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 (UC) 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 (UC) 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: 62 New Democrat: 24 Independent: 1
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
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
April 8, 2021 Alberta Hansard 4383
Legislative Assembly of Alberta Title: Thursday, April 8, 2021 1:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, 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 interest and prejudice, keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all. Hon. members, please remain standing as we will be led in the singing of God Save the Queen by Ms Brooklyn Elhard.
Ms Elhard: God save our gracious Queen, Long live our noble Queen, God save the Queen! Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the Queen!
The Speaker: Hon. members, please be seated.
head: Members’ Statements Government Members’ Remarks on COVID-19
Mr. Shepherd: It’s a miracle, Mr. Speaker. Members of the UCP caucus have found a voice to speak out against their government. Members of the government side sat quiet as the Premier fired the Election Commissioner, covering up the investigation of fraud within the leadership race that he won. They kept mum as the Health minister went to war with doctors, yelled at one in his driveway, and drove others out of their communities. They sat mute as thousands of Albertans spoke out against the Energy minister’s plans to rip up our Rocky Mountains for coal exploration and mining. They brushed off constituents who raised concerns about the Minister of Environment and Parks’ plan to sell off Alberta parks. They dismissed thousands of teachers and others they represent as the Finance minister seized control of their pensions and have nothing to say on behalf of the 90 per cent of Alberta teachers who oppose the Premier’s new curriculum or the parents who stand beside them or the indigenous communities speaking out against their lack of accurate representation and inclusion. But now they’ve suddenly found their voice. They’re taking a stand against this Premier. They’re speaking out on behalf of their constituents, and on what? Undermining the work of our public health officials and the public health measures in place to save Albertans’ lives. They’re stepping up to amplify toxic rhetoric and outright misinformation about the greatest public health crisis we’ve ever faced. This will resonate in their constituencies and with people already skeptical of COVID-19. It will embolden antimaskers who go out of their way to defy public health restrictions and endanger others, and as a result more people will get sick, and more will die. Now, I believe elected leaders should represent their constituents – it’s an essential part of our work – but with great power comes great responsibility. Our words have weight. We can change minds. So I’m begging these 18 members of the UCP caucus to consider using your voice to support science and the public health orders that will
keep people safe rather than tearing them down and to call for real investment to support individuals and businesses in their communities through this final wave of COVID-19, a far better investment than the no-jobs corporate handout they also stayed silent on. That would show they’re listening and truly care about the people and province they serve.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Livingstone-Macleod.
Mr. Reid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Alberta is still reeling from the most significant health and economic crisis in the province’s history. The commodities slump, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the OPEC oil price wars have tested us like never before. But there is reason to be cautiously optimistic. BMO recently forecasted a 6 per cent growth in Alberta’s GDP this year, the highest in Canada. Desjardins recently indicated that the province will lead the country in economic growth, both in 2021 and 2022. Alberta tech firms have attracted a record $455 million in venture capital in 2020, and our government has recently announced another round of funding for small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic. And there’s more hope on the horizon, Mr. Speaker. Dr. Jack Mintz, chair of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Council and a member of the panel, put it best when he said recently in a Calgary Herald article, quote: we’ve gone through such a harsh year, but we’ll see a big rebound in 2021. End quote. Our corporate tax rates are on the way to being the lowest in North America because of our government’s leadership, and slowly but surely our approach is bearing fruit. Oil prices, investment, and the housing market are rebounding to prepandemic and even in some cases pre NDP govern- ment levels. High tech, the cattle market, and other agriculture commodities are also increasing in value, which are important industries in my riding of Livingstone-Macleod. Oil and gas, long a cornerstone industry for Alberta, is also pivoting in a big way through hydrogen production, carbon capture and storage, high tech, and mineral extraction. We are supporting these new markets and the technologies that drive them through our TIER fund, which is on track to reduce emissions by 38 million tonnes by 2030 and generate nearly $2 billion in economic activity for the province. As we know, Alberta has a great story to tell, and there’s reason to believe that the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight when it comes to the province’s economic recovery.
Civil Society Fund
Ms Goodridge: We are blessed to live in a province filled with kind and generous individuals who go an extra mile to help out our communities. Each year 1.6 million Albertans provide over 260 million volunteer hours through acts of social good. Over the past year civil society organizations have continued supporting Albertans and have made tremendous efforts to see the burden of pressing social issues eased during this pandemic. But there is no sector that has been immune to the effects of the global pandemic. When nonprofits struggle, so do their clients and their employees. Alberta has over 26,000 nonprofit organizations, employing more than 280,000 Albertans. The number one priority of Alberta’s government is protecting lives and livelihoods, and that includes the clients and employees of our civil society organizations. In December 2020 Alberta’s government launched the civil society fund, committing $20 million over the next three years to help address social challenges facing Albertans. Seven million dollars of this fund was allocated
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for the 2020-21 year to support civil society’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Since the launch of the civil society fund, Alberta’s government has received a tremendous response from nonprofit and volunteer organizations, registered charities, and informal groups all across the province. After a crossministry review of applications, 21 community organizations throughout Alberta will receive funding from this program, including the Boys & Girls Club of Alberta and NotInMyCity, just to name a couple. Nonprofits play such a critical role in the well-being of Albertans and make such significant contributions to our province and our economy. An effective recovery for these organizations will help support the recovery of our province. Reducing social issues in Alberta by expanding the capacity of civil society was a campaign commitment of this government and is another promise made, promise kept.
Educational Curriculum Redesign
Mr. Carson: First, cuts to education, now the draft curriculum. Parents and teachers in Alberta are not happy with the direction of this UCP government. Albertans continue to express their disappointment with the draft curriculum, and all they are met with is ignorance of their claims. The UCP claim to have widespread support for their draft curriculum, but all I’ve heard are the widespread concerns of Albertan parents, teachers, and others who care greatly about the future of this province. Primary education provides the foundation for the rest of our students’ schooling, and it has a great influence on the lives of these students. Children are the future of this province, Mr. Speaker, and with this curriculum, instead of moving towards that bright future, we are moving into the past. One teacher created a graphic that compares the most common words in each grouping of text, showing which topics are considered to be the most valuable according to the creators of the curriculum. In the current curriculum the words that stand out are “community,” “Canada,” and “understanding.” The new draft curriculum replaces those words with words like “Genghis Khan” and “the Roman Empire.” Are these really the topics that young Albertans should be focusing on in this day and age, Mr. Speaker? These topics are outdated in a time when we should be focusing on the great diversity of our province and the true history of our country. This history, however unfortunate, is important for children to learn about in order to grow into compassionate, innovative Albertans who will greatly improve the future of this province. In order to provide young Albertans with the education they need to create that brighter future, the curriculum draft needs to be revised significantly away from ideas of the past. Thank you.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Leduc-Beaumont has a statement to make.
1:40 Educational Curriculum Redesign
Mr. Rutherford: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last week the Minister of Education released the new K to 6 draft curriculum that will be piloted next school year, with full implementation in 2022. We committed to depoliticizing the curriculum so that students would be best prepared to learn the fundamentals. By doing this, we removed any political bias to offer an objective interpretation of history and civics and our home. By moving away from the failure of discovery math and experimental teaching methods, we will allow students to finally learn proven methods. This focus on foundational competencies will improve skills and provide students with an effective learning experience.
