Alberta Minute: School Returns, Police Inquiry, and Traffic Justice Denied
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
In-person schooling resumes for K-12 students across the province today. On December 30th, the provincial government decided to extend the winter break until January 10th, forcing parents to make hasty last-minute arrangements.
The Legislature is on break, likely until February. Committees are set to return on Tuesday, however, when the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices will meet from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. They will discuss the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate’s 2020-21 annual report.
- A “Keep Alberta RCMP” tour is travelling across the province, trying to derail any plans the provincial government may have for an Alberta police force. As we’ve noted previously, the provincial government has been studying this issue for several reasons including increasing provincial autonomy and addressing complaints from rural Albertans about the service levels the RCMP provides. The tour is being put on by the RCMP members’ union, the National Police Federation.
Last Week In Alberta:
The Province implemented a controversial change in how traffic infractions will be handled. Defendants will now have to pay to have their day in court. Critics called it “an attempt to take away the Charter rights from the public in Alberta.” Ouch. This fundamental change to the justice system puts the onus on defendants to prove their innocence rather than on the prosecution to prove guilt. Furthermore, in some cases, those wanting to challenge tickets could have as little as a week to do so. We'll be doing more work on this important issue in the coming weeks.
- A public inquiry was called into the troubled Lethbridge Police Service following several instances where police databases were used without an investigative purpose, most notably against former NDP Cabinet Minister Shannon Phillips. The investigation will not review that incident in particular but will look at the policies and procedures that have governed database use in the organization over the past 10 years. The report is due to conclude in July 2022.
- Alberta launched an online portal for those with mild COVID-19 symptoms to manage those symptoms at home. Given that most cases of Omicron seem mild, this is good news. Perhaps we should have done this two years ago when COVID-19 first came to our shores!
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