CSG Weekly Review – November 16, 2017

Posted by | January 16, 2018 | News

Session Schedule & Activities

  • Fall legislative session is scheduled to run until Thursday, December 7, 2017
  • Constituency week is scheduled November 20 -24, 2017.

Government News and Announcements

Trade Mission to UAE
Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Hon. Deron Bilous travelled to Abu Dhabi and Dubai from November 11-17 to promote Alberta as a place for international investment and participate in the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC). Bilous will highlight Alberta’s record as a responsible energy producer and innovation hub for oil and gas. Alberta has a delegation of 15 companies that will exhibit at the provinces pavilion and 35 Alberta companies will also be attending or halve booths at ADIPEC.

Transition Support for Coal Workers Announced
The Government of Alberta has announced the creation of a $40 million Coal Workforce Transition Fund to provide income support to workers transitioning from coal mines and coal fired power plants to retirement or new jobs. Additionally, the province has requested the Government of Canada create flexibility criteria in the EI program to allow workers to receive the income supports from the program in addition to their full EI payments. The payments combined would equate 75 percent on their lost salaries. They have also requested that EI payments for coal workers be extended by 27 weeks on top of the 45 weeks they can currently claim. In additional to financial supports the program will also include tuition vouchers and third-party retraining programs. This program follows the announcement of the Coal Community Transition Fund earlier this fall.

Drug Impaired Driving Laws Addressed in New Legislation
The Government of Alberta introduced Bill 29, An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol-Impaired Driving this week to address concerned of impaired drug related driving in advanced of the legalization of Marijuana this summer. The bill proposes new provincial sanctions for cannabis-impaired and cannabis/alcohol impaired driving offences. Measures include, Expanded Zero Tolerance Program for Graduated License Drivers; expanded provincial administration sanctions for drives with a blood drug concentration over the proposed criminal limits set by the federal government; and a 90-day, fixed term license suspension with a one year ignition interlock program to have license reinstated for drivers found over federal criminal limits. The bill will also update the Traffic Safety Act to reflect the proposed federal changes the impaired driving specific to cannabis. The cannabis items would be proclaimed once the federal government legislation is finalized.

Political News

By-Election Called For Calgary-Lougheed
Sixteen days after the formal resignation of UCP MLA Dave Rodney, Premier Notley has signed an Order in Council which will launch a by-election that will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Rodney resigned his seat to allow newly selected UCP Leader Jason Kenney to seek a seat in the Legislature. In 2015, the PCs won the seat by 502 votes, with the Wildrose a close third. Kenney should win in a landslide as CalgaryLougheed is a constituency in south Calgary that includes parts of Kenney’s former federal riding which he won in six federal elections as well as pieces of former Prime Minister Harper’s riding.

Kenney was announced as the UCP candidate by acclimation earlier this week. The NDP candidate who will be nominated this weekend will be Phillip van der Merwe, a 52-year-old, family physician who is openly gay and former member of the Alberta party. The Alberta party and Liberal party have yet to announce if they will run candidates.

Alberta Party Leader Steps Down
Alberta Party Leader, Greg Clark announced his resignation as leader of the Alberta Party late last week. Clark said he believes the leadership had to be opened to grow the party but will stay on as interim leader until a new one is chosen and may run for leadership. It is widely felt that a small group of departed Progressive Conservatives have exercised their muscle in the new party to force the leadership issue. Possible candidates could include Katherine O’Neill, former PCAA President and current Executive Director of Alberta Together the Political Action Committee associated with the Alberta Party; Thomas Lukaszuk, former PCAA MLA and Minister and leadership candidate; Doug Griffiths, another former PCAA MLA and Minister and leadership candidate; and former Edmonton Mayor and former PCAA MLA and Minister.

Currently the Alberta party as at 10 percent in most polls and two weeks ago they received a new member to the legislative caucus when former NDP MLA Karen McPherson crossed the floor to join the caucus. The party has not yet announced leadership race details however their annual convention is scheduled to be held in Red Deer this weekend and details are expected to become clearer.

Alberta Weekly Review – 11-16-17 Edition