Alberta Minute: Throne Speech, Unequal Treatment, and a Final Tour Stop
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
This week marks the final event on our Can't Stop Alberta Tour. After 23 amazing events, we’re headed to Edmonton on Wednesday. We’ll be discussing the Alberta Pension Plan, K-12 education, Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa, municipal politics, and more. Attendance is free, but if you’re so inclined, you can make a donation to help cover our venue hire costs and our travel expenses. Thanks to each and every one of you who came out to one of our stops. We were fortunate enough to meet people from Lethbridge to Fort McMurray, Lloydminster to Grande Prairie, and everywhere in between. If we didn’t come to your city, don't worry, we’re planning another tour soon!
The Legislature will resume this afternoon with the Throne Speech at 3:00 pm. It can be watched live online. There will be afternoon sittings of the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
- Alberta is collaborating with software company AltaML to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology aimed at predicting wildfire locations. This AI-based prediction tool utilizes decades of fire data and weather forecasting to help allocate resources for firefighting efforts more accurately. The goal is to provide pinpoint locations of potential fires, optimize resource placement, and potentially save $2 million to $5 million annually.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Alberta's UCP and NDP both criticized the federal government for its decision to exempt home heating oil from the carbon tax for three years - a decision that largely benefits Eastern Canada, where heating oil is used. Premier Danielle Smith called out Ottawa’s inequitable treatment on social media, saying that “the federal government needs to step up and cancel the carbon tax or make this exception for every province and every fuel type.” Finance Minister Nate Horner said he was “extremely disappointed that Canadians in Alberta, Saskatchewan and other provinces who heat their homes with natural gas have been neglected.”
Premier Danielle Smith committed to obtaining a firm, finalized number for how much Alberta would receive if it withdraws from the Canada Pension Plan before asking Albertans to make a decision. Smith said that Albertans need a hard number before her government would proceed with a referendum. Other provinces have weighed in on the matter too - Ontario complained to the federal government about Alberta’s potential withdrawal, and federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland agreed to convene a meeting with provincial and territorial finance ministers to discuss the matter.
- The Province announced an investment of over $23 million to support foster caregivers and young people in care. Starting on November 30th, the government will pay the daily skill fee to foster caregivers caring for those in the Transition to Adulthood Program who are 18 or older, and cover the cost of five hours of counselling per year for licensed foster homes to improve caregivers' mental health. Existing caregivers will also be able to participate in the "Refer-a-Foster Caregiver" program, which will offer an incentive of $500 for each referral to an individual, couple, or family that becomes licensed to provide a foster home.
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