Legislative Assembly of Alberta The 30th Legislature
Second Session Cooper, Hon. Nathan M., Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (UC), Speaker
Pitt, Angela D., Airdrie-East (UC), Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees Milliken, Nicholas, Calgary-Currie (UC), Deputy Chair of Committees
Aheer, Hon. Leela Sharon, Chestermere-Strathmore (UC) Allard, Tracy L., Grande Prairie (UC) Amery, Mickey K., Calgary-Cross (UC) Armstrong-Homeniuk, Jackie,
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (UC) Barnes, Drew, Cypress-Medicine Hat (Ind) Bilous, Deron, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview (NDP) Carson, Jonathon, Edmonton-West Henday (NDP) Ceci, Joe, Calgary-Buffalo (NDP) Copping, Hon. Jason C., Calgary-Varsity (UC) Dach, Lorne, Edmonton-McClung (NDP),
Official Opposition Deputy Whip Dang, Thomas, Edmonton-South (NDP),
Official Opposition Deputy House Leader Deol, Jasvir, Edmonton-Meadows (NDP) Dreeshen, Hon. Devin, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake (UC) Eggen, David, Edmonton-North West (NDP),
Official Opposition Whip Ellis, Mike, Calgary-West (UC),
Government Whip Feehan, Richard, Edmonton-Rutherford (NDP) Fir, Tanya, Calgary-Peigan (UC) Ganley, Kathleen T., Calgary-Mountain View (NDP) Getson, Shane C., Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland (UC) Glasgo, Michaela L., Brooks-Medicine Hat (UC) Glubish, Hon. Nate, Strathcona-Sherwood Park (UC) Goehring, Nicole, Edmonton-Castle Downs (NDP) Goodridge, Laila, Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche (UC) Gotfried, Richard, Calgary-Fish Creek (UC) Gray, Christina, Edmonton-Mill Woods (NDP),
Official Opposition House Leader Guthrie, Peter F., Airdrie-Cochrane (UC) Hanson, David B., Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul (UC) Hoffman, Sarah, Edmonton-Glenora (NDP) Horner, Nate S., Drumheller-Stettler (UC) Hunter, Hon. Grant R., Taber-Warner (UC) Irwin, Janis, Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood (NDP),
Official Opposition Deputy Whip Issik, Whitney, Calgary-Glenmore (UC) Jones, Matt, Calgary-South East (UC) Kenney, Hon. Jason, PC, Calgary-Lougheed (UC),
Premier LaGrange, Hon. Adriana, Red Deer-North (UC) Loewen, Todd, Central Peace-Notley (Ind) Long, Martin M., West Yellowhead (UC) Lovely, Jacqueline, Camrose (UC) Loyola, Rod, Edmonton-Ellerslie (NDP) Luan, Hon. Jason, Calgary-Foothills (UC) Madu, Hon. Kaycee, QC, Edmonton-South West (UC),
Deputy Government House Leader McIver, Hon. Ric, Calgary-Hays (UC),
Deputy Government House Leader
Nally, Hon. Dale, Morinville-St. Albert (UC), Deputy Government House Leader
Neudorf, Nathan T., Lethbridge-East (UC) Nicolaides, Hon. Demetrios, Calgary-Bow (UC) Nielsen, Christian E., Edmonton-Decore (NDP) Nixon, Hon. Jason, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre (UC),
Government House Leader Nixon, Jeremy P., Calgary-Klein (UC) Notley, Rachel, Edmonton-Strathcona (NDP),
Leader of the Official Opposition Orr, Ronald, Lacombe-Ponoka (UC) Pancholi, Rakhi, Edmonton-Whitemud (NDP) Panda, Hon. Prasad, Calgary-Edgemont (UC) Phillips, Shannon, Lethbridge-West (NDP) Pon, Hon. Josephine, Calgary-Beddington (UC) Rehn, Pat, Lesser Slave Lake (Ind) Reid, Roger W., Livingstone-Macleod (UC) Renaud, Marie F., St. Albert (NDP) Rosin, Miranda D., Banff-Kananaskis (UC) Rowswell, Garth, Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright (UC) Rutherford, Brad, Leduc-Beaumont (UC) Sabir, Irfan, Calgary-McCall (NDP),
Official Opposition Deputy House Leader Savage, Hon. Sonya, Calgary-North West (UC),
Deputy Government House Leader Sawhney, Hon. Rajan, Calgary-North East (UC) Schmidt, Marlin, Edmonton-Gold Bar (NDP) Schow, Joseph R., Cardston-Siksika (UC),
Deputy Government Whip Schulz, Hon. Rebecca, Calgary-Shaw (UC) Schweitzer, Hon. Doug, QC, Calgary-Elbow (UC),
Deputy Government House Leader Shandro, Hon. Tyler, QC, Calgary-Acadia (UC) Shepherd, David, Edmonton-City Centre (NDP) Sigurdson, Lori, Edmonton-Riverview (NDP) Sigurdson, R.J., Highwood (UC) Singh, Peter, Calgary-East (UC) Smith, Mark W., Drayton Valley-Devon (UC) Stephan, Jason, Red Deer-South (UC) Sweet, Heather, Edmonton-Manning (NDP) Toews, Hon. Travis, Grande Prairie-Wapiti (UC) Toor, Devinder, Calgary-Falconridge (UC) Turton, Searle, Spruce Grove-Stony Plain (UC) van Dijken, Glenn, Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock (UC) Walker, Jordan, Sherwood Park (UC) Williams, Dan D.A., Peace River (UC) Wilson, Hon. Rick D., Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin (UC) Yao, Tany, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo (UC) Yaseen, Muhammad, Calgary-North (UC)
Party standings: United Conservative: 60 New Democrat: 24 Independent: 3
Officers and Officials of the Legislative Assembly
Shannon Dean, QC, Clerk Teri Cherkewich, Law Clerk Trafton Koenig, Senior Parliamentary
Counsel Philip Massolin, Clerk Assistant and
Director of House Services
Michael Kulicki, Clerk of Committees and Research Services
Nancy Robert, Clerk of Journals and Research Officer
Janet Schwegel, Director of Parliamentary Programs
Amanda LeBlanc, Deputy Editor of Alberta Hansard
Chris Caughell, Sergeant-at-Arms Tom Bell, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Link, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms
Jason Kenney Premier, President of Executive Council, Minister of Intergovernmental Relations
Leela Aheer Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
Jason Copping Minister of Labour and Immigration
Devin Dreeshen Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Nate Glubish Minister of Service Alberta
Grant Hunter Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction
Adriana LaGrange Minister of Education
Jason Luan Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
Kaycee Madu Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
Ric McIver Minister of Transportation, Minister of Municipal Affairs
Dale Nally Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity
Demetrios Nicolaides Minister of Advanced Education
Jason Nixon Minister of Environment and Parks
Prasad Panda Minister of Infrastructure
Josephine Pon Minister of Seniors and Housing
Sonya Savage Minister of Energy
Rajan Sawhney Minister of Community and Social Services
Rebecca Schulz Minister of Children’s Services
Doug Schweitzer Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation
Tyler Shandro Minister of Health
Travis Toews President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
Rick Wilson Minister of Indigenous Relations
Laila Goodridge Parliamentary Secretary Responsible for Alberta’s Francophonie
Martin Long Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism
Muhammad Yaseen Parliamentary Secretary of Immigration
STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ALBERTA
Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Chair: Mr. Orr Deputy Chair: Mr. Rowswell
Eggen Gray Issik Jones Phillips Singh Yaseen
Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future Chair: Mr. Neudorf Deputy Chair: Ms Goehring
Armstrong-Homeniuk Barnes Bilous Irwin Reid Rosin Rowswell Sweet van Dijken Walker
Select Special Child and Youth Advocate Search Committee Chair: Mr. Schow Deputy Chair: Mr. Jones
Fir Goehring Lovely Nixon, Jeremy Pancholi Sabir Smith
Standing Committee on Families and Communities Chair: Ms Goodridge Deputy Chair: Ms Sigurdson
Amery Carson Glasgo Gotfried Lovely Neudorf Pancholi Rutherford Sabir Smith
Standing Committee on Legislative Offices Chair: Mr. Schow Deputy Chair: Mr. Sigurdson
Ceci Lovely Loyola Rosin Rutherford Shepherd Smith Sweet Yaseen
Special Standing Committee on Members’ Services Chair: Mr. Cooper Deputy Chair: Mr. Ellis
Dang Deol Goehring Goodridge Long Neudorf Sabir Sigurdson, R.J. Williams
Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills Chair: Mr. Ellis Deputy Chair: Mr. Schow
Amery Dang Getson Glasgo Irwin Nielsen Rutherford Sigurdson, L. Sigurdson, R.J.
Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Chair: Mr. Smith Deputy Chair: Mr. Reid
Armstrong-Homeniuk Barnes Deol Ganley Gotfried Jones Lovely Loyola Rehn Renaud
Standing Committee on Public Accounts Chair: Ms Phillips Deputy Chair: Mr. Guthrie
Armstrong-Homeniuk Lovely Neudorf Pancholi Renaud Rowswell Schmidt Singh Turton Walker
Select Special Committee on Real Property Rights Chair: Mr. Sigurdson Deputy Chair: Mr. Rutherford
Ganley Glasgo Goodridge Hanson Milliken Nielsen Orr Rowswell Schmidt Sweet
Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship Chair: Mr. Hanson Deputy Chair: Member Ceci
Dach Feehan Ganley Getson Guthrie Issik Loewen Singh Turton Yaseen
June 16, 2021 Alberta Hansard 5577
Legislative Assembly of Alberta Title: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 9:00 a.m. 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021
[The Speaker in the chair]
The Speaker: Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, grant to our Queen and to her government, to Members of the Legislative Assembly, and to all in positions of responsibility the guidance of Your spirit. May they never lead the province wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideas but, laying aside all private interests and prejudices, keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all. Ordres du jour.
head: Orders of the Day head: Government Motions
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice on behalf of the hon. Government House Leader.
Time Allocation on Bill 56 91. Mr. Madu on behalf of Mr. Jason Nixon moved:
Be it resolved that when further consideration of Bill 56, Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021, is resumed, not more than one hour shall be allotted to any further consideration of the bill in third reading, at which time every question necessary for the disposal of the bill at this stage shall be put forthwith.
Mr. Madu: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker: Hon. members, Government Motion 91 is debatable pursuant to Standing Order 21(3). Are there any wishing to provide comment? The hon. Member for Calgary-McCall, the Official Opposition deputy House leader, has up to five minutes to respond.
Mr. Sabir: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s unfortunate that we are starting the morning with a motion that will curtail the debate on a very important piece of legislation. The motion says that whenever Bill 56 is back in the Legislature for debate, the debate will be limited to one hour, and at that time all questions should be put before the House. But the thing is that on this important piece of legislation we have asked this government many questions. Municipalities across this province have raised many questions. Calgary has raised many questions. In particular, Calgary is facing really tough times where over 30 per cent of the downtown is vacant. When this government is asked about that, their response is that filling downtown towers is not their responsibility. With this bill they’re even cutting MSI grants, municipal sustainability initiative grants, further. We had many answers about how these cuts will impact the future of Calgary’s downtown, the future of Calgary’s green line. Here we are where the government is bringing forward this motion that will cut down debate on those important questions. I think that’s very heavy handed. That’s undemocratic. The government is just trying to do everything they can with their majority to shut down the debate. No wonder this government is not interested in providing any answers. They’re getting national awards about secrecy. They refuse to answer Albertans’ questions.
They refuse to answer opposition questions. Now they’re the least trusted in the entire Canada. I think we will be opposing this motion. We will be opposing any time allocation motion because this government has not answered the questions that they should be answering. When they are asked about who they have consulted, they have not answered that question. Every mayor from big cities to small municipalities have raised concerns about that. And what have they been doing? They have been off-loading costs onto the municipalities without providing any answers about how they will impact the constituents in those municipalities. I think it’s an undemocratic, heavy-handed tactic that shouldn’t be lightly deployed here, but for this government I think that that’s the go-to. Every time they want to ram some legislation through this Legislature, they will use time allocation. I don’t think that we will agree with those kinds of things. We will do everything we can to stop this government. If not, I think that the people of Alberta will stop them at some point. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
[The voice vote indicated that Government Motion 91 carried]
[Several members rose calling for a division. The division bell was rung at 9:06 a.m.]
[Fifteen minutes having elapsed, the Assembly divided]
[The Speaker in the chair]
For the motion: Aheer Guthrie Rosin Allard Hanson Rowswell Amery Horner Schweitzer Armstrong-Homeniuk Issik Singh Ellis LaGrange Stephan Fir Luan Turton Getson Madu Walker Glasgo Orr Williams Glubish Panda Wilson Goodridge Pon Yao Gotfried
Against the motion: Bilous Goehring Shepherd Deol Sabir Sweet Eggen
Totals: For – 31 Against – 7
[Government Motion 91 carried]
Time Allocation on Bill 58 92. Mr. Madu moved on behalf of Mr. Jason Nixon:
Be it resolved that when further consideration of Bill 58, Freedom to Care Act, is resumed, not more than one hour shall be allotted to any further consideration of the bill in Committee of the Whole, at which time every question necessary for the disposal of the bill at this stage shall be put forthwith.
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and Deputy Government House Leader has moved Government Motion 92. This is a debatable motion. A member of the opposition has up to five minutes pursuant to Standing Order 21(3). I see the hon. Member for Edmonton-Castle Downs has risen. She has up to five minutes to respond.