After years of declining student scores, from first to 17th out of 45 in literacy in a 10-year span and from fourth to 16th in math over a 12-year span, these numbers need to improve. Key learning themes will focus on literacy, numeracy, citizenship, and practical skills. By tackling these issues, the curriculum looks to teach proven best practices that will improve student outcomes. This will help students master comprehensive skills, fluently understand numbers and equations, and develop their critical thinking by drawing from history, geography, and other civics. Finally, the curriculum will also include practical skills. This will include the importance of personal budgeting, digital literacy and coding, business planning, healthy relationships, and the importance of consent. These skills are essential in future life for whatever path these students choose. This is one of the many reasons why the curriculum has been endorsed by the likes of George Georgiou, an educational psychology professor; Sheldon Kennedy; and former Grand Chief Littlechild. The new curriculum is balanced and will ensure that students in Alberta are well prepared for the future.
Ms Renaud: They’re black, brown, indigenous, white, Asian. They’re gay, straight, queer, two spirit, trans, female, male. They’re the very vulnerable young, the often marginalized very old. They’re poor; they’re wealthy. They’re Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, et cetera. They’re students, doctors, lawyers, scientists, environmental activists, artists, designers, business owners, teachers, service sector workers, coders. Some can’t work; some are training for work; some are looking for work. Some speak multiple languages; some only speak one. Some don’t communicate verbally. Some use wheelchairs. Some are deaf. Some are blind. Some have Down syndrome. Some have seizures, and some do not. I draw your attention to the one thing that intersects all of these social categorizations, and that is autism. There’s a saying that once you meet one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person. April is autism awareness month. Autism advocates have been trying to change the name to autism acceptance month, but we aren’t quite there yet. We know that 1 in 66 Canadian children are autistic, and those are the kids lucky enough to access diagnostic services. While I appreciated the government’s statement on world autism day, we need real investment and measurable progress, not photo ops. Investment means restoring PUF to where it was and addressing the thousands of autistic Albertans on wait-lists for disability supports. Investment also means properly funding education so that no child is left behind. We all have to know by now that early diagnosis, intervention, and investment results in spectacular things. This April when you acknowledge autism awareness or acceptance month, instead of lighting something up blue and feeling pretty good about it, make a point of listening to an actually autistic Albertan. They have a lot to say about what they need and what they’d like to see. Thank you.
COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement
Mr. Yao: Mr. Speaker, when my constituents ask me why we can’t open up fully, why they can’t work out in a gym or visit their families or work at their place of employment, when teachers and firefighters and so many others are asking why they can’t access the vaccine, it’s because we barely have any. With a population of over 37 million, just over 729,000 people have been fully vaccinated. This is less than 2 per cent of Canadians that have received adequate vaccinations. The numbers speak for themselves.
April 8, 2021 Alberta Hansard 4385
As of today Canada was ranked 41st in the world for the percentage of their population being vaccinated. Chile, Bahrain, Poland, Romania, and Chechnya are examples of countries having greater vaccine success. Canada was so bad at accessing vaccines that ours is the only western nation to draw vaccines from a supply meant for third-world nations. Canada took vaccines that were meant for countries like Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Sudan. As an added bonus, we’re one of only a few nations that are actually going against manufacturer recommendations by delaying second doses simply so that the Prime Minister can brag about the number of people getting vaccine access. How did we get so far behind? The answer is quite simple: an incompetent Liberal government. Prime Minister Trudeau boasts about Canada getting 640,000 additional vaccines, the amount our American neighbours go through in a single morning. Despite pharmaceutical companies in Alberta and Quebec needing financial injections to kick-start vaccine production, scientists that have experience in creating vaccines for Ebola and Zika could not get funding from the Trudeau Liberals. How can the Prime Minister justify his reckless COVID-19 spending but then turn around and fail to fund Canadian vaccine creators during a crippling pandemic? If he’s not taking selfies and handing out money to his friends or ostracizing strong women or painting his body and face with black paint, Trudeau certainly doesn’t demonstrate much competence. If people wonder why we have to deal with more restrictions to our freedoms due to COVID, it’s because of the utter failure of the federal Liberal government. The Trudeau Liberals’ inability to protect Canadians and refusal to support our own vaccine creation is a real travesty, in my opinion.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Airdrie-Cochrane.
Natural Resource Development Policies
Mr. Guthrie: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A campaign promise fulfilled by this government centred around the defence and advocacy of Alberta’s resource sectors, defence from radical groups, activists, and, yes, political parties hell bent on spreading misinformation about vital industries that are the economic engines of this province. Now that the previous government sits in opposition, Albertans get to witness the true motives of the NDP, motives and actions against our energy, timber, and agriculture sectors. These motives fly in the face of job creation for the people of this province. They want to keep Albertans down. They want to keep Alberta workers unemployed. They support the Trudeau Liberals in their desire to intrude on our economic freedom. Let’s shine a light on their deception, Mr. Speaker. During estimates the NDP put forth an amendment intending to remove the entire $27 million energy industry advocacy budget, including the closing of the Canadian Energy Centre. The NDP cannot hide their disdain for industry. Their outright refusal to defend our resource sectors is indicative of that fact. Those that sit in this Chamber, with no threat of losing their jobs, protected at this time of COVID and economic turmoil: they are the lucky ones. But the vac truck drivers, the engineers, the service companies, and the rig operators, well, they appreciate the advocacy, and they are not protected. They appreciate a government fighting for their jobs and their livelihoods rather than spending the day spewing lies about their industry on Twitter. No, Mr. Speaker, these workers are not protected, and that is exactly who the CEC is fighting for. This government proudly defends our responsibly developed and ethically produced resource sectors on behalf of those workers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Educational Curriculum Redesign
Ms Glasgo: Mr. Speaker, the United Conservatives promised to address jarring issues in the K to 12 school curriculum, and last week the Minister of Education unveiled the draft K to 6 curriculum that has been in development for 18 months. Now, if we listened to the opposition, you’d think that this new curriculum would cause irreparable damage to our children’s learning. This outlandish belief leads me to believe that the NDP may not have even read the new curriculum, but judging from the previous teaching program, I doubt they did the last one either. I’ll try to dispel some of those myths today. Alberta schools will be focused on teaching the essential knowledge and skills needed to reclaim our place as a world leader in education. The new curriculum focuses on literacy, using phonics, laying a solid foundation for building a child’s entire education. By focusing on numeracy, students are set for success with essential knowledge for everyday life like budgeting and the value of a dollar while preparing them for future, more complex learning. This type of financial literacy hasn’t been present in our school curriculum before, and I think it’s long overdue. Further, our future leaders will be taught all of our province’s and country’s diverse history in context. Our children will learn all about diverse cultural and indigenous heritage that built this great land while learning about the hard truths that we work so earnestly not to repeat. Alberta students will learn about the ultimate sacrifice that over 120,000 Canadians paid for our freedoms, the significance of Orange Shirt Day, and the people of colour who have been instrumental in making Alberta one of the best places in the world. Essential learning, like the importance of consent, replaces Extinction Rebellion. Household budgeting, business planning, and a focus on STEM takes the place of failed experiments like discovery math, partisan calls to action, and the refusal to even mention Alberta by name. Thank you to the Minister of Education for her tireless efforts and the experts who wrote this course material. Alberta’s children have a bright future indeed, armed with this common-sense curriculum. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
head: Oral Question Period
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Glenora has the call.
