Last week brought the end of what very well could be the last sitting of the 29th Legislature.
The fall sitting of the Legislature went out with a whimper on Thursday, with pipelines, oil differential and much hullaballoo and fallout from the first ministers’ meeting in Montreal taking attention away from the final week of session. Interprovincial tensions continue to rise thanks to the flippant comments of Quebec Premier François Legault that “there is no social acceptability for a pipeline that would pass through Quebec territory”.
In today’s edition of the Roundup you’ll find a final recap on legislation from the fall sitting as well as the GoA announcements from the past week. It remains to be seen whether the NDP government will bring back MLAs to introduce a budget in the spring to set the tone for the inevitable election.
If UCP Leader Jason Kenney had his way, the election would be held on the first available day within the legislated window, March 1, meaning the writ would drop at the beginning of February (by law, the election must be held between March and May 2019). Over here at the Roundup we will be keeping a close eye on how the oil differential looks in the new year along with any improvements to market access. You can bet that Premier Notley will be looking to position her government as favourably as possible, and who knows, the mere fact that Kenney is asking for an early March election date may very well guarantee that will not be the case.
Government Legislation Recap
Below is a recap of government legislation for the fall session. A session with the Lieutenant Governor for bills that passed Third Reading to receive Royal Assent can be expected in short order. Spare a thought for the backbench and opposition MLAs whose Private Members’ Bills will die a slow and lonely death on the Order Paper.
Received Royal Assent
Bill 20 — Securities Amendment Act, 2018, came into force November 19, 2018
Bill 21 - An Act to Protect Patients, came into force November 19, 2018, with exceptions
Passed Third Reading
Bill 22 - An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities
Bill 23 - An Act to Renew Local Democracy in Alberta
Bill 24 - An Act to Recognize AMA Representation Rights
Bill 25 - Canyon Creek Hydro Development Act
Bill 26 – An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities
Bill 27 – Joint Governance of Public Sector Pension Plans Act
Bill 28 – Family Statutes Amendment Act, 2018
Bill 29 – Public Service Employee Relations Amendment Act, 2018
Bill 30 - Mental Health Services Protection Act
Bill 31: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2018
Bill 32: City Charters Fiscal Framework Act
**All bills introduced during the 4th Session (2018) of the 29th Legislature are available to read in their entirety through the Legislative Assembly and you can check out our brief summary of each piece of legislation in previous editions of the Weekly Roundup.**
Government News Recap
- While the Bill 6 protests of late 2015 may now feel like a distant memory, on December 1st of this year OH&S rules came into effect for farms and ranches that employ waged, non-family workers. The changes are the result of consultations that occurred only after the uproar caused by the initial Bill 6.
- Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee handed out the 2018 Minister’s Awards of Excellence in Child Development to nine deserving Albertans in a ceremony at Government House.
- Public information sessions were announced related to Bighorn Country, which the NDP government envisions as being eventually turned into an area similar to Kananaskis country. Feedback will be accepted until January 31. The UCP MLA for the area Jason Nixon has been pressuring the government for more thorough consultations and to not hold them over the December holiday period.
- Members of the Alberta Beef Producers voted narrowly (51.3 per cent) through plebiscite to remain with a refundable service charge model. Final results of the vote will be shared December 11. More information on the plebiscite can be found here.
- A $700,000 grant to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton was announced to support sexual violence survivors through a three-year pilot program.
- Additional treatment services for addictions will be available to the Blood Tribe through a two year, $2.2 million investment in a safe withdrawal management site in the community.
- A re-announcement of funding for paramedics from Budget 2018 was highlighted through a news release.
- Revised youth employment standards that will come into effect January 1, 2019 were announced related to youth workers under the age of 13.
- A plan to address the opioid crisis in Lethbridge was announced with an investment of $11 million in a permanent supportive housing complex, along with $1.6 million to create up to 30 new intox spaces in the city.
The Morning Brief
We'd also like to plug a recent offering from the New West team. The Morning Brief is a look-ahead we publish each morning that highlights the political events of the day most likely to make news and affect you and your business.
Make sure to check out today's edition of The Morning Brief and be sure to dive into the archive for some smart and insightful analysis on the most important political events happening across the country.
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Have you been yearning for a recap of Orders in Council passed during the final few weeks of session? I mean, who wouldn't be? Keep an eye on your inbox for a recap of recent cabinet orders plus some year-in-review content you won’t want to miss in the next couple weeks from New West Public Affairs.