Supreme Court Rules the Carbon Tax is Constitutional
A Supreme Court 6-3 ruling issued Thursday morning that found the federal government’s carbon tax to be constitutional was the end of the road for legal challenges by the UCP government against the tax. Premier Jason Kenney held a media availability and issued a statement on the ruling saying he was obviously disappointed and that it creates a “new federal power that erodes provincial jurisdiction and undermines our constitutional system.” When asked if Alberta would implement a carbon tax, the Premier stated his government would consider all options and continue to listen to Albertans.
Any hope for moving Alberta in the short term to Step 3 of the government’s reopening plan was quashed by Health Minister Tyler Shandro earlier this week as active cases, variant cases and hospitalizations continue to climb. As of March 25, Alberta has 6,835 active cases with 764 new cases, 294 in hospital, 55 in intensive care and 1,976. To date there have been 532,171 vaccine doses administered in the province.
With spring break for students in some areas of the province next week and Easter next weekend, the Legislature is now on a break until April 6.
Another date to mark on your calendar come April is the 19th, which the Trudeau government revealed this week will be when they (finally) table their budget.
Below you’ll find a recap of legislation introduced and debated this week, government announcements and Orders in Council.
Government Legislation Recap
Private Members’ Public Bills
The following Private Members’ Bills were debated in the Legislature this week.
Bill Sponsor: Peter Singh, UCP, MLA for Calgary-East
Stage: Third Reading passed on division March 22, 2021
Notes: An amendment was passed this week to make the comprehensive list of genocides that are recognized in the bill synonymous with what the House of Commons has recognized in Parliament.
Bill 212: Official Sport of Alberta Act
Bill Sponsor: Muhammad Yaseen, UCP, MLA for Calgary-North
Stage: Proceeded with on division March 22, 2021
Notes: This bill would make rodeo Alberta’s official sport. Yahoo!
Bill Sponsor: Searle Turton, UCP, MLA for Spruce Grove-Stony Plain
Stage: Reported to Assembly March 23, 2021
Notes: Bill 213 would increase the maximum highway speed limit for some divided highways from 110 km/h to 120 km/h.
Government of Alberta Announcements
The GoA is allocating $9.7 million in grants for child care operators to create 1,500 more spaces in day homes and daycare centres, including overnight care.
Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer issued a statement in response to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association annual report that showed huge momentum in tech and innovation in the province.
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued a statement on passing the threshold of half a million doses of vaccine administered in the province with one in ten Albertans having received at least one dose.
Alberta’s government will be testing a new Digital Overdose Response System mobile app in Calgary this summer that will help protect people using opioids and other substances while alone in their homes.
The government is offering at least two million free rapid testing kits to public, private and not-for-profit employers and service providers provincewide with any employer or service provider able to apply for the tests.
President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews issued a statement on the AUPE’s rejection of Alberta Health Services’ proposal to delay labour negotiations, stating that he was disappointed.
Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon issued a statement on the Government of Canada’s recognition of Alberta’s progress in recovering southern mountain caribou.