CSG Weekly Review- June 15, 2018

Posted by | July 12, 2018 | News

Session Schedule & Activities

  • 11 months until expected provincial election.
  • Fall session of the legislature is scheduled to resume October 29, 2018.

Government News and Announcements

Spring Session Concludes
The spring session of the legislature concluded last week. It was a session dominated by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the result was Bill 12 which provides the government with authority over products being shipped out of province. The announcement that the federal government intends to purchase the pipeline has not finalized the project and UCP leader Jason Kenney has repeatedly called for the Premier to use the powers grants in Bill 12 to put the pressure on BC Premier John Horgan to stop his legal challenges in the courts to allow construction to proceed. This week Premier Notley also announced that once the contract is finalized she intends to release the deal to the public.

The government and UCP opposition is now turning focus to the pending tanker ban introduced in federal Bill C-48 which bans tankers loading or unloading a variety of “condensate” products including bitumen anywhere on BCs north coast. The bill has already passed through the House of Commons and is currently in the senate. It will significantly limit Alberta’s ability to reach Asian markets and potentially kill the EagleSpirit pipeline proposed by First Nations partners from Fort McMurray to Prince Rupert. Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCaig-Boyd has already written to the federal government to voice the provinces opposition to the bill.

Another bill of note was Bill 9, which creates a “access zone” around abortion clinics. The UCP caucus refused to debate or vote on the bill which they deemed as a “political game” on a contentious social issue.

This session the government introduced 18 Bills and passed 17 of them through the house. The Emergency Management Amendment Act which was introduced on April 3rd only passed first reading. The Act would update rules and regulations to help communities improve responses to disasters. The government announced when it was introduced that it intended to consult stakeholders on the proposed changes and regulations and discuss the bill in the fall session.

One private members bill passed this session, Bill 203: The Long-Term Care Information Act introduced by NDP backbencher Kim Schreiner, MLA Red Deer North. The act creates a publicly accessible online registry of information on long term care in Alberta that includes information on facilities, number of residents, intake processes, inspection results and accommodation charges.

Political News

Byelections Called in Fort McMurray-Conklin and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake
Yesterday it was announced two byelections would be held on July 12th to fill the two seats that have been vacant since February and March. Advance polls will be open July 3-7.

In February, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake UCP MLA Don McIntyre resigned after being charged with sexual assault and inference of a girl under 16. Four candidates will run in the byelection: Abigail Douglass (Alberta Party), Devin Dreeshen (UCP), Nicole Mooney (NDP) and Randy Thorsteinson (Reform Party of Alberta).

In March, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean retired from politics and three candidates will compete in the byelection: Brian Deheer ( Green Party), Laila Goodridge (UCP) and Jane Stroud (NDP). Stroud is a three term Fort McMurray councilor.

United Conservative Party Nomination Update
Currently open nominations:

  • Cardston-Siksika
  • Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville
  • Airdrie East * Incumbent MLA Angela Pitt
  • Brooks-Medicine Hat
  • Calgary-Foothills
  • Athabasca- Barrhead- Westlock
  • Central Peace-Notley

Nominated candidates:

  • Calgary-Edgemont – Prasad Panda-(acclaimed) * incumbent
  • Calgary Hays – Ric McIver (acclaimed) *incumbent
  • Calgary-Lougheed- Jason Kenney (acclaimed) *incumbent
  • Calgary-West- Mike Ellis (acclaimed) *incumbent
  • Cypress- Medicine Hat -Drew Barnes (acclaimed) *incumbent
  • Edmonton-Gold Bar- David Dorward (acclaimed)
  • Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills -Nathan Cooper (acclaimed) * incumbent
  • Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House- Sundre- Jason Nixon (acclaimed) * incumbent
  • Strathcona-Sherwood Park -Nate Glubish- (acclaimed)
  • Taber-Warner- Grant Hunter (acclaimed) * incumbent

Federal News

Federal Process for Cannabis Legalization Continues
Late last week the Senate passed Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act with nearly four dozen amendments. The act, which the federal government was initially hoping to have passed to allow for legalization on July 1 of this year, has spent a significant amount of time in the Senate. The bill will now go back to the House of Commons and the government can either approve, reject or modify the changes before it again returns to the Senate for a vote.

Of note, one of the amendments allows provinces to prohibit home cultivation of cannabis if they choose and another imposes more stringent restrictions on advertising by cannabis companies. Once the bill has passed provinces and territories will need 2-3 months to prepare before retail sales are available.

Government Legislation

The following details status updates on key pieces of legislation as of June 7, 2018:

Bill 2 — Growth and Diversification Act (Hon. Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade)

This legislation will create 3,000 new spaces for technology programs in Alberta’s colleges, polytechnics and universities through a $43 million-dollar commitment. An additional $7 million (over 5 years) will be allocated for a scholarship program focused on encouraging women to join the sector.

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018.

Bill 5 — An Act to Strengthen Financial Security for Persons with Disabilities (Hon. Irfan Sabir), Minister of Social Services)

This act would amend current Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped legislation (AISH) to enable families, guardians and AISH recipients to set up trusts to provide for persons with disabilities without impacting their eligibility for the program.

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018. Comes into force on proclamation, date to be announced.

Bill 6 — Gaming and Liquor Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 (Hon. Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice)

This bill introduces amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act in preparation for the legalization cannabis and gives the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) the tools to oversee and enforce the cannabis market.

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018. Comes into force on proclamation, date to be announced.

Bill 9 — Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care Act (Hon. Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health)

This bill establishes a 50 meter “access zone” at Alberta’s two non-hospital abortion clinics- Kensington Clinic in Calgary and Woman’s Health Options in Edmonton

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018 and came into force on June 11th.

Bill 11 — Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018 (Hon. Christina Gray, Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal)

This bill introduces several changes aimed at strengthening the rules that regulate lobbying activity to enhance transparency.

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018 and came into force on June 11th.

Bill 12— Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act (Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy)

This bill enables the province to restrict the export of natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels across its borders.

  • Received Royal Assent on May 14, 2018 and came into force on May 14, 2018.

Bill 13 — An Act to Secure Alberta’s Electricity Future ($) (Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy)

This act empowers the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to penalize electricity and natural gas service providers for breaches of customer service.

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018 and comes into force on proclamation, date to be announced.

Bill 14 — An Act to Empower Utility Consumers (Hon. Stephanie McLean, Minister of Service Alberta)

This bill expands the mandate of the Alberta Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) to allow consumers to resolve disputes with utility bills.

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018 and comes into force on proclamation, date to be announced.

Bill 16 — Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 (Hon. Christina Gray, Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal)

This bill aims to prevent associated political parties from using a multi-party structure to collude with one another to bypass the legal spending limit of $2 million during elections and by-elections. The legislation also increases fines for parties that exceed the limit to $100,000 from $10,000 and doubles the penalties for candidates, nomination contestants and CFOs to $10,000

  • Received Royal Assent on June 11, 2018 and came into force on June 11th with some exceptions.

Alberta Weekly Review – 06-15-18 Weekly Review