Top 5 Alberta political stories to watch for 2020

  • Spring budget 2020

The fall 2019 budget should be considered the appetizer for the main course that’s set to come in spring 2020. Public sector unions are bracing for wage rollbacks and cuts that are  likely required to get to balance. While Premier Kenney may see public opinion polls slip, getting to balance in four years is the platform he ran on, and many Albertans who have faced year after year of hard times in the private sector have little sympathy for those in the public sector now feeling the same pressures. The key to success will be sticking to the plan, and come the next election in 2023, delivering on the promise of a balanced budget – without a provincial sales tax.

  • Pipelines

It’s no surprise that pipelines made the top five list in both 2019 and 2020. Market access for Alberta’s oil and gas is key to the future economic prosperity of the province. You can expect that the UCP government will not rest until oil is flowing freely through the completed Trans Mountain Expansion. It’s too soon to say whether protests will become a major impediment in British Columbia, however a recent poll suggests that the federal government’s purchase of the pipeline project may have increased public opinion on the project. The government also received good news from the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday with the unanimous dismissal of an appeal from the BC government to require provincial permits before oil could be shipped through pipelines in the province.

  • Selling Alberta’s energy story 

The Government of Alberta has made selling Alberta’s energy story a key priority. The launch of the Canadian Energy Centre was not without some stumbles but you can bet that the energy ‘war room’ will be running on all cylinders in 2020. Coupled with continued trips by Premier Kenney to shore up support and investment in Alberta energy in locations like the UK, DC and Texas that were hit up in 2019 will be key to positively selling Alberta’s oil story on the national and international stage.

  • Continued relationship building with Canada’s Premiers

Premier Kenney will be tasked with being a statesman on the Council of the Federation in order to continue to build on the shared support he received in 2019 for reviewing Canada’s equalization formula. With the federal Conservative Party tied up in a leadership race for the first half of 2020, Kenney will be the de facto voice of conservatives to many in the country, and this will be his chance to sell Alberta to his provincial counterparts and advance the province’s interests on the national stage.

  • Wrap up of GoA reviews 

Many reviews launched by the UCP government in 2019 will be completed and the findings announced in 2020 including the Fair Deal Panel, review of Alberta Health Service, Red Tape Reduction Advisory Committees, and a Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Review. After consultation with stakeholders and the public, you can expect to see the UCP government announcing new policy with a solid foundation in consultation that will define much of their legislation in 2020.