Government News Recap

Filibusters, waffles and war rooms, oh my!

It’s been a busy week in Alberta politics with round the clock debates, further discussion on the establishment of an energy war room in Calgary and a major push from the UCP government to get a yes on the Trans Mountain Expansion project. Below you’ll find a recap of key legislation, news stories and Orders in Council.

Government News Recap

  • Pipelines and the energy industry have been a major focus for the UCP. There was a strong showing from the UCP Cabinet at the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary, including speeches from Premier Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage.
  • The two also held a meeting and news conference in Calgary last Friday to discuss next steps for their energy war room with stakeholders. The war room will have a $30 million budget and advocate on behalf of Alberta’s energy industry.
  • Next Tuesday, June 18th will be a key date as a decision is expected from the federal government on the future of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The UCP government has already launched a series of campaigns, including “Yes to TMX” and “BC for TMX”. Premier Kenney met with Quebec Premier Francois Legault along with stops in New Brunswick and P.E.I.
  • Premier Kenney has weighed in on two key Senate votes related to Bills C-48 and C-69 in a multitude of ways. You can read his initial statement here, his joint letter with other provinces and territories here and his thoughts on the subsequent decision by Trudeau’s government to reject a majority of amendments by the Senate here.
  • There was a quick trip to Saskatchewan (and to a KFC buffet) for the Premier to sign an MOU with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe related to streamlining regulations for oil well service rigs.
  • Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister Tanya Fir has travelled to Japan and South Korea to promote Alberta’s agricultural and forestry industries as part of a delegation with federal International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr and officials from other provinces.
  • Premier Kenney hosted a meeting with all First Nations chiefs in Edmonton for the first time since 2015.

Government Legislation Recap

Bill 1: An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax

Stage: Royal Assent received June 4, 2019

Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business

Stage: Second Reading passed on division

Notes: The NDP opposition staged an all-night filibuster on Bill 2, resulting in one of the longest sittings in Alberta history. The debate began around 7 pm last Wednesday and continued round the clock to 7:45 pm Thursday. Because of the marathon session, there was no question period on Thursday.

Bill 3: Job Creation Tax Cut Act

Stage: Third Reading passed

Bill 4: Red Tape Reduction Act

Stage: Third Reading passed

Bill 5: Appropriation (Supplementary Supply) Act, 2019

Stage: First Reading passed

Notes: Provides supplementary funds for government operations from March 31, 2019 until the UCP government’s first budget is introduced this fall.

Bill 7: Municipal Government (Property Tax Incentives) Amendment Act, 2019

Stage: Committee of the Whole passed

Notes: This bill would allow municipalities to offer tax breaks through bylaw for up to 15 years with the intent of spurring development and investment in commercial and industrial areas.

Bill 8: Education Amendment Act, 2019

Stage: Second Reading adjourned on amendment

Notes: The Edmonton Journal’s education reporter Janet French has provided a comprehensive overview of the changes contained in Bill 8. The UCP ran on a platform of proclaiming the Education Act as opposed to the School Act that the NDP utilized while in government. The NDP are framing debate on this legislation regarding LGBTQ rights and gay-straight alliance clubs in schools and have taken to calling it “Bill Hate”

Bill 9: Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act

Stage: First Reading passed on division

Notes: This bill would allow government to postpone wage reopener arbitration with a number of major public sector agreements until after October 31, 2019 so results from the Blue Ribbon Panel on finances may be taken into consideration. This legislation is already contentious with public labour unions in the province. Leaders of the UNA, AUPE, ATA and HSAA were in attendance while the bill was tabled and vehemently oppose the legislation, hinting that legal action may be on the table. Finance Minister Toews release this statement.

Bill 10: Alberta Personal Income Tax Amendment Act, 2019

Stage: First Reading passed

Notes: Bill 10 is largely housekeeping and cleans up Alberta’s personal income tax system to align with changes made federally in spring 2018 and will ensure Albertans have access to tax credits they are entitled to. The changes also protect small business owners tax increases on dividends they earn.

Orders In Council

OC 102-4/2019 – Proclaims the Regulated Forestry Profession Amendment Act, 2017 as coming into force on July 1, 2019 with the exception of sections 88 and 89, related to transitional initial regulations and bylaws. Sets expenses and review fees regulation for conducting investigations and hearings as well as the registration process for foresters-in-training and registered professional foresters.

OC 105-6/2019 – Proclaims the Agricultural Societies Amendment Act, 2015 as coming into force on July 1, 2019 and sets out regulations related to agricultural societies.

OC 107/2019 – Allows for foreign ownership of land in Lacombe County by G3 Canada Limited.

OC 108/2019 – Repeals the Independent Power and Small Power Regulation (AR 111/2003).

OC 109/2019 – Repeals the Innovative Energy Technologies Regulation (AR 250/2004) and amends various petroleum royalty and oil sands regulations. This OC will come into force September 30, 2019.