5578 Alberta Hansard June 16, 2021
Ms Goehring: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in the House this morning to express absolute opposition to time allocation when it comes to debating Bill 58. We’ve been in this Chamber to discuss this bill. I think that when we talk about the numbers that this is going to impact, it needs to be on the record that there are more than 26,400 nonprofit organizations in Alberta. That’s 26,400 organizations that should have a say in what is happening with this piece of legislation. We have more than 1.6 million Albertans that provide 262 million volunteer hours. That’s 1.6 million Albertans that are going to be impacted by this legislation, that this government is putting time allocation on, that don’t get their voices heard. We have continued to put amendments forward, and we’ve heard the minister that just moved time allocation say things such as: there is good reason for this wording to be in the legislation. That’s it. No explanation about why this is good wording. All we heard further to that was ranting about the NDP, not talking about the legislation that is going to impact more that 1.6 million Albertans. When I’ve consulted on this piece of legislation, the majority of the nonprofit sector and volunteers in this province had zero say about the impact that this would have on them being able to be a volunteer in our province. We know that Albertans take pride in the ability to be a volunteer, to provide service to other Albertans, and this legislation is putting staff, volunteers, and everyday Albertans at risk because of these decisions that are being made in this legislation. This piece of legislation also impacts every single ministry because there is an allowable portion of this, that allows an exemption, and it’s not specific to nonprofits. It’s an exemption that’s allowable to every single ministry that this government represents. None of our amendments have been approved. To limit debate on this piece of legislation, that has an impact for so many Albertans across our province that want to be able to give back and want to be able to provide service to those that are in need, especially in a pandemic, is shameful. 9:30
We stand up for Albertans in this House. We do not see the government doing the same. What we see right now is them saying: no; we’re not talking about it anymore. We’ve proposed amendments. We’ve heard nothing about why the amendment shouldn’t be approved, just ranting about the NDP from a minister that continuously says that this is partisan. This is something that impacts more than 1.6 million Albertans. Having time allocation is absolutely undemocratic. Individuals should have a voice. We should be able to thoroughly review this piece of legislation. We know that the nonprofit sector is an economic driver in this province. We also know that this is not a priority of this government. We see it right now because they’re putting time allocation to stop debate on this bill. We’ve seen it in the drastic cuts that they’ve given to community organizations. They’ve been pleading with this government to be at the table, to have a voice. In this Chamber we have the ability to debate issues. I think this piece of legislation and the impact that it has and the amount of compassion and understanding and just genuine desire to care and help and support is being completely disregarded by this government. They don’t want to hear from average, everyday Albertans. The don’t want to hear about the impact that this legislation is going to have on the volunteers across this province, on the nonprofit sector; 1.6 million Albertans are volunteers. And this legislation doesn’t deal with just those volunteers. It is sweeping legislation that has the ability to provide exemptions to every single ministry in this Chamber.
With that, I would suggest that we oppose this time allocation. Thank you.
[The voice vote indicated that Government Motion 92 carried]
[Several members rose calling for a division. The division bell was rung at 9:33 a.m.]
[Fifteen minutes having elapsed, the Assembly divided]
[The Speaker in the chair]
For the motion: Aheer Guthrie Rosin Allard Hanson Rowswell Amery Horner Sawhney Armstrong-Homeniuk Hunter Singh Ellis Issik Stephan Fir LaGrange Toor Getson Luan Turton Glasgo Madu Walker Glubish Orr Williams Goodridge Panda Wilson Gotfried Pon Yao
Against the motion: Bilous Goehring Shepherd Deol Sabir Sweet Eggen
Totals: For – 33 Against – 7
[Government Motion 92 carried]
Time Allocation on Bill 70 89. Mr. Jason Nixon moved:
Be it resolved that when further consideration of Bill 70, COVID-19 Related Measures Act, is resumed, not more than one hour shall be allotted to any further consideration of the bill in Committee of the Whole, at which time every question necessary for the disposal of the bill at this stage shall be put forthwith.
The Speaker: The hon. Deputy Government House Leader on behalf of the Government House Leader.
Mr. Madu: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise on behalf of the Government House Leader to move Government Motion 89.
The Speaker: Hon. members, the Deputy Government House Leader on behalf of the Government House Leader has moved Government Motion 89. It is a debatable motion pursuant to Standing Order 18(1). A member of the opposition has up to five minutes to respond. The hon. the Member for Edmonton-North West.
Mr. Eggen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise here this morning to oppose this motion to invoke closure on debate in regard to Bill 70. You know, we’ve spoken on Bill 70 quite a lot in this House, and the more we talk about it, the more questions that come forward, not just for the members here but for the public as well. This whole notion that we would remove or reduce the amount of legal protections for people that are using long-term care facilities here in the province during a COVID pandemic is absolutely appalling, both optically and realistically, too. The law doesn’t just offer recourse for compensation and so forth as well; it acts as a
June 16, 2021 Alberta Hansard 5579
way to monitor and deter negative behaviour. If you relax the legal protections that individuals have, then you’re leaving the door open for more potential problems from these large companies, especially, that run these long-term care and assisted living facilities. This whole notion: I mean, it sort of smelled bad from the beginning, and it’s only gotten worse over these last number of weeks, when we’ve been debating this. I know that other members in this Chamber feel the same way. Absolutely. We know that it’s very difficult to sell this to your constituents because almost everyone has long-term care, assisted living facilities, and so forth in their constituencies. How can you possibly go back and talk to your constituents and sell them this idea? “Oh, yeah, we’re relaxing the laws, you know, that protect you and your loved ones in these facilities, especially right now. It’s just what we’re doing as a government.” I mean, you know in your hearts that that isn’t working. It’s not the right thing to do by any means. And for the Health minister to come in here yesterday and try to sell this thing, it just got worse, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker. You know, this Health minister has a very smooth – I forgot about just seeing him live in action – and easy way about him to misrepresent and to try to confuse an issue that’s talking about life and death. When I saw and I heard the Health minister trying to defend this yesterday, I was absolutely appalled. Right away he turns it as well into a political issue, trying to talk about: oh, well, we’re trying to protect the long-term care workers on the ground and the nurses because we care about them. Baloney. Absolute nonsense. It’s not true because the workers are protected under normal course of law. He’s bringing something in here to protect the big Extendicare types of companies that own these long-term care facilities. That’s what he’s doing. There are more questions as we continue to debate this bill, and they are questions that demand an answer. So now we’re moving down to 60 minutes to try to get those answers. Let’s put the questions on the table and demand that the government answer those questions. Who was lobbying them in regard to this Bill 70? What was the logic and the impetus behind it? Why are they relaxing the laws that protect your loved ones in an assisted living facility here in the province of Alberta? What possible logic could be connected to that? There are lots and lots of things that we need to do, for sure, in our long-term care, assisted living facilities. Yes, there are. That’s where most of the deaths took place here in the province of Alberta; 1,250 people lost their lives in these facilities. Is the answer to that reducing the legal protections for people in those facilities? Do those two ideas fit together, Mr. Speaker? No, they don’t, except in perhaps some diabolical way. We need to make sure that we’re debating this. If we’re going to talk about long-term care and extended care facilities and protections, we need to talk about how we can make them safer, how we can protect those people, and how we can deter any behaviour that would compromise the safety of people in those facilities. Those workers work very hard. I know that the last 16 months have been very difficult. We’ve seen lots of really brave stories coming out of different places. Some care facilities have gone out of their way to do a good job. This Bill 70 needs to be debated properly, and this question of closure is the wrong way to go. Thank you.
