursday at 9:00 am to review the Personal Information Protection Act.

  • Alberta's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, Mike Ellis, is expressing concern about the significant vacancy rates in the RCMP that affect rural Alberta. In Alberta, there is a 21.6% vacancy rate, which translates to 413 unfilled positions. This issue has led to inadequate police coverage in some areas. Despite a $21 million increase in RCMP funding in the 2024 budget, totaling $377.8 million, recruitment challenges persist.

  • The Province is gearing up for an active wildfire season by hiring and training staff early, acquiring equipment for nighttime firefighting, and providing weekly updates to the public. Forestry and Parks Minister Todd Loewen highlighted the hiring of 297 wildland firefighters, 280 Firetack contracted firefighters, and 182 seasonal support staff as part of their proactive strategy.


Last Week In Alberta:

  • The Province has renamed the default electricity price, known as the regulated rate option (RRO), the "Rate of Last Resort" in an effort to encourage consumers to explore more stable pricing options available through retail providers. This renaming is part of a broader series of changes aimed at reducing the volatility of electricity prices, which have fluctuated dramatically in recent years, affecting many residents. Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf said that the previous name misled consumers into believing the rate was protected, whereas it actually varied considerably. The new measures will also see default rate providers shift to a longer two-year procurement term, which is aimed at stabilizing prices, but could also undermine the competitive market.

  • Alberta has finalized its largest water-sharing agreements in over a century, targeting major water users across several sub-basins within the South Saskatchewan River Basin, which supports the water needs of major cities like Calgary and Red Deer. Announced by Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz, these voluntary agreements involve water consumption reductions, with municipalities aiming to cut water use by 5 to 10%. The agreements, triggered by reservoir levels and river flow data, also include commitments from industrial operations and irrigation districts to reduce their water use. This proactive measure responds to the risk of severe drought exacerbated by below-average snowpack and dry conditions.

  • The federal government tabled their latest budget, proposing $52.9 billion in new spending. Premier Danielle Smith criticized the budget for what she called “​​overtaxing, overspending, over-borrowing and over-interfering in provincial affairs”. Smith took issue with the increase in the federal government's interest rate payments on debt, which have escalated significantly and now exceed the funds allocated to health care. She argued that the federal government's focus should be on fulfilling its commitments rather than increasing the financial burden through additional borrowing, which she equated to wastefully "throwing money away”.




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  • Alberta Institute
    published this page in News 2024-04-21 22:17:33 -0600