Alberta Minute: Referenda Announced, Heatwave Fallout, and a Surprise For Ratepayers
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature and its committees are on summer break, and the Legislature is not set to resume until October 25th, though some committee meetings may continue through the summer.
Alberta is continuing to negotiate with the federal government regarding funding for childcare. Although the Premier has criticized the program for not being flexible enough (especially considering the prevalence of shift-work in Alberta), the provincial minister responsible for the file said that Alberta was committed to working with the federal government to find ways to improve childcare in Alberta.
- Alberta ratepayers will see a surprise increase on their utility bills in the next few months, as outstanding debt owed to gas and electricity providers - resulting from last year's three-month utility deferral program - begins to be paid back. Of the $92 million dollars in deferred payments, about $13 to $16 million remains outstanding. Ordinary citizens who did pay their bills will, once again, be picking up the tab.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The heatwave that swept across the province in late June and early July has been bad news for many Alberta farmers especially in the southern end of the province where dryland crops haven't fared well. The provincial Minister of Agriculture has called upon the federal government to activate Agrirecovery which pays out to producers to cover extraordinary costs during natural disasters. The Province has also activated AFSC crop adjusters to complete early assessments on pastureland and standing crops.
The provincial government finalized which questions will be on the ballots along with the municipal and school board trustees this fall. The government said they will hold referenda on the federal equalization program and the status of daylight savings time. Questions regarding creating a provincial police force, and a provincial pension plan will require more study, according to the government. Head on over to our friends at Project Confederation for further analysis of the referenda.
- A federal Parliamentary Budget Office report noted that Alberta’s financial track is unsustainable and that to stabilize the Province's debt load a permanent spending reduction or tax increase of about 3% - which would total some $9.5 billion a year - would be necessary. We definitely don't want to pay $9.5 billion more per year in taxes, so it's time to find efficiencies in government.
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