[The voice vote indicated that Government Motion 89 carried]
[Several members rose calling for a division. The division bell was rung at 9:58 a.m.]
[Fifteen minutes having elapsed, the Assembly divided]
[The Speaker in the chair]
For the motion: Aheer Horner Rowswell Armstrong-Homeniuk Hunter Sawhney Copping Issik Singh Ellis LaGrange Stephan Fir Luan Toor Getson Madu Turton Glasgo Panda Walker Glubish Pon Williams Goodridge Rosin Wilson Guthrie
Against the motion: Bilous Eggen Shepherd Deol Goehring Sweet
Totals: For – 28 Against – 6
[Government Motion 89 carried]
head: Government Bills and Orders Third Reading
Bill 56 Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021
[Debate adjourned June 10]
The Speaker: I see the hon. Member for Edmonton-Meadows would like to join the debate.
Mr. Deol: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am honoured to have this opportunity once again to rise in the House and speak on behalf of my constituents to Bill 56, Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021. I’ve spoken to this bill before, and I will add my comments again. I would like to also mention that the government hasn’t really answered any of the questions that my colleague and the opposition in the House have been raising particular to this bill during the debate. It’s very surprising for me personally when I look back and remember the election in 2019. It was the UCP, it was the Premier and one of the Premier’s most important promises and, based on that promise, the narrative that the UCP created with regard to the municipal, especially the rural municipal, issues on actually increasing rural crime – that was one of the prominent – where they made it a big political issue and promised their different approach and promised extra policing and the way the UCP would help those rural municipalities not only control and deal with the growing crime but also help the municipalities sustain and grow. 10:20
When we look at this bill, the mandate of this bill, the content in this bill, and the intentions of the people drafting this bill show that all of those promises, all of those narratives were false, and the UCP had actually no commitment behind it. It’s seems surprising to see that the UCP is so determined even after having the opposition not only from the Official Opposition but, you know, across the line, from municipal leaders, the unions, or other nonprofit organizations. Even the Minister of Transportation and municipalities could not really satisfy the media; he has to acknowledge. So there are some issues, and those issues, those questions need to be answered, and he’s worried about it. The questions specifically are, you know, attached or involved in regard to this critical bill that we are discussing. And I remember – I’m just actually looking at the
5580 Alberta Hansard June 16, 2021
statement of the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs stating to the media, that’s quoted by Lisa Johnson in the article on April 16: “Municipal Affairs Minister . . . said at a virtual Alberta Urban Municipalities Association . . . convention Friday that it’s a ‘huge issue’ that cannot be ignored.” So when we see here – we don’t see that there’s any implementation, any thought process, any seriousness among the government House members or UCP House members along those issues. Instead, the government is so adamant and determined to push this bill through this Legislature session. Municipalities were supposed to receive funding from the government of Alberta to deal with the UCP’s so-called nation of growing rural crime, but the UCP government came to power and did not deliver their promise, and the municipalities ended up raising the property taxes of their citizens to come up with those higher costs. When this bill was introduced in the House, a number of municipal leaders said that it will not even be feasible or viable for many of those municipalities even to operate or operate a number of services. They will have to deal with the options of either letting go a number of departments, laying off staff, or they have no options. These were the questions actually raised in the House, and these are the questions raised outside the House by those municipal leaders, and the government has not provided any answer, not even one answer, to all of those questions. We’ll still keep actually debating this bill, and the government is not willing to listen to Albertans on this. The municipalities, specifically the rural municipalities already struggling to run their operations, will be impacted big time if this bill goes through as it is. Municipal sustainability initiatives are hit big time. More than one-third of their funding is impacted, and the municipal leaders are saying: like, it is not possible for us, with those cuts, to even run our operations. The government is also – they know that their actions have made the lives of Albertans specifically living in the rural communities already harder. They have to pay more to get less. They have to pay to deal with the crime issues in their communities, and they have to come up with more taxes in order to be able to afford the police within their communities. Now, through this bill the government is going to put more burden on those citizens. If this bill would be passed, then the cellphone users will pay more money in fees. What does the CRTC say? Eighty-eight per cent of Canadian households have a cellphone, and many households have even more than one. Now, at least, the average family will pay probably 24, 25 more dollars for those using the fee.
[The Deputy Speaker in the chair]
One of the biggest issues that the municipalities are dealing with: the unpaid taxes by rich, large, multinational companies. The tax money they are not paying or they walked away with is not even in Alberta, and the government has failed to do their job. The minister of municipalities has actually admitted this in his online convention, June convention, to the AUMA. When there is this big issue and the communities are going to face drastic impacts of this bill and the government, cabinet members acknowledge all those issues, in the House the government is still so stubbornly going forward to pass this bill. 10:30
I would really like to actually quote some of the feedback and the views of the community leaders for the record. Barry Morishita is the president of the AUMA. He said, and I’ll quote: a lot of unintended consequences here, and that means a lot less people working in Alberta over the next three years; some projects are
going to be laid aside; some infrastructure maintenance is going to go undone. And that was the government that ran the election campaign on the issue of creating jobs, filling the Calgary tower buildings, and that promised the rural municipalities that they will fund municipalities to be safer than they were. I want to quote Paul McLauchlin, president of the RMA, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and reeve of Ponoka county:
In some municipalities, unpaid tax amounts are so high that service levels are being reduced, municipal staff are being laid off, and serious discussions are occurring about whether the municipalities can continue to function.
This is how serious this issue is. This is how this bill is going to impact all of those municipalities, the municipalities and the rural areas that the UCP believes is a stronghold and a strong base of their political party, and none of the MLAs are actually standing up and even speaking about it. None of the UCP MLAs from all those areas even, you know, have the courage to just share the views of their community leaders, even just to represent their views. The issues they’re dealing with will be not only damaging to those rural municipalities but also will be very adversely impacting all of Alberta.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members, Standing Order 29(2)(a) is available. The hon. Member for Edmonton-City Centre.
Mr. Shepherd: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was appreciating the thoughts from my colleague for Edmonton-Meadows on the impact of this legislation on municipalities. It sounded like he had a few thoughts remaining at the end of his time, and I was just interested to hear what his conclusion might be.
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Meadows.
