What to Expect
The Legislature will continue to sit this week for what will likely be the last full week before rising until the New Year. Notably, the most contentious bill, The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act, passed and is posed for royal assent before the session ends. However, debate continues over other bills, including:
- Bill 3, Property Rights Statutes Amendment Act, 2022, which seeks to end squatter’s rights;
- Bill 5, Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 (No.2), which would streamline legal and court processes and improve security at the Alberta Legislature; and
- Bill 6, Police Amendment Act, 2022, which would amend the Police Act, including creating a new, third-party accountability mechanism.
On her Saturday radio show, Premier Smith announced future travel plans, including a January trip to Germany and Poland to work on a long-term contract for liquified natural gas and a trip to Washington, D.C., in February to attend a conference of state governors.
The Week That Was
Amendments to Bill 1, the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act, were accepted before the legislation passed its third reading. Amendments were proposed to clarify the role of the Cabinet and the Legislature in response to criticism that the original text gave Cabinet too much power and bypassed the Legislature.
Deputy chief medical officers Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu have resigned from their positions. For the time being, chief medical officer of health, Dr. Mark Joffe, will take on full-time duties. Chief paramedic Darren Sandbeck also resigned.
The provincial government will be investing $55 million over three years to increase the accessibility and affordability of housing as part of the new Affordable Housing Partnership Program.
The introduction of the Inflation Relief Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 would enable the following changes if passed:
- expansion of utility rebates;
- electricity price protection over the winter;
- personal income tax indexation retroactive to the 2022 tax year;
- full suspension of the provincial fuel tax; and
- delivery of upcoming targeted relief payments to families, seniors, and vulnerable Albertans.
On Friday, Premier Smith joined other Premiers and territorial leaders at the Council of the Federation to once again request a meeting from the federal government to discuss increasing health transfer spending from 22 to 35 per cent.
The Government of Alberta announced a partnership with Women and Gender Equality Canada on Friday to provide $3 million toward 211 for a 24/7 crisis hotline for those facing gender-based violence.
Infrastructure Minister Nathan Neudorf and Health Minister Jason Copping announced that construction on the Calgary Cancer Centre is complete and that Alberta Health Services can now take over the facility to install equipment and prepare the medical centre, which is slated to be open in 2024.