Alberta Minute: Union Cuts, Road Tolls, and the War Room Under Fire Again
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
This week is a Constituency Break week in Edmonton, meaning that there will be no sittings of the Legislature and no Committee meetings. It isn't a holiday for our MLAs though - as the name implies Constituency Break is an opportunity for our representatives to spend time in their local constituencies meeting with those they represent and working on local issues.
- After blocking an NDP motion and then stalling their own motion against independence last week, the UCP's motion asking MLAs to vote to confirm their "loyalty to a united Canada" is technically still on the Order paper, and could be debated again when the Legislature returns.
- Also still on the order paper, and expected to pass when the Legislature returns is Bill 204 (the Voluntary Blood Donations Repeal Act) which we have supported since it was introduced. We'll be watching this one closely.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The provincial government is asking unionized and public service workers in Alberta to take a 4% pay cut. This would leave most public employees earning about the same as they did in 2018, while in the private sector, lots of workers have seen multiple pay cuts, and many have lost jobs entirely. Union leaders' response was to claim that they are being "victimized".
The Canadian Energy Centre (aka the 'War Room') is under fire again, this time in a report from the Auditor-General which expresses concern about various contract issues. The report explains that the CEC "was unable to provide justification for why it relied on sole-source contracts or how it selected its vendors", that "some contract expenses were incurred without appropriate approvals" and that "in some cases, expenses were incurred prior to the contract being signed by both parties." We remain of the view that a government-funded agency is not the best way to change public opinion about our Oil and Gas sector, and this report does nothing to change our mind.
- Meanwhile, the UCP announced plans to use tolls to fund new roads and bridges across the province. Given the state of provincial finances at the moment, realistically it's not a choice between new toll roads or new free roads, it's a choice between new toll roads or no new roads at all, so this seems like a no-brainer to get some much-needed new infrastructure built.
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