Mr. Deol: Thank you, Member for Edmonton-City Centre, for giving me the opportunity to conclude my remarks on Bill 56. It is obvious that the community leaders from small municipalities and rural areas to urban municipalities, the two or three, four big cities – Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer – are all opposing. They’re all worrying about what could happen to their projects. Their projects were already halted. The green line in Calgary did not only see their project as being halted, but it impacted thousands of jobs, with thousands of people directly losing their jobs. They were working on those projects, and thousands of families are struggling to make ends meet. Similarly, in Edmonton the LRT project got a big hit. The city’s charter was cancelled. Cities were hopeful that the budget from this government would be a bit more kind and that they would probably see support coming from the province to deal with issues like homelessness. But all the directions, all the steps being taken here seem like it’s going to push those issues into more challenging ways, that will put more people in hardship and probably more people out of their homes. This is very cruel, I would say. This is not only the issue of one political stripe. This is not the view of one city. This is not the view of one civic leader. I have a list of those people and the community leaders, and the list goes on. I wonder: what is wrong with this cabinet? What is wrong with these government members? They didn’t even think once to call back this bill and go back to the municipalities and go back to the municipal leaders – this is not a political issue – and consult with them and even have an all-party meeting on these issues. The municipalities haven’t even recovered from the historical cuts they faced under previous Conservative governments. I know the government House members understand that. I remember all those members coming from rural municipalities. During their maiden speeches, introductions, these were their issues. That is what they
June 16, 2021 Alberta Hansard 5581
were talking about, the historic cuts to infrastructure in rural communities. All of a sudden no one is speaking in the House. I urge all House members: please be more serious about it, and take your time. Either the government should call this bill back and not move forward at this time, or the members of this House should vote against this bill. Thank you.
The Deputy Speaker: Are there any other members wishing to join the debate? The hon. Member for Calgary-East.
Mr. Singh: Thank you, Madam Speaker, for this wonderful opportunity today, for allowing me to speak here on this important topic, ensuring changes that will help modernize and align the Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act with the new 2021 budget. Bill 56, the local measures act, aims to align changes to the local government fiscal framework, LGFF, and the municipal sustainability initiative, MSI, with Budget 2021. It also will aim to modernize Alberta’s 911 technology through important amendments to the Emergency 911 Act. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the Minister of Municipal Affairs for taking the initiative, an important measure, to ensure that the protection of Albertans is improved and ensuring that the MSI and LGFF align with Budget 2021. I would like to extend my appreciation to all Albertans and key stakeholders for listening to the numerous concerns around issues with violent crimes and serious challenges that are faced by our vulnerable populations. 10:40
Bill 56 is proposing a number of changes to the local measures act that would ensure that Albertans and our local municipalities feel supported and respected. The LGFF will be implemented in 2024-2025 with predictable, stable, and legislated baseline funding of $722 million, which will rise or fall based on provisional revenues, and the local measures act will support Budget 2021 by extending MSI funding to 2023-2024 to provide front-loaded and flexible capital funding for municipalities. MSI funding is condensed over the next three years to an average of $722 million per year as Alberta is ensuring that we live within our means as we face unprecedented challenges with COVID-19. Madam Speaker, Alberta’s government provided $500 million to municipalities under the municipal stimulus program in 2020-2021 as part of Alberta’s recovery plan, much of which will be spent in 2021. The aim is to have a future balanced budget with an assurance of creating more jobs and more businesses in the province. If we continue to follow the path to pursue financial stability with our system, then this will definitely help the province and all Albertans. Madam Speaker, let me remind that our government’s platform made a promise to make life better for all Albertans. Domestic violence rates increase during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Alberta’s government provided an additional $6.1 million to shelters across the province, ensuring that supports continue to be safe and accessible. Alberta already has one of the strongest legislations to protect and ensure that all Albertans feel protected against crime. Just this year under the Vital Statistics Act legislation we made an effort to ensure that criminals do not have the opportunity to change their name. And just last year Alberta’s version of Clare’s law was introduced to allow vulnerable Albertans who may be at risk of domestic violence to access relevant information about their partner. This legislation, with the changes to the Emergency 911 Act, will increase the reliability of the services being provided by first responders. Madam Speaker, under Bill 56 we are committed to protect vulnerable Albertans. With the modernization of legislation
like the Emergency 911 Act, that will increase the protection and safety of Albertans who are faced with actual emergency situations. It is finally the time to take action, to make it the right opportunity to propose amendments to modernize the Emergency 911 Act, which has been neglected for many, many years. These changes will modernize and update the 911 system for the first time in nearly 30 years to ensure that Albertans continue to have safe, reliable services when they call or text 911 during an emergency situation. Once the system upgrades are complete, Albertans will be able to text 911 in situations where they cannot call, which is particularly important and crucial for victims of domestic abuse. First responders will be able to locate people faster. To cover the cost of changes, phone bills will see an increase in the 911 levy of 51 cents more payment, up from 44 cents, effective September 1, 2021. Many of us already know customers may raise concerns about an increase to cell phone bills, but Albertans should understand the importance of maintaining the Alberta 911 system, which will support many Albertans facing challenging situations. Madam Speaker, there is a significant risk that Alberta’s 911 system will not be able to transition to NG911 without additional funding, and the government also recognized that. Alberta is experiencing a significant economic downturn from the challenges of the pandemic. It is great to know that there will be no direct provincial financial implications to the government to implement these new changes to the Emergency 911 Act. Madam Speaker, these technology upgrades will have nothing to do with the EMS, policing, firefighters, or professions that are related to first responders. It will be simply, only for the 911 emergency service system and to help first responders and Albertans with efficacy. These changes will allow the reduction of barriers, will improve efficiency, and will support callers and Albertans to utilize a better service that will work regardless who answers the phone. The federal government, through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, has mandated that Canada’s 911 system be upgraded to next generation 911, NG911, technology by March 30, 2024. Madam Speaker, our government will continue to work with other provinces and territories so that the implementation of similar legislation or orders be made, ensuring the same goal and purpose would as well be attained. It explains that this will be a step to a better direction, and it will be more effective as part of a pan-Canadian approach. This is in line with other provinces, and is crucial to cover the cost of the system upgrades. For example, Saskatchewan has announced their levy will be $1.88 per month due to differences in provincial systems, and there has been minimal public pushback to the recent 911 levy increase in New Brunswick. Next generation 911 will improve location correctness of calls to verify a caller’s civic address or device location, helping locate callers in rural and remote areas and determine the height of a call if, for example, someone is calling from a tall building in an urban area. A pin drop will not be required via text because the location will be provided automatically as long as the caller has some phone reception to process the call, which is done through the satellite GPS. Next generation 911 will leverage the growth of broadband in areas underserved by cell phone coverage to make 911 calling much easier. Even in areas with poor cell phone coverage or for individuals that are in areas where it has broadband Wi-Fi coverage, then the call will be processed through that network under the modernized system, NG911. Again, the 911 system will work better unified and will be faster with the modern equipment introduced. 10:50
Madam Speaker, our communities and Albertans have waited far too long for the previous government to act. It is finally time to
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amend and legislate laws that will help Albertans get the support and assistance they deserve. These additions will help communities and individuals that cope with trauma and help to further strengthen the promotion of public safety. The constituents of Calgary-East have been eager to see these changes that will ensure and enhance the public safety in our province and community. They have been in careful watch of the security of their communities as criminal activities happen when no one is observing. With these changes the safety of everyone is strengthened. Madam Speaker, Bill 56 will further strengthen our commitments to help ensure that our vulnerable Albertans that are faced with violent crimes are being protected and have access to reliable and efficient services. These changes in this bill are other steps to ensure the government is taking actions to help protect families and support Albertans. The utmost duty of our government is to protect citizens and strengthen public safety for all Albertans. It is unfair to the victims of violence to be living in a province that does not have a modernized system to ensure they feel safe. Madam Speaker, we must do everything we can to protect the children and vulnerable Albertans. That is why it is important for this bill to pass. There have been many groups and stakeholders who have voiced their support of this bill. The government will never stop finding solutions and communicating information that is vital for the resolution of the current situation. I know that this will receive positive remarks from other governments, who will likely adopt these changes as we try to work harmoniously together. So, Madam Speaker, I again encourage everyone in this Chamber to support this bill and support all individuals that are dealing with the challenges and the families that are affected. Again, I applaud the minister and all the staff and team members that have been involved in the crafting of these proposed changes that will ensure the protection of Alberta and will ensure that our vulnerable population is supported and that services and technology are continuously being updated to meet the demands of our modern- day world. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members, Standing Order 29(2)(a) is available. I see the hon. Member for Calgary-McCall.
