Alberta Government Says Jobs, Economy and COVID to Focus on Fall Legislative Session – .

Alberta Government Says Jobs, Economy and COVID to Focus on Fall Legislative Session – .

The Government of Alberta is planning a busy fall legislative session aimed at creating jobs and diversifying the economy while focusing on taming the new wave of COVID-19.
Government House Leader Jason Nixon said this would include a bill on professional credential recognition to address labor shortages. The bill will be introduced by Premier Jason Kenney.

“Our focus will be on the Alberta workforce, a few bills regarding the diversification of the economy, a big focus on building infrastructure for our future,” [and] increase our resources, especially on the energy side, ”Nixon said in an interview Friday.

There will also be new initiatives on environmental protection and conservation.

Nixon said there will be 18 to 20 bills for the sitting, which begins Monday and is expected to run through the first week of December.

“It’s a very robust fall program,” he said.

Nixon said the government will continue to take action to reduce cases of COVID-19, which have severely strained the healthcare system.

No bills specific to COVID-19 are planned, he said, noting that they have been passed in previous sessions.

“There are certainly other things to do to manage the pandemic, but we will be ready if Alberta Health needs us to pass legislation to deal with the pandemic. “

He said the debate in the chamber should return to a semblance of normalcy.

During the spring sitting, the United Conservative government and the opposition NDP reduced their numbers in the House to prevent the spread of the virus.

This time, with all NDP members and all but one on the UCP side vaccinated, all will be allowed to return for debate.

18 to 20 bills are expected during the fall session of the legislature. (Juris Graney / CBC)

The only UCP member has a medical exemption and will be tested regularly, Nixon said.

He said there are always masking rules and members will try to maintain a distance where possible.

The NDP has said it plans to hold the government accountable for what has happened disastrously with COVID-19.

“This fall session of the Legislature will laser focus on getting answers from the UCP on why they have failed Albertans so miserably in dealing with the devastating fourth wave of the COVID pandemic -19, ”said Christina Gray, the House leader of the NDP.

“Since July 15, more than 85,000 more Albertans have been infected with the virus and 700 have died. “

Gray said the NDP will call for a multi-party inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic with the power to demand documents and testimony.

Nixon said the government would not accept such a motion. He said it would be wrong to redeploy vital health resources right now and that Kenney has promised a possible review of how the province has handled the pandemic.

Kenney also promised to bring forward a motion to ratify and act on the results of Monday’s provincial referendum on Canada’s equalization program.

Final results have not arrived from Edmonton, but figures from Calgary and other cities suggest the referendum will pass with about 60 percent in favor of urging the federal government to remove the principle of equalization from the Constitution.

Kenney said it was not about eliminating equalization, which no province can do unilaterally, but getting leverage to negotiate other issues surrounding federal transfers in order to reach a better deal with Ottawa.

Political scientist Jared Wesley said Kenney would likely continue to focus on initiatives like the equalization referendum, if only to change the narrative of his low popularity.

“The Premier will spend most of his time, if he has anything to say on this, outside the province, fighting for this fair deal,” said Wesley, of the University of Alberta.


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