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
Cannabis Legalization Date Set for Fall
On Wednesday, it was announced that recreational marijuana would be legal as of October 17, 2018. The legalization date will come months after the July 1 one originally targeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The reason for the three-month delay is to give provinces and territories more time to prepare.
The Province of Alberta has said it will be ready for the date, however with 300 projects and a variety of packaging options it is likely the market will evolve over time. According to the province, up to 250 cannabis stores will open during the first year of legalization. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) is responsible for licensing, regulation enforcement and all online sales. Over next few months, the AGLC will finalize contracts, stock cannabis, issue conditional license to approved licensees and start selling and delivering product to retail outlets to allow them to set up stores. Before outlets can open municipalities also need to approve retailers. The municipal process is being conducted through development and building permits and business licenses.
The province projected there will be a loss of $90 million in first two years, but expect once the market is established by 2020-2021 they may bring in a net income of $37 million. Tax revenues from cannabis stores will be split 75-25 with the Federal government. Municipalities have ongoing concerns about increased policing costs as a result of the legalization and those conversations are continuing.
United Conservative Party Nomination Update
Currently open nominations:
- Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville
- Brooks-Medicine Hat
- Athabasca- Barrhead- Westlock *incumbent MLA Glenn van Dijken
- Central Peace-Notley
- Chestermere-Strathmore *incumbent MLA Leela Aheer
- Airdrie East -Angela Pitt *incumbent
- 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
Province and Federal Government at Odds Over Equalization
Ahead of a Federal, Provincial and Territorial meeting of finance ministers to be held next week in Ottawa, the federal government renewed the equalization formula after the Budget Implementation Act received royal assent yesterday. The Act will come into force on April 2019 and keep equalization in its current form until 2024. In the preceding days Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci had both indicated they were looking for a change in the formula.
According to the federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the government had been clear with the provinces that they were happy with the system as it is currently structured and mentioned the renewal in the budget, letters to finance ministers and the Budget Implementation Act.
Minister Ceci has said the program has not worked for Alberta for some time and as it is currently structed every person in Alberta contributes six times more than the closest province on a per capita basis. Equalization is a $19 billion federal program that distributes federal cash to provinces and territories with below-average fiscal capacity. Funds are taken from federal taxes. The provinces with receive no equalization payments are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. This year Quebec will receive $11.7 from the program.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has put forward a proposal this week that would change the program so only half of the money in the pool would be distributed per the current formula, while the other half would be distributed on a per capita basis.
Alberta Weekly Review- 06-22-18 Weekly Review