Mr. Sabir: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It’s Calgary-McCall.
The Deputy Speaker: I said Calgary-McCall.
Mr. Sabir: Okay. I heard – well, I was listening to the Member for Calgary-East with interest. The member mentioned that there are many stakeholders and many in Calgary who support this bill, so I would like to ask a very simple question to the member. What I heard from Calgarians, what I heard from the city council, including the mayor, many councillors, is that they oppose this bill, the cuts that are proposed through this bill to MSI. If the member would like to share: had he spoken to, talked to, any councillor or the mayor’s office? And, if he would like to share that with us, who was the person, who was the councillor that he spoke to who is supporting this bill? That would be great.
The Deputy Speaker: Any other members wishing to join in on Standing Order 29(2)(a)? Seeing none, any other members wishing to join the debate? The hon. Member for Edmonton-City Centre.
Mr. Shepherd: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate the opportunity to stand and speak to Bill 56, the Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, at third reading. Alberta’s municipalities have faced incredible challenges under this government.
Now, the history of conservative parties in relationships with municipal governments in the province of Alberta has been a fraught one at best. Under 44 years of the Progressive Conservative Party we saw increasing arrogance, entitlement, and condescension on the part of the provincial government towards local municipalities, to the point where there was an unspoken expectation that if they wanted to get anything done, they had best cozy up to the governing party of the province. There were many issues that were flagged in particularly the late aughts, I believe around 2008-2009, in recognition of improper donations to the Progressive Conservative Party through municipal officials and others who felt pressure through that system, that the only way for them to get things done for their municipality was to play that political game. Now, of course, I think that led to the sweeping change that came into the province in 2015, but it has only take two years for this government to reinstate that same state of play and embrace the same level of arrogance and entitlement that had taken 44 years to build initially. Now we see through this legislation that this government is continuing that pattern of condescension, paternalism, arrogance. To be clear, Madam Speaker, municipalities need to be the partners of the provincial government. That is the expectation of Albertans. That is how we get things done for our communities. Instead, what we have seen is that this provincial government has been an impediment to getting things done locally. They have created more difficulties for municipalities in trying to move forward on so many of the initiatives that they have already had under way and been less than helpful and, in many cases, an additional challenge as they have tried to meet the crises that we have seen in the last couple of years. Indeed, in so many ways this government has made those crises worse. One of the key pieces in this legislation, of course, is this government’s decision to cut the MSI by 36 per cent. Now, this is funding that municipal governments depend on for many local initiatives, infrastructure and other work. Of course, municipalities have a limited tax base. They have limited revenue options at their disposal to raise the money they need to provide the services and supports that they are expected to by the people they represent, and this provincial government is making that even more difficult. A provincial government that is running a referendum complaining that they do not get their fair share and a fair shake from Ottawa but in the meantime is downloading more costs and responsibilities to municipalities at every single turn: that, Madam Speaker, is rank hypocrisy. I know I can speak for myself here in the city of Edmonton, representing Edmonton’s downtown. Now, of course, the record for this government so far with the city of Edmonton has been to tear up and throw away the big-city charter that they had promised during the last election they would not remove, that they would support. They broke that promise, and they tore it up. Here in downtown Edmonton I know we have seen an incredible impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, again a situation that was made much worse by this government’s insistence on acting last and acting least at every single turn, allowing cases to get far worse than they had to be and causing far more economic damage by this roller coaster of openings and closings that they put Albertans on. Now, the city of Edmonton, thankfully, has recognized the need to invest in support. Yesterday they rolled out a brand new downtown vibrancy strategy, which will be investing $5 million into that work in the downtown. In that report it talks about how it’s essential and important to recognize that the city is one party in this situation, that it requires collaboration at all levels of government to achieve. What we have with this government instead is that they
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are cutting 36 per cent of the MSI, those investments that are going from the province to municipalities, a form of, shall we say, provincial equalization, Madam Speaker, something on which this government, again, is so insistent on fairness, yet they do not apply that in their own actions where they have the opportunity. 11:00
Going back to that downtown vibrancy, they recognize that it is a partnership, but where is this provincial government on the key elements of partnership to address the needs here in my constituency right now? They were nowhere to be seen when the city of Edmonton and the government of Canada have both stepped up to invest in 210 units of supportive housing to address the fact that we have hundreds of folks here in my community living houseless, on the streets. The government of Alberta under this Premier is nowhere to be seen. They refuse to step up and play a part to do their share. We have an overdose crisis happening here on the streets of my community, with businesses and their employees being traumatized by being left unsupported by this government to deal with the impacts of that public health emergency. They are calling for an emergency response plan. What have they gotten from this government? An announcement of a pilot project for nasal naloxone – now, that’s something that folks have been calling for; it’s a good step – a pilot project in the midst of a crisis, an emergency, Madam Speaker, and the government playing games with access to one of the key initiatives that has been actually helping address this on the streets through the supervised consumption sites, disrupting one of the key responses that is helping to ease that pressure here in my community. That is a response from this government. Where we need partnership and actual collaboration, we have arrogance, entitlement, and a refusal to even engage. That is what Bill 56 represents, this government continuing to double down on its arrogance, entitlement, and paternalistic approach to municipalities in this province, as evidenced in their constant stalling and attempts to obstruct the green line in Calgary while engaging in doublespeak about how they support it when they clearly do not, when they’re clearly throwing every obstacle they possibly can in the world, initiatives that could be creating jobs at a time when Albertans badly need them, that would be sparking economic development at a time when we are recovering from an economic crisis due to COVID-19, breaking their promises. Madam Speaker, this government loves to brag about the promises they kept, but there are some pretty major ones that they have outright broken and many of them to municipalities. That is not helping families and protecting Albertans, as the Member for Calgary-East so dutifully read. It is undermining the ability of municipalities who are doing that work, who are closest to the ground and, frankly, are spending much more time listening to the people they represent than the members of this government, as we have heard clearly on so many issues. I haven’t even started to talk about the economic impacts from this government’s health care policies as they drive doctors out of the province of Alberta. One-fifth of the doctors in the Chinook primary care network – one-fifth of the doctors – are gone, Madam Speaker. How does that affect the economy in Lethbridge and surrounding communities? That is not helping families and protecting Albertans. Forcing municipalities to pay more for 911 calls is not going to help with the fact that they are lacking primary care, though the fact that they are undermining the primary care certainly means that probably there will be much more need for those 911 services That is why, Madam Speaker, I stand against Bill 56, against this undermining of our municipalities’ ability to provide services and
supports, a bill that is clearly opposed by a vast majority of municipal leaders across the province of Alberta and which will only do further damage to the ability of our local municipalities to recover from COVID-19, to stimulate their local economies, to build and maintain the infrastructure needed, to support their citizens. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members, Standing Order 29(2)(a) is available. I see the hon. Member for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland.