Government Members’ Remarks on COVID-19
Ms Hoffman: Yesterday 17 members of the formerly united Conservative government caucus told Albertans that laws don’t matter, that public health orders designed to save lives are an annoyance. This includes MLAs who represent some of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in our province. Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to the government: what does it say about the government’s ability to lead us through a global pandemic when a quarter of the government caucus refuses to be the leaders they need to be and follow the law? 1:50
Mr. Kenney: Well, Mr. Speaker, what that question says about the NDP is that they continue to make things up and misrepresent the facts. Members of this Assembly are elected to represent their constituents and, in this democracy, to speak their minds. No member of this place has called for people to disregard the law or to engage in civil disobedience, and if the NDP is actually concerned about that, then why would they invent such a claim when it’s not supported by the facts? This government has acted
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and will continue to act to protect lives and livelihoods, to protect our health care system, and we’ll continue to do the right thing.
Ms Hoffman: The Member for West Yellowhead posted that he used to live on the coast, that he’s seen waves, and he’s experienced ripples. He claims that COVID-19’s third wave is a ripple. The Premier knows that a thousand people or more will soon be in hospital, hundreds more will be sick at home, and people will die. The COVID forecast is not a ripple; if anything, it’s a tsunami warning. Will the Premier set the record straight, tell the people of West Yellowhead that their MLA is wrong, and tell Albertans that this isn’t a ripple, that they must follow the rules to save lives?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, I’ve been urging Albertans to carefully follow the public health measures for the past year. I’ve reiterated the urgency of that in the context of this very serious wave that we are now experiencing not just here but across many parts of the world. Here is the message for people who are frustrated and impatient. We are very close to the end of this thing. If we can just stick to our guns, observe these rules over the next few weeks, we’ll be able to get out of this, thanks to the vaccines.
Ms Hoffman: Maybe the Premier should start by telling his actual caucus that. Mr. Speaker, the Premier has lost control. He has proven to be a weak and ineffective leader. One-quarter of his caucus and counting is deliberately misleading the public about the real threat of COVID-19. They are the problem. Their denial of this is serious, and it will lead to longer shutdowns, more harm to businesses, and more Albertans will die.
Mr. McIver: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Ms Hoffman: To the Premier: will the Premier grow a backbone, do the right thing, and force these MLAs to apologize and correct the record, and if they won’t, will he kick each and every one of them out of the government?
The Speaker: A point of order is noted at 1:52.
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, democratic debate on public policy does not constitute a threat to public health or people’s lives, and I’ll tell you what is weak leadership. Weak leadership is the kind of leadership that feels so threatened by different views that leaders kick people out of their caucus or the government, like the Leader of the Opposition did. She could brook no – she was so weak as Premier, she couldn’t tolerate a single MLA speaking against government policy on a single issue. We defend parliamentary democracy while doing the right thing to keep people safe during this pandemic.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Glenora.
Ms Hoffman: Yet the Premier is not.
Educational Curriculum Redesign
Ms Hoffman: The verdict is also in from teachers on this Premier and his new curriculum: it’s fatally flawed. Ninety per cent of teachers, the professionals that we employ to train the next generation of Albertans, are opposed to teaching this backwards curriculum, yet the Premier persists. He boasts that his curriculum has widespread, overwhelming support, which there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate. Albertans are overwhelmingly telling him that this will set kids back. To the Premier: will you finally admit that there is an
overwhelming opposition to your UCP curriculum and pull the pilot?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, unions can have polls, but we had a big, big democratic poll in April of 2019. It was called a general election. This government was elected with the largest mandate in Alberta history, over a million votes, and one of the key issues in that campaign, explicitly addressed in this government’s platform, was to stop the NDP’s ideological curriculum, to consult broadly and transparently on a renewed curriculum that would focus on good, strong outcomes in areas like literacy, numeracy, and civic literacy.
Ms Hoffman: The Premier has failed to deliver on any key pillars within his mandate. This curriculum moves backwards, and it is a mess. Ninety-five per cent of principals, those who are entrusted to run our schools, oppose this failed curriculum. If you only got 5 per cent on a test right, that wouldn’t just be a fail, Premier; that would be a hard fail, an embarrassment, a clear demonstration that he didn’t even try to meet the challenge. To the Premier: how can he possibly move forward with this minister’s disastrous curriculum when school leaders are so dead set against it?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, we know that many in the education policy establishment got it completely wrong on the disastrous experiment of discovery math in particular and inquiry learning generally. This government got our marching orders from ordinary Albertans, over a million of them, who endorsed our platform that said we would put an end to the obsessive focus on the failed experiment of discovery math and inquiry learning. We’ve done that. We’ve brought forward a curriculum based on widespread input, including from teachers. We will make revisions based on constructive criticism.
Ms Hoffman: This past summer more than 90 per cent of doctors expressed their nonconfidence in the current Minister of Health, which led the current Premier to declare him the finest minister in Alberta’s history, and today we have more than 90 per cent of teachers expressing no confidence in what’s supposed to be the current Minister of Education’s chief accomplishment, the content students are supposed to learn in Alberta schools. It’s another resounding declaration that this current government has lost the confidence of health care and education professionals. To the Premier. Teachers and principals have given a failing grade to this minister. Will he finally pull this curriculum off the table, and if he won’t, will he pull this minister?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, just today one of the country’s leading experts on math instruction, Professor Bica at the University of Manitoba, said that, quotes, this is the first math curriculum I like; this is a game changer by focusing on nuts and bolts. The NDP defended the failure of a decade of decline in math outcomes in this province and of literacy outcomes. Albertans won’t have it. That’s why they gave us marching orders to bring back tried, true, and tested teaching methods. That’s what this curriculum is about, and it is, of course, open to constructive suggestions for improvement.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-City Centre.
Government Members’ Remarks on COVID-19 (continued)
Mr. Shepherd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Masks spread COVID, kids are washing their hands too much, we’re too risk averse when it comes to COVID: those are just some of the claims made by UCP
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MLAs as part of their mission to diminish the consequences of this deadly pandemic, which has cost over 2,000 deaths. The Premier has refused to condemn or even rebuke these reckless, fact-free claims coming from his own backbench. Now, this variant-driven third wave is extremely dangerous, and the last thing Albertans need is UCP MLAs diminishing the severity of this pandemic. Will the Premier finally repudiate the false claims his caucus has kept making about this pandemic?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, what is it that the so-called New Democratic Party does not understand about democracy? There is a diverse range of views about how governments should best respond to the threat and challenge of the pandemic, and to suggest that we should have no tolerance for different views about how best to address it is undemocratic. At the end of the day the government is responsible for taking decisions based on science, data, and expert advice from the chief medical officer. That’s exactly what we’ve done to protect lives and livelihoods. That’s what we will continue to do.
