Sunday , January 24 2021

This is a wrap: Alberta opposition presses for a fast choice when a fall session ends

Prime Minister Rachel Notley holds media availability just before flying to Montreal for the meeting of the Prime Minister at the Edmonton International Airport on December 6, 2018. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

The fall session of the Alberta legislature ended on Thursday with a stand-alone ovation for its longest serving by MLA, a NDP member for the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood Brian Mason.

Mason, who did not want to re-election, became apparently emotional, encouraging speculation that the NDP decided not to hold a spring session or introduce a budget before calling the election.

Prime Minister Rachel Notley said Thursday morning to cross a flight to the first service of young people in Montreal that the election would take place within legislative temples, but she reinforced what it meant for legislative commerce.

Asked if she was going to make a pre-election budget, she said "maybe or maybe it's not a budget".

"I will make sure we consider all the options that are available to us, to make sure that the Albertians are well aware of what their choices are before we come into the next elections," she said.

Notley said she liked the missing session, especially legislature indexed benefits under the Guaranteed Income for the Severe Difficult Program, post-secondary lesson fees and changes to the family law.

"There were a lot of good things there," she said.

"Light and free session": Kenney

United Conservative leader Jason Kenney asked to differentiate.

"If you look at the NDP fallout legislation, it has been remarkably lightweight and unavoidable for a government that clearly runs away from gas," he said.

Kenney said he thought the government had fallen by the most important things facing Albertians, and said it was "living on a loan".

Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party, at the end of the legislative legislature of the legislature on Thursday, December 6, 2018. (PHOTO DE LARRY WONG / POSTMEDIA)

Speaking with reporters at the legislature Thursday, Kenney said he wanted Notley to vote as soon as possible under the election act. That means dropping the writing early February for a vote at the beginning of March.

He said it would be a "big mistake" to put a budget on Albertians "when (the government government) its entire fiscal plan is in tatters."

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark also said media on Thursday "the sooner better" for election, saying his party is ready to go.

Fall sessions

The fall session saw 14 government bills hit the table, starting with Bill 19, who calculated post-secondary fees.

Other legislative changes included the recalling of medical and medical licenses in cases of patient sexual abuse, rejuvenation of child protection laws, eliminating political control of public pensions, introducing new rules around urban elections, and agreement with large cities that link their funding to provincial income.

One invoice that was driven forward, but never made it proposed legislation to ban the conversion of therapy, the controversial practice of using psychological or spiritual intervention to try to change gender orientation or gender identity.

Mason told the media on Thursday, no questions were asked about what should or should not be in the bill, and the legislative agenda has already been filled.

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