Mr. Getson: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Let me just get this mask off here. Hopefully, pretty soon, folks, I’m going to be burning that baby this summer, when we all get these mask restrictions over and done with.
Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Getson: Yeah. A big three cheers for that one. Thank you to the Member for Edmonton-City Centre. I, too, have an interest in his constituency. Now, the interesting part of that, Madam Speaker, is that we tend to talk here sometimes in isolation, that we don’t understand the connection between rural and urban. I think the member opposite might also miss some of those relationships between federal, provincial, and municipal jurisdictions and also the authorities that are granted to municipalities, which are actually children of the province in a lot of cases. He was talking about MSI funding. He was talking about the interactions, kind of a level playing field, how they’re partners, those type of things. I’m not sure if he understands the hierarchy on it because, again, those are children of the province, essentially. Those were granted similar to the education system with the school boards. Now, a lot of these things were taken for granted, that in the case of MSI funding this has been around forever when, actually, Madam Speaker, that’s not the case at all. When I talk to the municipal leaders in my area, the ones that have been around for a long time – they’re kind of the mentors and the stalwarts and the people in the area – they tell me how things were before things were really wealthy in the province and before a lot of things were built up in place. In actuality the municipalities had to, quite frankly, pay for a lot more themselves. It wasn’t the same way it is now. A lot of the real good leaders in the municipalities understand that, and they understand that we’re in a time of financial issues. They understand that through COVID and all the events that have taken place and the last time there was a blip on the radar, they also understand and agree, at least in my area, that the 911 things we’re putting in place are actually going to be a major benefit to them. Now, in specifics with Edmonton-City Centre, I love the city centre. Folks down in Chinatown have reached out to me lots, talking about the drug addiction issues, talking about how it’s problematic. It was under the last administration that they didn’t get the support and services that they needed. When they’ve got security issues, when you have folks that are caught up in that addiction cycle, as an example, starting fires and burning down the Italian Bakery when those two 80-year-old owners were in place, they came to my doorstep to look for help. When I’m hearing the Member for Edmonton-City Centre talk about his area, how he represents them, and then expands the wings to the rest of the province and thinks it’s all the same: partner, we’d better be careful when we start throwing stones in glass houses. Relationships need to be built in that city centre area. I’ve spoken in this House a number of times about the drug addiction issues in that area. I’ve asked why the city council hasn’t taken the folks in Chinatown seriously. They lobbied against this. They had petitions
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put in place, and they were basically trumped. I’ve asked and asked in this House and never heard a response from the member from that part of why three of these major facilities are all within a stone’s throw from each other. Now, here’s the connection to my area. The illicit drug use that’s taking place there is also fed – a lot of those substances are cooked out in my area, or it perpetuates the rural crime issues in my area. Where we’re on the border of Edmonton, there’s a lot of that traffic that ends up down there. When I start talking to my communities and trying to keep the kids out of harm’s way and to keep the gangs and everything from roaming our areas, that requires 911 services to be updated, quite frankly, because a lot of this type of work that’s taking place. People get it. The folks in Chinatown keep reaching out. I would love to try to get the member – maybe I could facilitate a meeting, through you to the member, with the Chinese business community. You can hear the other side of the coin and why they keep picking up the phone and calling the rural cowboy to come in to try to help in those areas. What they’re saying keeps falling on deaf ears. When you start throwing stones, Member, please be careful. It also might come bouncing back at you in your own house. 11:10
Now, as far as the bill itself, I didn’t hear a lot of what the member was speaking about other than the typical talking points about how we’re carrying things down, we’ve got brutal relationships. Here’s how relationships work: you can have disagreements, you can have strong-willed opinions, and you can still respect each other. That’s how it works with most circumstances. If there are folks that get cross-threaded, if it’s a personality conflict, or perhaps even ideologies might precipitate a lot of these types of interactions, most of them you can talk past that. We have our speaking points, we do those things, and here it’s set up for that. Out in the real world when we sit at the tables with our municipalities and we’re talking to them, we can work through the sticking points. But there’s also friction or rub points between municipalities themselves. Whether it’s a city, a summer village, or a county, they also have these rub points. It is always going to come down to one taxpayer, one ratepayer, and how many hands are going in that pocket. There’s only so much wealth to go around, and we need to recognize that.
The Deputy Speaker: Any members wishing to join the debate? The hon. Member for Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview.
Mr. Bilous: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I’m happy to engage in this debate. Unfortunately, I have extremely limited time due to this government’s heavy-handed, undemocratic motion, that passed in this Chamber, to limit debate, which we see time and time again. I rise to speak against this bill. To the member who spoke previously, I would love for him to share how many of his rural municipalities in Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland support this bill, because I’ve heard of none. Not a single one. Now, I may be an Edmonton MLA, but I was the former Minister of Municipal Affairs and had an opportunity to sit down with many, many municipalities throughout the province. I can tell you, Madam Speaker, that what this bill is doing is continuing to download services onto municipalities while also reducing their ability to pay for those services. Municipalities deliver 90 per cent of the services that their residents depend on on a day-to-day basis. Nine zero. How much do they have in revenue? About 7 cents on the dollar. Their hands are completely tied when it comes to generating revenue in order to deliver the services that businesses, families, and every citizen relies on. This government is legislating cuts to MSI with no programs in their place. The reason? Well, the municipalities get
more money than most other municipalities in other jurisdictions; therefore, we’re just going to hack and slash them. Madam Speaker, the fact of the matter is that there is money in the provincial budget. Contrary to the previous member talking about how we’re all belt-tightening, well, how much tightening happened when this government and this Premier gambled $1.3 billion on Donald Trump winning the election? One point three billion dollars being injected into our municipalities would help to create economic activity, would create jobs in our municipalities, would help them to diversify, to look at the opportunities that they have, that they know. I have list after list of mayors and councillors, from the presidents of AUMA to the presidents of RMA, the mayors of towns from Cochrane to Calgary, to Vulcan to St. Albert, to Fort Saskatchewan, who all oppose the cuts that this government is downloading onto them. Madam Speaker, you know, the irony of this is that at the same time this UCP government has increased costs on a number of different areas, from park fees to personal income tax increases, by deindexing. I love when members stand up and say: we’re not increasing personal income taxes. You are, and your leader is on record, when he was the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who screamed about how bracket creep or deindexing is a form of taxes. Now that he’s the Premier of Alberta, somehow – what? – he misspoke 10 years ago?