Mr. Shepherd: Mr. Speaker, the facts are that 17 MLAs in the UCP caucus have revolted against this Premier and the public health measures, and they are failing their constituents. That includes the Member for Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, whose constituency has the highest case rate per capita in the province; 14 per cent of the students at Edwin Parr school in his area have COVID-19. Will the Premier perhaps explain why that member should still be the MLA for Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock when his claim that COVID-19 isn’t a real threat ignores that 2 per cent of the people he represents are infected, including 100 kids at a single school in his constituency?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t heard any member of this place denying the reality or the threat of COVID. What I have heard some members say is that the public health restrictions have been extremely painful and have had their own negative consequences, including not just in financial ruin for many people but mental and emotional health crises as well. You know, that’s why the government has sought to strike a balance between the protection of lives, the health care system but also to minimize those negative effects. It would be nice for the NDP to stand up for once and acknowledge the people who are hurting because of these restrictions.
Mr. Shepherd: Mr. Speaker, I stand daily on behalf of Albertans, and that’s why I’m calling out the Member for Lacombe-Ponoka, who sent out an e-mail talking about his fight with public health officials and accusing them of being obsessed with fear. While that member plots how to defeat the people on the front lines fighting this pandemic, he seems to have forgotten that Ponoka county, which he represents, has the second-highest case rate in the province. Will the Premier agree to sit down with the Member for Lacombe-Ponoka, the Member for Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, maybe the 15 others in his caucus that are undermining the public health of this province, explain to them that COVID-19 is real and people in their constituencies are getting sick and dying? 2:00
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, I know that every member of this place understands the real menace of this lethal pandemic. But we can look around the world at different democratically elected governments. Right next door in British Colombia, generally that NDP government has had less severe restrictions than Alberta has for most of the past several months. So naturally there is a legitimate and necessary debate about how best to tackle the pandemic without causing widespread damage to society. At the
end of the day, this government makes the right calls based on expert advice.
Mr. Dang: Among the 17 UCP MLAs openly advocating to break the law when it comes to COVID-19 is the Member for Grande Prairie, who once served as the Minister of Municipal Affairs. She was in charge of the vaccine rollout, she was head of emergency management for months during this pandemic, and as it shockingly turns out, she’s not scared of COVID and believes the public health orders are unnecessary. To the Premier: did you know that your former minister and head of emergency management actually doesn’t think COVID-19 is a serious threat, and does the Premier even vet these people?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, I’m not sure what that has to do with government business, first of all. Secondly, I would refer the member to the statements made by the Member for Grande Prairie after she suffered through COVID herself about what a serious threat it is. Thirdly, neither that member nor any member of this place has counselled people to violate the law, and it is, frankly, defamatory to suggest otherwise. I look forward to the member opposite standing up, retracting, and apologizing for that gross, defamatory falsehood.
Mr. Dang : Seventeen members of this Premier’s caucus are in open revolt. The only reason this Member for Grande Prairie is no longer in cabinet is because she was caught travelling to Hawaii over Christmas while the vast majority of Albertans followed public health orders and stayed home. It’s only conceivable that this minister was in cabinet briefings, where the chief medical officer of health would have detailed just how serious COVID-19 is and the great pain and suffering it’s causing. To the Premier: do cabinet ministers even pay attention in public health briefings? Perhaps the minister was too busy on Expedia booking flights to Honolulu.
Mr. Kenney: I’m afraid I had some difficulty hearing the question, Mr. Speaker. I will just reiterate that ministers, particularly those who are members of the emergency management committee or different committees that have dealt with COVID, are acutely aware of the issues, of the data, of the threat. We have spent collectively hundreds of hours studying the issue but, more importantly, looking at every possible response to keep people safe while minimizing the impact of restrictions on our broader society, unlike the NDP, that just wants to shut everything down, violate every right and freedom, and close every business.
Mr. Dang: Those very ministers are now signing letters that say not to follow the rules. The Alohagate scandal damaged Albertans’ faith in public health orders and in this government. Now we see that the minister at the very centre of it never believed COVID-19 is real or serious. People are dying. We need real leadership. To the Premier: has the government confirmed that every single member . . .
Mr. McIver: Point of order.
Mr. Dang: . . . of the current cabinet understands the threat of COVID-19, believes in the science, and supports the public health orders? If not, will the Premier identify the COVID deniers in his cabinet right now, here and today?
The Speaker: I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the question with respect to government business or policy was. If the Premier would like to respond, he’s welcome to do so.
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, the member just reiterated a defamatory falsehood. He accused a member of this place of having signed
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letters instructing people not to follow the law. That is manifestly untrue. You yourself should know that, because you signed the letter. Would you please correct the member?
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Livingstone-Macleod.
Coal Development Policy Consultation
Mr. Reid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have received hundreds of e- mails and phone calls from my constituents about the government’s decision to rescind the 1976 coal policy. The eastern slopes are a beautiful and breathtaking place. Many of my constituents are worried that coal development could negatively impact the environment, our drinking water, and our ag industry. Could the Minister of Energy please explain what the government is doing to properly consult and hear from residents of my constituency and other Albertans?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Municipal Affairs.
Mr. McIver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Albertans have told our government loud and clear that they want a say in how the province will manage coal development. We’ve appointed a committee composed of Albertans with varying perspectives on coal develop- ment to lead an independent, transparent engagement process. The committee is ultimately responsible for designing and conducting the engagement and ensuring that the voices of all interested Albertans are heard. It will provide the Minister of Energy with a report by November 15 that describes Albertans’ perspectives on coal development and provides recommendations to the minister about the province’s development of a modern coal policy.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Livingstone-Macleod.
Mr. Reid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, Minister. Given that many of my constituents feel like they were not properly consulted before the ’76 coal policy was rescinded and given that there are many diverse voices in Livingstone-Macleod that deserve to be heard and consulted with, including members of the Piikani First Nation, can the same minister let us know how the members of the Coal Policy Committee were chosen and how these members reflect the diversity of opinions on this issue?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Municipal Affairs.
Mr. McIver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The committee members offer a wide range of perspectives on coal development and conservation of Alberta’s landscapes. Through outreach with multiple stakeholders over the past weeks, the committee members were chosen from amongst the eastern slopes to represent a broad set of skills and experiences. The Coal Policy Committee includes an internationally recognized expert in environmental assessment and monitoring, a former Alberta environment minister, the executive director of the Hinton & District Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Livingstone landowners group, and a member of the Piikani nation, who is also a small-business owner.
The Speaker: The hon. member.
Mr. Reid: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that Albertans can voice their opinions on the coal policy through a survey until April 19 and given that this survey is only the beginning of a lengthy and comprehensive consultation process, once again, can the Minister of Energy please explain what the next steps are after April 19 and
what the government will do with the recommendations of the committee?
The Speaker: The Minister of Transportation and Municipal Affairs has risen.
