Session Schedule & Activities
- Constituency Week for Alberta MLAs, March 26th-30th
- UCP Founding AGM to be held in Red Deer May 4-6, 2018
- 14 months until expected provincial election
Government News and Announcements
Budget 2018 Rollout
Over this constituency week Premier Notley and numerous Ministers went around the province announcing further details on key items that were previously released in last week’s budget including:
- $30 million towards building a park and ride transit facility in St. Albert. In Budget 2018 $1.5 billion was committed over the next 5 years to help municipalities with public transit.
- $8.5 million of capital funding for YWCA Calgary for construction of 100 transitional shelter homes 20 new school projects scheduled to start construction this year and be completed for 2022-23.
- $9.3 million to renovate and improve the Northern and Southern Jubilee Auditoriums.
Federal Court of Appeal Rules Against B.C.
Last Friday the Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the Government of B.C’s appeal of a National Energy Board (NEB) ruling in December that allows Kinder Morgan to bypass local bylaws during construction of the pipeline expansion. The NEB had ruled that Kinder Morgan did not have abide by the City of Burnaby’s zoning and tree-cutting guidelines as federal jurisdiction of the project supersedes local bylaws. The government of B.C argued the NEB was defining federal jurisdiction too broadly.
Following the Federal Court ruling there were three days of protest and a NDP Federal MP and leader of the federal Green Party, Elizabeth May were arrested. The City of Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan announced this week the city will appeal the federal court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley viewed the ruling as a “definitive victory” and she remains confident there will be shovels in the ground on the project prior to the end of the year. She said the decision by the City of Burnaby to take the ruling to the Supreme Court is showboating.
Industrial Efficiency Challenge Announced
This week Hon. Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office announced a $35 million Industrial Efficiency Challenge offering large industrial emitters the opportunity to improve cost competitiveness and reduce emissions. Successful applicants are eligible to receive a maximum of $10 million in funding. The application deadline is May 31.
The Government of Alberta is funding the challenge through Emissions Reduction Alberta, an organization which utilizes heavy emitter carbon revenue and grants from the carbon leadership plan to accelerate the development of innovative, emissions reducing technologies in the province.
New Impaired Driving Laws Coming Into Force
Following the passage of An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol-Impaired Driving last fall, new impaired driving laws will come into force on April 9th. The laws are provincial sanctions and drivers would also be subject to criminal charges as well as these provincial consequences. In addition, the legislation passed also prepares province to enforce upcoming changes to federal impaired driving charges in the Criminal Code of Canada. In particular, proposed federal blood drug concentrations limits for cannabis and cannabis/alcohol combination.
New sanctions include:
- All criminally impaired drivers (drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or over, drivers impaired by drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, and drivers who fail or refuse to comply with a demand for a breath or blood sample) will receive a 90-day licence suspension followed by mandatory participation in a one-year ignition interlock program.
- Should the driver choose not to participate in ignition interlock, the licence suspension will remain in place during this one-year term.
- Zero tolerance for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program drivers for cannabis and illegal drugs in the bloodstream, in addition to alcohol. GDL drivers found with any amount of alcohol, cannabis, illegal drugs or their combination will find the driver subject to a 30-day licence suspension, seven-day vehicle seizure and a lengthened term in the GDL program. (GDL drivers who meet the requirements for criminal-level impaired driving will be subject to the sanctions and penalties mentioned above.)
- Updates to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board’s procedures, streamlining their processes.
Edmonton Region Will Be A Target for UCP in 2019
This week UCP leader Jason Kenney said in an interview that the UCP will focus its energies and resources in Edmonton and region, up to and including the 2019 provincial election. According to recent polling, the UCP has a significant lead everywhere in the province except the capital region where the NDP remains slightly
Kenney believes the city is still competitive and points to polling and federal election results as examples of their potential strength. The NDP swept the City of Edmonton and Capital Region in their historic 2015 win.
Alberta Weekly Review 03-29-18 Edition