Alberta Minute: Restrictions Ended, Estimates Begin, and Russian Oil Banned
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature is back and will sit beginning on Monday, carrying on in the afternoons through to Thursday. We are expecting an amendment to the Municipal Government Act to be tabled this week, amongst other items.
Committees will be meeting this week to discuss the main estimates, which are essentially the provincial budget broken down by department. Rather than list the details of every meeting here, we’ve written an explainer that includes a handy spreadsheet that lists which department is meeting and when. Estimates considerations will continue for about two weeks.
- Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has made changes that will allow private cannabis retailers to conduct online sales for the first time. AGLC will be exiting the online market, and a final bit of red tape will make things more difficult for those companies looking to enter it. Cannabis retailers must obtain an endorsement to their license from AGLC in order to conduct online sales and must also have a physical retail store in order to obtain the license, which eliminates a lot of the reasons you would want an online store in the first place.
Last Week In Alberta:
The provincial government announced the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions, including the mask mandate, last week. We, of course, had been petitioning to end the restrictions for quite a while. Thanks to over 29,000 people who signed our petition! It's good to see that the government responded to the pressure to open back up. Masks are now only required on public transit, in AHS facilities, and in long-term care centres.
- Speaking of restrictions, the provincial government also announced that they would amend the Municipal Government Act to prevent certain cities (looking squarely at you, Edmonton!) from imposing mask mandates of their own. We are not sure why Edmonton City Council thinks they are the foremost authority in contagious disease control when the provincial government has an entire department full of disease specialists to advise them. Funnily enough, we've also been calling for the Province to override local restrictions for quite some time too.
- Finally, the federal government announced it would ban the importation of Russian oil in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And yes, you guessed it, this was another one of our policy proposals too! We were the first organization in Canada to publicly call for blocking Russian oil and are heartened that the ban will now include refined products as well, after the federal government first announced it would only include crude oil. If only we had Keystone XL and Energy East built, to ship Alberta oil to customers!
The Alberta Institute doesn't accept any government funding and never will. We think you should be free to choose, for yourself, which organizations to support. If you're in a position to contribute financially, you can make a donation here.
If you're not in a position to donate, we understand, but if you appreciate our work, you can help by spreading our message. Please forward this email to your friends, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and help make sure every Albertan knows what's going on in our province.