Mr. McIver: Thanks, Mr. Speaker and to the member for their advocacy. The engagement process led by the committee will be widespread and comprehensive. It will begin with the initial survey to help determine the committee’s design of future engagement. The committee will take the time to hear a wide range of perspectives and begin scheduling stakeholder meetings immediately. In addition, we will also begin engagement with indigenous leaders and other communities. It’s important to remember that the development of the ’76 coal policy was such a lengthy process because it was developed from scratch. This engagement and the resulting work on a modern coal policy will build on the knowledge gained from the existing policy and the regulatory system.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-McCall is next.
Government Members’ Remarks on COVID-19 (continued)
Mr. Sabir: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. While my constituents were working tirelessly in front-line, essential jobs throughout this pandemic, the Premier blamed them for having large families and smaller homes. The Premier is silent now and actually condoning the action of 17 UCP MLAs who are actively undermining public health orders. Will the Premier stop blaming my constituents for spreading COVID-19 and take action against his MLAs who are spreading inaccurate information that could get people killed?
Mr. Kenney: Well, Mr. Speaker, another false and misleading defamatory question from the NDP. As I’ve said repeatedly, no one is to blame for COVID-19. Nobody does anything purposely to infect other people. It is true that we’ve seen evidence of growing noncompliance with public health measures, and I encourage the NDP to join with us in encouraging all Albertans in all parts of the province from all backgrounds to carefully follow those public health measures to get this thing under control.
Mr. Sabir: Given that all my constituents have gotten from this Premier are insults and allegations that they were not taking the threat of the virus seriously but given that it’s actually one-quarter of the Premier’s caucus that thinks COVID-19 is a joke, even though 2,000 Albertans have died and more than 155,000 have gotten sick, to the Premier: will you finally apologize to my constituents, and will you admit the real problem with taking the virus seriously lies in your own ranks?
Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, I’m really having a hard time with this line of NDP questioning today because they claim that statements from members calling COVID fake and a joke and encouraging people not to follow the rules will create a problem with public perception. But no MLAs have said those things. All of those are false claims invented by the NDP. If they’re actually concerned about the educational role that elected officials play, then why are they completely fabricating the position of members who recognize the threat of COVID but also the impact of health restrictions?
Mr. Sabir: Given that the member for Airdrie has told Albertans that they’re not alone in the fight against public health restrictions and given that not following those restrictions risks the lives of my constituents and Albertans who are performing essential work
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during this pandemic, to the Premier: explain to my constituents and Albertans why you are willing to risk them getting sick and dying so you can save political face in your crumbling caucus. 2:10
Mr. Kenney: Well, it never takes them very long, Mr. Speaker, of accusing Conservatives of wanting people to die. What pathetic gutter politics. That is beneath this institution. What they are so obsessed with is the notion that this is a vibrant democracy, where elected representatives may have different views on critical matters of public policy. None of that subordinates the government’s responsibility to do the right thing based on expert advice and the scientific evidence to protect lives and livelihoods. Would they please stop lying about their fellow members of this place? [interjections]
Mr. McIver: Point of order.
The Speaker: A point of order is noted at 2:11.
Support for Persons and Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19
Ms Pancholi: Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the UCP announced new public health restrictions that will have an impact on businesses and workers in this province. After weeks of thumping his chest and proclaiming that he wouldn’t bring in restrictions, the Premier did just that. Understandably, businesses were shocked and caught off guard by the Premier’s about-face, especially since the restrictions he announced didn’t come with any support for the small businesses and workers that will be directly affected. To the Premier: why didn’t the government have supports for workers and small businesses ready to go in time for the new public health measures? Why does it seem that government had no clue that a third wave of COVID was coming?
Mr. Kenney: Another NDP falsehood or several of them. I’ve never said that we would not bring in further restrictions, Mr. Speaker. I said that if it was necessary, we would do so, and that remains the case should it be necessary for additional measures to protect our health care system and people’s lives. With respect to business support we have provided billions of dollars of support: half a billion in cash grants, hundreds of millions in WCB abatement, participation in the federal commercial rent subsidy, and so much more. There will be additional cash support for those businesses affected by this week’s announcement.
Ms Pancholi: Given that the small and medium enterprise relaunch grant closed on March 31 and given that it’s been replaced with the enhanced COVID-19 business benefit but that the applications don’t even open until mid-April and, when they do open, the benefit is half as much as the previous program, under much stricter criteria that double the amount of lost revenue required to qualify, to the Premier: will the government reopen the small and medium enterprise relaunch grant, that will give small businesses access to direct and immediate financial support, instead of leaving them in limbo while the government finishes designing a completely new and much worse program?
Mr. Kenney: Well, Mr. Speaker, the program to which the member just referred is designed specifically to assist those businesses most heavily hit by public health restrictions over the past year. There’s a very small category of businesses who were largely suspended, like dance studios, for example, for most of the past year. We wanted to have a special program focused on those who have sacrificed the
most. The Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation is working with the Minister of Finance to bring forward expeditiously an additional cash package for those businesses affected by this week’s public health measures.
Ms Pancholi: Well, given that that’s cold comfort to the thousands of Alberta businesses that are affected right now and given that the UCP took nine months to roll out the critical worker benefit, only to exclude thousands upon thousands of front-line workers that were deemed too essential to be sent home yet not critical enough to receive help from this government, and given that this government already let thousands of workers fall through the cracks with their emergency isolation benefit, to the Premier: will this government adopt our proposal for a third-wave emergency response benefit that will support workers through this wave of COVID cases and prevent even more working Albertans from falling through the cracks?
Mr. Kenney: Well, the member should know, Mr. Speaker, with respect to workers affected by the pandemic, that the federal government continues to have the enhanced employment insurance COVID benefit available for all provinces, including the NDP government in B.C., and has taken the lead on that side of the economic response. Our focus is on the small and medium-sized businesses so that they survive, get through this, and can hire those people back, and that’s why we’ll be making an announcement in the days to come about additional support for those struggling enterprises.
Road Conditions in Lesser Slave Lake Constituency
Mr. Rehn: Mr. Speaker, functional and safe roads are the sinew of a healthy economy, and they are the lifeblood of constituencies like Lesser Slave Lake, where distant communities can remain linked and engaged in seamless transit and commerce. Many in my constituency, however, are concerned about the state of our roads they drive on. Several constituents have even sent me bills for repairing their vehicles while driving in the riding. To the hon. Minister of Transportation: what measures are being taken to help repair critical infrastructure in Lesser Slave Lake, vital to the ongoing connection of the community, which needs to be improved?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Municipal Affairs.
Mr. McIver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Every Albertan should be able to get around the province safely and efficiently, especially without damaging their vehicle. Through Budget 2021 we’re focused on fixing and upgrading many of our existing roads and bridges. Our government is investing $1.5 billion over the next three years in capital maintenance and renewal funding to improve and repair key roads, highways, bridges, and other infrastructure in our province. We’ve already begun work on repaving sections of highway 2 and highway 679 as well as the other bridge replacements on the right-of-way maintenance work. This will make roads safer, create jobs, and help Albertans get around more efficiently, including in the hon. member’s riding.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Lesser Slave Lake.
Mr. Rehn: Thanks, Mr. Speaker. Given that the roads in my constituency of Lesser Slave Lake see intensive use from commercial logging and industrial traffic, which puts the roads under additional strain, and given that the resources necessary to repair these intensively used roads have thus far been lacking, can the hon.