Mr. Eggen: He does that a lot.
Mr. Bilous: He seems to do that a lot. There are other issues that he’s now denying he made certain comments on. I won’t get into them in this speech, but the fact of the matter is that this government has increased costs on Albertans. So when they stand up and say that there is only one taxpayer: yeah; you need to get that message. You’re increasing costs on Albertans. You’re forcing municipalities – in fact, there’s one rural municipality, the village of Hythe. The mayor has said that he’s actually recommending the dissolution of the municipality because of the cuts that they are unable to sustain or – or – they have to increase their property taxes by 150 per cent. How many members of the UCP support that? If they vote in favour of this bill, they are supporting massive tax increases on municipalities. Now, municipalities can choose to defer maintenance on their infrastructure. The problem is – and many of them do that as a way to save in this year’s budget or next year’s budget – that all you’re doing is kicking the can further down the road to a point when the repairs on that infrastructure will be significantly higher than if the investments were made in an ongoing period. Our municipalities are who we rely on for our roads, our bridges, which move people, which move goods, which businesses need, but our municipalities need support. They have limited means. This is where the big-city charters were negotiated, where cities would participate in revenue. The model that was brought forward meant that when government revenues go up, municipalities get more; when government revenues go down, they get less. The two cities understood that if they wanted to participate . . .
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. member, I hesitate to interrupt, but pursuant to Government Motion 91 all questions must now be put.
[The voice vote indicated that the motion for third reading carried]
[Several members rose calling for a division. The division bell was rung at 11:18 a.m.]
[Fifteen minutes having elapsed, the Assembly divided]
[The Deputy Speaker in the chair]
June 16, 2021 Alberta Hansard 5585
For the motion: Aheer Hunter Rowswell Allard Issik Sawhney Armstrong-Homeniuk LaGrange Schweitzer Copping Luan Singh Fir Madu Stephan Getson McIver Toor Glasgo Neudorf Turton Glubish Orr Walker Goodridge Panda Williams Guthrie Pon Wilson Hanson Rosin Yao Horner
Against the motion: Bilous Goehring Shepherd Deol Sabir Sweet Eggen
Totals: For – 34 Against – 7
[Motion carried; Bill 56 read a third time]
head: Government Bills and Orders Committee of the Whole
[Mrs. Pitt in the chair]
The Chair: Hon. members, I’d like to call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill 58 Freedom to Care Act
The Chair: There are currently no amendments on the floor. Are there any members that are wishing to join the debate? The hon. Member for Edmonton-Castle Downs.
Ms Goehring: Thank you, Madam Chair. Seeing that there aren’t amendments on the floor at this time, I would like to introduce an amendment.
The Chair: Hon. members, this will be known as amendment A5. Hon. member, please proceed.
Ms Goehring: Thank you. I would like to move that Bill 58, Freedom to Care Act, be amended by adding the following immediately after 5(4):
(5) If an exemption order has been made under subsection (1) in respect of a non-profit organization, the non-profit organization must, within 5 business days of the making of that order provide to all of its employees, volunteers and clients (a) a copy of the order, and (b) an explanation in writing of the effects of the order on
the non-profit organization’s (i) delivery of its programs or services, and (ii) employees and volunteers.
I am requesting that the Assembly support this amendment because we know that most volunteers are familiar with the rules and parameters of the work that they do, and they’re aware of how these rules protect them and the clients that they serve. Bill 58 would allow for exemptions to be given that would change the rules and parameters without the knowledge of the volunteers. To protect
their health and safety, all volunteers deserve to know when these exemptions are given and why. This amendment requires that if an exemption is given to a nonprofit organization, they’re obligated to provide a copy of the exemption to all employees, volunteers, and clients along with a written explanation of the effects of the exemption on the delivery of programs or services, employees, and volunteers. With that, Madam Chair, I would request that everyone support this amendment.
The Chair: Any other members wishing to speak to amendment A5? Seeing none, I will call the question.
[The voice vote indicated that the motion on amendment A5 lost]
[Several members rose calling for a division. The division bell was rung at 11:40 a.m.]
[Fifteen minutes having elapsed, the committee divided]
[Mrs. Pitt in the chair]
For the motion: Bilous Goehring Shepherd Deol Sabir Sweet Eggen
Against the motion: Aheer Horner Rowswell Allard Hunter Sawhney Armstrong-Homeniuk Issik Schweitzer Copping LaGrange Singh Fir Luan Stephan Getson Madu Toor Glasgo Neudorf Turton Glubish Orr Walker Goodridge Panda Williams Gotfried Pon Wilson Guthrie Rosin Yao Hanson
Totals: For – 7 Against – 34
[Motion on amendment A5 lost]
The Chair: The committee will now rise and report progress.
[The Deputy Speaker in the chair]
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Red Deer-South.
Mr. Stephan: Madam Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has had under consideration a certain bill: Bill 58. The committee reports progress on the following bill: Bill 58. I wish to table copies of an amendment considered by Committee of the Whole on this date for the official records of the Assembly.
The Deputy Speaker: Does the Assembly concur in the report?
Hon. Members: Concur.
The Deputy Speaker: Any opposed, please say no. So carried. Hon. members, the House now stands adjourned until 1:30 this afternoon.
[The Assembly adjourned at 12 p.m.]
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Table of Contents
Prayers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5577
Orders of the Day ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 5577
Government Motions Time Allocation on Bill 56 .................................................................................................................................................................. 5577
Division ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 5577 Time Allocation on Bill 58 .................................................................................................................................................................. 5577
Division ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 5578 Time Allocation on Bill 70 .................................................................................................................................................................. 5578
Division ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 5579
Government Bills and Orders Third Reading
Bill 56 Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 ............................................................................................................ 5579 Division ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 5584
Committee of the Whole Bill 58 Freedom to Care Act ...................................................................................................................................................... 5585
Division ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 5585
Alberta Hansard is available online at www.assembly.ab.ca For inquiries contact: Editor Alberta Hansard 3rd Floor, 9820 – 107 St EDMONTON, AB T5K 1E7 Telephone: 780.427.1875 E-mail: AlbertaHansard@assembly.ab.ca Published under the Authority of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta ISSN 0383-3623