What to Expect
The next few weeks will be quiet in Alberta politics. While a few committees will meet this week, the session ended last week and isn’t scheduled to return until February. In the meantime, MLAs will be returning to their constituencies. Some face nomination races, while others will begin campaigning in earnest in preparation for the election, expected in May.
The Week That Was
The Legislative session wrapped up last week, with seven bills being passed by the Legislative Assembly:
- Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act creates a framework for the provincial government to decline to enforce certain federal laws and regulations if the Legislature determines they infringe on provincial jurisdiction;
- Inflation Relief Statutes Amendment Act enables the government’s affordability measures;
- Property Rights Statutes Amendment Act ends squatter’s rights;
- Alberta Health Care Insurance Amendment Act updated the Act to remove a clause which allowed the Government of Alberta to end their agreement with doctors unilaterally, done as part of negotiations with the Alberta Medical Association;
- Justice Statutes Amendment Act was an omnibus bill that made a number of changes but was primarily introduced to allow legislature security staff to carry firearms;
- Police Amendment Act created a mechanism for third-party, independent police oversight; and
- Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act amended 97 pieces of legislation, mostly to account for the cabinet reorganization.
MLA for Grande Prairie Tracy Allard has been officially sworn in as Parliamentary Secretary for Civil Liberties as Premier Danielle Smith stated that there became an apparent need for the position.
Albertans will soon have access to more opportunities for career development through the government’s recently announced micro-credentials program, an extension to a pilot program at Portage College in Lac La Biche.
The provincial government has decided to increase assistance to Alberta doctors by increasing the Business Costs Program by 25 per cent, equating to $20 million of additional funding per year.
With the amnesty coming to a close in October 2023 for the federal government’s plan to ban more than 1,500 previously legal firearms, the attorney general has issued the following protocol to crown prosecutors, which states that it will not be in the public interest to proceed with prosecuting a charge of possession of a banned firearm when:
- The accused lawfully obtained the firearm or prohibited device prior to May 1, 2020.
- The firearm or prohibited device was reclassified as prohibited on May 1, 2020.
- The accused has not been charged with any other offences related to the possession or use of that firearm.