Alberta Minute: Staged Reopening, Amendments Fail, and Sky Palace Shenanigans
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
- As COVID cases are dropping across the Province, the government is considering moving Alberta to Stage 2 of their reopening plan as early as this Thursday. In Stage 2, restaurants can have people both indoors and outdoors with a maximum of 6 people per table, cinemas and libraries can reopen at 1/3rd capacity, and post-secondary institutions can go back to in-person learning for the summer.
- The Legislature will resume this afternoon with Question Period, followed by Bill 67 (the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act) at Committee of the Whole. The Legislature will also sit tonight, all day on Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Thursday morning and afternoon.
- In Committee news, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will meet on Tuesday from 8:00 am to 10:00 am to consider the 2019-2020 Annual Report for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills will meet also on Tuesday from 6:15 pm to 7:15 pm to consider Bill 219 (the Workers' Compensation (Expanding Presumptive Coverage) Amendment Act, 2021). Finally, on Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship will meet to review the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Stage 1 of the government's reopening plan went in to force on Monday - long overdue. This put Alberta roughly back to where we were a month earlier, including permitting outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and the reopening of personal and wellness services. Restaurants were permitted to reopen patios outside; though restrictions on numbers and household members still applied.
- Bill 51 (the Citizen Initiative Act) was debated in the Legislature. As we've noted before, this Bill is a move in the right direction but there are considerable obstacles to its usage by citizens including very constricted timelines, heavy signature requirements and other logistical problems. Unfortunately, amendments to address these issues were voted down by the Legislature. Bill 52 (the Recall Act) is likely to be heard this week, and faces the same challenges.
- Finally, high-ranking members of the provincial government, including the Premier, Finance Minister, and Health Minister, were photographed having dinner together on the roof of the Sky Palace in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions. After "alohagate" earlier in the year (where other MLAs technically only breached guidance, rather than rules), this breach of the rules is especially galling. Could we all have been having "business meetings" with 8 people this entire time?
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