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Minister of Transportation comment as to if he has plans to tackle the pothole epidemic in the Lesser Slave Lake region?
The Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Municipal Affairs.
Mr. McIver: Thanks, Mr. Speaker. We’re prioritizing repaving projects on key highways, including our primary trade corridors that serve our energy sector, to support industry and to help Alberta goods get to market. Under Budget ’21 we will pave 36 kilometres of highway 2, 20 kilometres of highway 679 in the Slave Lake region. By pre-emptively investing in maintenance, we will dramatically reduce the need for expensive infrastructure repairs in the future and support companies and residents in the region. Our $1.5 billion investment will go towards more than 260 other capital maintenance renewal projects as well. [interjections]
The Speaker: Order. Order. Order.
Mr. Rehn: Mr. Speaker, given that portions of provincial highway 88 go straight through Sawridge First Nation’s treaty territory under terms of Treaty 8 and given that Sawridge First Nation is still seeking compensation from the province for the land provided to enable provincial highway 88’s initial construction, to the hon. minister: has any progress been made in resolving this issue, and if not, when?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation.
Mr. McIver: Thanks, Mr. Speaker. Whenever Alberta Transportation needs land for a highway project, we take seriously our treaty obligations and positive relationships with indigenous communities, and this is no exception. [interjections] I can hardly hear myself say the answer, Mr. Speaker. Alberta Transportation officials are currently working with our partners in other depart- ments to support our relationship with the Sawridge First Nation. While I can’t provide the member with any specifics at this time, we hope to reach out to the nation very soon and make progress on this important highway project and past issues. [interjections]
The Speaker: Order.
Restaurant Online Ordering and Delivery Fees
Mr. Carson: This government constantly claims to support Alberta businesses, but the businesses in my community are telling a completely different story, Mr. Speaker. The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing in-room dining to be closed again and will put more focus on takeout and delivery, but we know that some of the delivery apps that local restaurants rely on charge fees of up to 30 per cent on the total order. Minister, food delivery will become the primary source of income for so many restaurants again this weekend. Will you finally cap the fees charged by third-party delivery apps at 15 per cent, as we’ve seen in other jurisdictions?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
Mr. Schweitzer: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member for the question. We’ve worked with various companies that provide delivery services, and they did the responsible thing. They put in place additional measures to make sure they help the restaurants here in Alberta. They need to have those restaurants be thriving and vibrant in order to have customers for their businesses. We’re going to continue to work with the private sector to come up with solutions. Also, we want to be there to support restaurants during this pandemic. That’s why we’ve had the relaunch grant.
Over 70,000 businesses in Alberta took advantage of that program. More supports are coming due to these new health measures as well. [interjections]
The Speaker: Order.
Mr. Carson: Given that on February 3 the Alberta business improvement area alliance called for the government to put the cap on third-party delivery fees and given that we have heard from so many restaurants and small businesses that are supportive of this move and given that implementing the cap may require legislation, legislation that the Official Opposition would be happy to develop and expedite passage through this House, Minister, will you bring forward a bill to cap delivery fees before the rise of this spring session, or will you continue to leave our struggling restaurants to get hammered by hefty fees? 2:20
Mr. Schweitzer: Mr. Speaker, we’re going to continue to be there to support small-business owners across this province. Our relaunch grant is one of the most successful business supports in the entire country, a 10-day turnaround. We’re going to provide additional supports as well for restaurants and other small businesses so they can get to the other side of this pandemic. I think that this NDP line of questioning is just indicative of their strategy: if it moves, regulate it. [interjections]
The Speaker: Order. Order. I had no problem hearing the hon. Member for Edmonton-West Henday, but because of the shouting from the back row I’m having some challenge hearing the minister.
Mr. Schmidt: He should speak louder, then.
The Speaker: Order. The hon. minister.
Mr. Schmidt: Speak up, Doug. We can’t hear you.
Mr. Schweitzer: Mr. Speaker, this is just typical NDP. If it . . .
The Speaker: Order. The hon. Member for Edmonton-Gold Bar knows that the use of first names inside the Chamber, whether on the record or off the record, is wildly inappropriate.
Mr. Schweitzer: Mr. Speaker, we must have touched a nerve because the NDP just simply want to regulate everything that moves. If it walks, regulate it; if it talks, regulate it: that’s just the NDP.
Mr. Carson: Given that delivery is not the only part of the process where these apps add on fees for the restaurants – there are also fees that restaurants have to pay for the processing of online ordering – and given that the BIA Alliance is also calling for a cap on these fees, which are causing restaurants to lose an even higher percentage of their revenue from online orders, will the government implement a 5 per cent cap on service fees for using third-party apps and also bring that measure forward while this Legislature is sitting this spring?
Mr. Schweitzer: Mr. Speaker, I go back to my other line of answers. Again, the NDP strategy here: regulate, regulate, regulate. They don’t trust businesses. They don’t deal with innovation. The NDP purports to be supportive of innovation. We are at the forefront of venture capital investment in Alberta, job growth in technology. Technology impacts every business, from agriculture to restaurants, small businesses, energy. We’re not going to stifle innovation. We’re not going to regulate every single thing in society like the
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NDP likes to do. We’re going to be there to support small businesses, though. [interjections]
The Speaker: Order. Order.
Educational Curriculum Redesign (continued)
Member Irwin: I hope the Minister of Education is brushing up on her math skills because the number of school boards refusing to pilot her backwards curriculum is adding up. The latest include Medicine Hat public and Catholic divisions, where a local superintendent called this curriculum developmentally inappropriate and said that it would be a challenge for the school system to function well. How many school boards have to renounce this Premier’s failed curriculum before he’ll admit his mistakes and go back to the drawing board: 10, 20, all of them?
The Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General has risen.
Mr. Madu: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, in 2019 the curriculum was a major campaign commitment to the people of Alberta, and I am so grateful that this government delivered on that major party platform. This is the most transparently concluded curriculum in the history of our province. We have a curriculum advisory panel, and we have advisers from across the board. We have two black professors from the University of Alberta. I am so grateful that the Minister of Education had the nerve to put this curriculum forward.
Member Irwin: Given that eight school boards have now refused to pilot this new curriculum because it’s so flawed, the Métis Nation of Alberta has called for this unacceptable curriculum to be withdrawn and rewritten, the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations has called this curriculum faulty and incomplete and stated that it “perpetuates rather than addresses systemic racism,” and Alberta’s teachers have now delivered their verdict, giving it a huge thumbs down, will the minister revise and resubmit her homework, or will she really press ahead with a curriculum that has no support from Treaty 6, the Métis Nation, teachers, school boards, parents, students? The list goes on.
Mr. Madu: Mr. Speaker, I am so proud that this is the first curriculum in Alberta’s history that would teach black history, indigenous history, all kinds of religion, from Christianity to Islam; you name it. The reason that the NDP are so pissed off is that we did not allow them to write the curriculum in secret.
Member Irwin: Point of order.
Mr. Madu: Mr. Speaker, we have more than a hundred teachers who worked on this particular curriculum. I am so proud that finally this curriculum will teach about black history and achievement in our province.
