CSG Weekly Review- June 8, 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 on Thursday afternoon. 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. Last week’s 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.

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.

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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.

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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.

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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.

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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.

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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.

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

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

  • AWAITING ROYAL ASSENT

Political News

United Conservative Party Nomination Update
Currently open nominations:

  • Cardston-Siksika
  • Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville
  • Calgary Hays * Incumbent MLA Ric McIver
  • Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills * Incumbent MLA Nathan Cooper
  • Cypress- Medicine Hat * Incumbent MLA Drew Barnes
  • Edmonton-Gold Bar
  • Airdrie East * Incumbent MLA Angela Pitt
  • Brooks-Medicine Hat
  • Calgary-Foothills

Nominated candidates:

  • Calgary-Lougheed- Jason Kenney (acclaimed)
  • Calgary-West- Mike Ellis (acclaimed)
  • Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House- Sundre- Jason Nixon (acclaimed)
  • Calgary-Edgemont – Prasad Panda-(acclaimed)
  • Strathcona-Sherwood Park -Nate Glubish- (acclaimed)
  • Taber-Warner- Grant Hunter (acclaimed)

Federal News

Federal Process for Cannabis Legalization Continues
Late yesterday 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.

Alberta Weekly Review – 06-08-18 Weekly Review