Alberta Minute: Suzuki Comments, Rural Municipalities, and Passport Privacy Woes
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature will sit on Monday afternoon and evening, all day Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Thursday morning and afternoon. The second readings of Bill 78, The Alberta Housing Amendment Act, 2021 and Bill 81, the Election Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 are up first on Monday evening. In addition, the Legislature will resume debate on Motion 104, condemning David Suzuki’s recent comments about blowing up pipelines (see below).
In news from Legislature Committees, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts will meet tomorrow from 8:00 am to 10:00 am to discuss the Transportation Ministry’s 2020-21 Annual Report and Outstanding Recommendations from the Auditor General. On Friday the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices will meet from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm. No agenda is posted yet.
- Meanwhile, in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, the race is heating up to fill the vacant seat left by the UCP’s Laila Goodridge when she was elected to federal Parliament. The UCP nomination will be decided by a vote of local party members on December 11th, and is being sought by former Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and Fort McMurray engineer Joshua Gogo. The NDP does not have any registered candidates for a nomination yet, suggesting they are likely to simply appoint someone. The date for the by-election itself has not yet been set by the Premier.
Last Week In Alberta:
Environmentalist David Suzuki made a comment that pipelines would be “blown up” if government leaders don’t take action on climate change. These extreme comments led to a motion (Motion 104) from the provincial government condemning the remarks. It was heartening to see several MLAs from both sides of the House speak in favour of the motion. After all, pipelines are critical to our way of life and economic prosperity here in Alberta. Debate on the motion was adjourned without a vote being taken, but one is likely to occur this week.
- In COVID news, the provincial government rolled out another 'upgrade' to their vaccine passport QR codes, only for the new version to be immediately taken down thanks to privacy leaks. Who could possibly have guessed that a centralized database of private medical information could become a privacy issue (oh, wait, we did!). The Province also clarified that ski hills will not need to require proof of vaccination for riding gondolas and chairlifts, only for indoor areas such as the lodge eating areas.
- The Rural Municipalities of Alberta held their fall convention last week at the Edmonton Expo Centre. At the conference, both the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition spoke about improving internet access in rural Alberta. The provincial government highlighted its $150 million investment to improve rural connectivity while the opposition presented a $520 million plan instead.
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