News & Updates

    Weekly Roundup #15

    Posted by New West Public Affairs on Nov 23, 2018 4:34:34 PM

    Here’s the news you don’t want to miss from the past week in Alberta politics.

    Pipeline capacity and oil prices have been the topic du jour in both the Legislative Assembly and across the province with both the provincial and federal governments desperate to show themselves as offering solutions.

    WTI fell to $50.42 a barrel on Friday, the lowest it's been in over a year. Meanwhile, Western Canadian Select is selling at a $37 per barrel discount. With a glut of Saudi crude, there is no immediate relief in sight. The problems facing Alberta’s oil industry are becoming increasingly clear and with more and more vocal opposition and frustration.

    Premier Notley earlier in the week announced three special envoys to work with energy sector experts and CEOs to get solutions for closing the price gap that’s costing the Canadian economy as much as $84 million a day as well as an Energy Upgrading Unit to focus on refining more resources at home with the announcement of $2.1 billion for upgrading projects. She also announced a carbon tax exemption for oil and gas drilling companies as a form of relief and has criticized the federal government for underplaying Western Canada’s oil price crisis and the indifference it has been met with compared to other previous problems with eastern Canada’s manufacturing sector. If the approach feels to you like throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, you wouldn’t be incorrect.

    On the opposition side, UCP Leader Jason Kenney called on producers to voluntarily reduce production as a way of managing the differential. You can view his message from Monday, here.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Calgary Thursday and was met with over 2,000 protestors and called the current differential in oil prices a crisis. Albertans and pundits alike were unimpressed with his visit and lack of solutions.

    Will this be the turning point for getting national buy-in on pipelines? Time will tell, but you can guarantee it will be a key focus, if not the ballot box issue in spring’s provincial election.

    Government Legislation Recap

    Below is a recap of the stage bills previously discussed in the Roundup are at, and a brief explainer on new legislation introduced (an asterisk denotes new legislation).

    You can read the bills in their entirety here.

    Bill 19 — An Act to Improve the Affordability and Accessibility of Post-secondary Education

    Stage: Third Reading passed

    Bill 20 — Securities Amendment Act, 2018

    Stage: Third Reading passed

    Bill 21 - An Act to Protect Patients

    Stage: Royal Assent received November 19, comes into force November 19, 2018

    Bill 22 - An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities

    Stage: Committee of the Whole debate

    Bill 23 - An Act to Renew Local Democracy in Alberta

    Stage: Second Reading passed on division

    Bill 24 - An Act to Recognize AMA Representation Rights

    Stage: Committee of the Whole debate

    Bill 25 - Canyon Creek Hydro Development Act

    Stage: Committee of the Whole passed

    Bill 26 – An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities

    Stage: Second Reading passed

    *Bill 27 – Joint Governance of Public Sector Pension Plans Act

    Stage: First Reading passed

    Notes: The Joint Governance of Public Sector Pension Plans Act proposes a joint governance structure for three of Alberta’s largest pension plans – the Local Authorities Pension Plan, the Public Service Pension Plan and the Special Forces Pension Plan. If passed pension decisions would be made by boards with equal representation from unions and employers removing decision making from cabinet. B.C. and Ontario have similar models.

    *Bill 28 – Family Statutes Amendment Act, 2018

    Stage: First Reading passed

    Notes: This legislation outlines for the first time in Alberta how common-law couples must divide property if they split up. The Bill proposes amendments to the Matrimonial Property Act to create a new classification of adult interdependent partners.

    *Bill 29 – Public Service Employee Relations Amendment Act, 2018

    Stage: First Reading passed

    Notes: The legislation, if passed, would remove exemptions prohibiting five classifications of employees (budget officer, systems analyst, auditor, disbursement control officer and hearing officer) from participating in collective bargaining. Bill 29 would also move non-academic staff at post-secondary institutions under the Labour Relations Code on July 1, 2022 to give post-secondary institutions time to adjust. You can expect to see some debate on this legislation from the opposition.

    Government News Recap

    Aside from pipeline capacity and oil differential news, there were also other government announcements this week that you don’t want to miss.

    That’s all for this week. We sign off by thanking our lucky stars that even with all the crazy pipeline and oil news going on in Alberta, we aren’t dealing with the bizarre happenings in the B.C. legislature related to their Speaker, Clerk, and Sergeant-at-arms.

    Topics: WeeklyRoundup

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