The Speaker: A point of order is noted at 2:25.
Member Irwin: Wow. Given that the Minister of Justice would be quite benefited if he actually looked at the current curriculum, which very much talks about indigenous history and indigenous perspectives, and given that it’s not just school boards, indigenous leaders, and deans that are pushing back against this curriculum, that it’s parents as well – we’ve seen a surge of Albertans come together to powerfully and eloquently share their views with this minister, only to see her cast their concerns aside. What’s it going
to take for this Minister of Education, this government to drop their incorrect talking points, confront reality, respect Albertans, and fix the broken curriculum?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice.
Mr. Madu: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The good news is that we have a website out there, alberta.ca/curriculum, whereby Alberta parents, all Albertans can go online right now and provide their substantive feedback. But what we would not take is the NDP activism over our children. As a parent of three school-aged children I know when I see a good curriculum. It was education that brought me to this very Chamber. I know the value of education, and I’m so grateful to the Minister of Education for this curriculum.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Spruce Grove-Stony Plain.
Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards
Mr. Turton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Volunteers are the driving force behind the recreational, social, and cultural programs that make our communities great. In fact, for my constituency of Spruce Grove-Stony Plain we’ve had several volunteers recognized for their efforts. Just last year Amanda Hardman of Stony Plain was recognized for her dedication to 4-H, STEM advocacy, and her work on several rural youth councils. I’m so proud of the efforts of our dedicated volunteers across the province and my riding. To the Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women: what is her ministry doing to celebrate the efforts of Alberta’s extraordinary volunteers?
Mrs. Sawhney: Thank you to the member for this question. Volunteers are the foundation for many community organizations in providing recreational, social, and cultural programming. I’m very happy to announce that the call for nominations for the 2021 Stars of Alberta awards is now open. The Stars of Alberta awards highlight and pay tribute to volunteers who give their time, energy, and skills to make a difference in the lives of Albertans. We have seen so many people across our province volunteering to help their communities without hesitation. Albertans can nominate exceptional volunteers in their community until September 15, 2021.
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Spruce Grove-Stony Plain.
Mr. Turton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the minister for her answer. Given that volunteerism occurs across sectors, age groups, and communities and given that Alberta has more than 26,400 nonprofit organizations and given that each year more than 1.6 million Albertans provide more than 262 million volunteer hours to support the nonprofit and voluntary sector at a value of $5.6 billion, to the same minister: how do the Stars of Alberta volunteer awards recognize the diversity in the volunteer sector?
Mrs. Sawhney: Mr. Speaker, Albertans can nominate a star volunteer in four different categories, which include youth, adult, senior, and breaking barriers. The breaking barriers category was just introduced last year and recognizes exceptional volunteers who are working to create resilient, connected communities that are diverse and inclusive. Volunteers are eligible for the breaking barriers category if they address racism or reduce barriers for racialized communities, increase and promote intercultural understanding and trust between communities, fight gender discrimination, and reduce barriers for women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
Mr. Turton: Thank you to the minister for her answer. Given that now more than ever volunteers have stepped up to help their
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neighbours and communities and given that Alberta’s volunteers are active throughout the entire year and that every day there are more and more ways that they can help their respective communities and further given that Alberta’s volunteers and volunteer organizations often look for new ways to connect and support their fellow Albertans, to the same minister: what other programs or recognitions are available for volunteers here in our province?
Mrs. Sawhney: Mr. Speaker, volunteers are everyday heroes whose simple acts of kindness make a lasting difference in the lives of their neighbours and friends. The Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women launched the Alberta Cares Connector on April 22, 2020, and it’s served more than 567,000 individuals with more than 2.2 million searches in their volunteer journey, resulting in more than 65,000 matches of volunteers to opportunities. To date approximately 100 volunteers have been recognized. Again I would like to remind everyone that the nomination period for Stars of Alberta ends on September 15, so please share this information with your constituents.
Eastern Slopes Protection and Coal Development Policies
Mr. Schmidt: Yesterday our leader introduced Bill 214, the Eastern Slopes Protection Act. This bill would implement protections for our beautiful mountains and vital headwaters. If the government had actually consulted with Albertans before signing our Rocky Mountains over to coal mining companies from Australia, they’d know that Albertans are clearly in support of this kind of legislation. The government has now had sufficient time to review the legislation. A simple question: will they support the bill? Why or why not? 2:30
Mr. McIver: I guess the hon. member is so excited that he can’t wait until the bill comes before this House, which would be the proper thing to do. Mr. Speaker, the fact is that our Energy minister has a group leading a consultation for all Albertans to talk about what the future coal policy might be. That is a great way for us to inform our government’s opinion on this. We will be seeing that process through. I think it’s important to Albertans. The NDP once said that they thought it was a good idea, yet today they don’t seem to want to wait for it.
Mr. Schmidt: Well, given that the minister’s consultation is totally bogus because, you know, it relies on a largely vague survey and given that water allocation was left out of the minister’s bogus consultation on coal mining and given that the Eastern Slopes Protection Act would require enhanced land-use plans that would protect water and set specific rules for water allocation, if the minister won’t consult on how important preserving our waterways is, will she at least support the portion of our bill that enshrines land- use plans, or do our lands and water take a back seat when she can make a few bucks from Australian coal mining billionaires?
Mr. McIver: A point of order on the question, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the question was also riddled with inaccuracies. The environment minister has made it very clear that the water protection is in place. It’s as strong as ever. The Energy minister has made it clear that we will inform ourselves on a coal policy through a very strong, legitimate public process that the hon. members across might actually want to participate in if they actually cared about making the world better instead of just throwing stones. I would advise them to get involved in a constructive way.
The Speaker: A point of order is noted at 2:32.
Mr. Schmidt: Well, given that we have made our contribution by bringing forward legislation to this House that the minister apparently doesn’t support and given that Albertans wanting to weigh in on the dangers of coal mining and who want to protect our Rocky Mountains and vital waterways deserve more than a fake survey and given that Alberta’s NDP has consulted with thousands of Albertans before bringing forward the Eastern Slopes Protection Act, when will Albertans get to speak to the minister directly about coal mining? Is she holding online meetings, or is she worried that she won’t find a single supporter of this horrendous coal policy?
Mr. McIver: This is typical NDP, calling a policy terrible before it’s developed. They don’t even know what’s going to be in it, and they’ve already decided they don’t like it, which is completely consistent with the NDP’s attitude, Mr. Speaker. They don’t like anything. If you do more, they don’t like it. If you do less, they don’t like it. If the Premier speaks at a press conference, he’s hogging the mic. If he doesn’t speak at a press conference, he’s taking the day off work. This is typical. It proves the NDP’s attitude. They’re against anything constructive. They’re against everything that matters to Albertans. It’s very consistent, it’s very disturbing, and they just demonstrated that. [interjections]
The Speaker: Order. The Opposition House Leader.
COVID-19 Outbreak at Cargill Canada
Ms Gray: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Earlier this week my colleague asked the minister of agriculture why information about food inspectors contracting COVID-19 while at the Cargill meat-packing plant was withheld from the workers there. The Government House Leader said that he refused to politicize the situation. This is a matter of worker safety, not partisan politics. This government chose to jeopardize the safety of workers when they withheld vital and potentially life-saving information. I ask the minister of agriculture to put politics aside and to simply answer: why didn’t he tell the workers at the Cargill plant about the COVID- 19 cases that inspectors caught at the work site?
The Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Finance has risen.
Mr. Toews: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Firstly, this government certainly extends sympathies to those food processing workers who lost loved ones and to those families who experienced great loss as a result of the challenges last spring. Our minister of agriculture has continued to take advice from public health officials throughout this whole process. We’re committed to the safety of agricultural/manufacturing workers, and we’re committed to the safety of all Albertans.
Ms Gray: Given that three people died as a result of the Cargill COVID-19 outbreak and given that the minister of agriculture was told about two inspectors contracting COVID-19 at the work site and then chose not to tell Cargill workers about that knowledge two hours later on a conference call with them and given that the minister actually went further and insisted that the plant was safe when he had evidence that made it clear it was not, will the minister admit he was more interested in keeping the Cargill plant open than keeping those Alberta workers safe?
Mr. Toews: Mr. Speaker, worker safety continues to be a top priority for this government throughout the pandemic. At all times
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the government followed the expert medical advice of officials, including the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. At no time did Alberta’s health expert officials recommend the closure of food processing plants with respect to Cargill.
Ms Gray: Given that the UCP have continually not been transparent on the spread of COVID-19 at Cargill – and this is displayed right in front of us as the government continues to dodge our questions and the minister avoids media – and given that the truth was withheld from Cargill workers last April, when the UCP provided a false sense of security on the conditions inside the plant, these workers and all Albertans deserve the truth now. Will the minister of agriculture commit to a full and transparent public inquiry into the spread of COVID-19 at the Cargill meat-packing plant? If not, will the minister of labour, will the Premier, will somebody over there stand up for the thousands of workers?
Mr. Shandro: Mr. Speaker, this is the continued false narrative of the NDP to continue to undermine public confidence in our public health officials and the work that Dr. Hinshaw’s office has done to continue to respond to the pandemic as well as the folks in our office, the folks in the ministry, and the folks at AHS, who are doing everything they can to protect the lives of Albertans throughout this pandemic. The NDP continue – continue – to try to undermine the public confidence in those folks, those folks on the front line responding to this pandemic. It’s shameful behaviour. I call on them to stop.
Red Deer Homeless Shelter Project
Mr. Stephan: Mr. Speaker, I rise in good cheer. Red Deer has many blessings: a great location, great people, and a wonderful trail, river, and parks system. But Red Deer has no integrated shelter service for the homeless, many of whom are suffering with addictions and mental health challenges. Budget 2020 announced an integrated shelter service for Red Deer thanks to the ministers of Community and Social Services and Seniors and Housing and municipal leaders. To the minister: what is the status of the shelter service?
The Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Transportation and of Municipal Affairs.
Mr. McIver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member for the question. Our government remains committed to supporting this project in Red Deer to address homelessness. Last week the Minister of Seniors and Housing, the Minister of Community and Social Services, and the members from Red Deer- North and -South had a very productive meeting with Mayor Veer on this very question, who all support the community finding a local solution to address homelessness. That is why we have asked the city of Red Deer, in consultation with local MLAs and city council, to provide a locally supported proposal to make use of the $7 million in provincial funding for an integrated emergency shelter. We will continue to plan and work with the community.
Mr. Stephan: Given that the lack of a shelter has resulted in rough sleeper camps in Red Deer parks and public spaces, impacting families and children, and given that this shelter service needs to be accountable not only to the men and women it serves but also as a good neighbour to families and businesses in the community, to the minister: how can a shelter service which strives to be a good neighbour bless families and businesses in our community?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Community and Social Services.
Mrs. Sawhney: Thank you, Mr. Speaker and to the member for the question. We know homelessness is a compounding, serious issue for the city of Red Deer, and an overnight shelter is absolutely critical to addressing this ongoing problem. A shelter will give vulnerable people a safe place to stay, with access to critical supports, including housing and addictions treatment. Ultimately, we want to ensure that vulnerable Albertans get the help they need while addressing the public safety and social disorder concerns from local businesses and the surrounding community.
Mr. Stephan: Given that an integrated shelter service can be a place of hope, where individuals receive help and support for mental health and other challenges to work towards freedom from addictions, and given that this government along with families and church volunteer organizations in our community want to support, serve, and love their neighbours to improve their lives, including connection for mental health and freedom from addictions, to the minister: how can this shelter bless the men and women it serves in our community? 2:40
Mrs. Sawhney: Mr. Speaker, homelessness has had a devastating impact on individuals and families across the province and across the country. A new integrated emergency shelter in Red Deer will provide critical overnight shelter and important day support such as meal services, showers, laundry, and access to housing, mental health, and addiction supports. Shelters are a necessary solution for many individuals in need of emergency housing and can be a connection to supports that will help people ultimately get into housing.
The Speaker: Hon. members, that concludes the time allotted for Oral Question Period. In 30 seconds or less we will return to the remainder of the daily Routine.
head: Notices of Motions
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Glenora.
Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise pursuant to Standing Order 42 to propose the following motion at the appropriate time: be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly affirm the need to uphold and enforce all current public health measures now and prevent the spread of COVID-19 so that our businesses, our schools, our communities, and our economy as a whole can get back to normal and get back to work as soon as possible.
head: Introduction of Bills Bill 62 Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2021
Mr. Hunter: Mr. Speaker, I request leave to introduce Bill 62, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2021. Bill 62 follows our government’s previous work on reducing red tape by establishing greater efficiencies, faster approvals, and additional cost savings. This work could not be more important than right now. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce also that not only have we achieved our goal of cutting red tape by 12 per cent by the end of this year, but we have exceeded it to 15.7 per cent. What does that mean for Albertans? It means that Albertans have 105,000 fewer red tape hoops they have to jump through. We are quickly and carefully cutting the unintended government strings that bind up and frustrate our job creators and everyday Albertans.
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I hereby move first reading of Bill 62, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2021.
[Motion carried; Bill 62 read a first time]
The Speaker: The Minister of Health.
Bill 65 Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021
Mr. Shandro: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m honoured to rise and request leave to introduce Bill 65, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021. This bill is another step forward in our government’s work to modernize and strengthen Alberta’s health legislation to help ensure that our health system can better serve Albertans and continue to support improvement. The proposed amendments would focus on increasing system efficiencies, adapting and responding to changing needs, and using public dollars wisely. Together these proposed amendments continue the government’s work to update our province’s health legislation to better serve Albertans and operate more efficiently. I hereby move first reading of the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.
[Motion carried; Bill 65 read a first time]
The Speaker: Hon. members, we are at points of order. At 1:52 the hon. Deputy Government House Leader rose on a point of order.
Point of Order Allegations Against Members Parliamentary Language
Mr. McIver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I heard it correctly, the hon. member said something to the effect that the Premier is deliberately misleading the public. Under 23(h), (i), and (j) it’s making allegations against another member. I think it’s extremely clearly not allowed here, and I would appreciate it if you would ask the hon. member to apologize and withdraw a remark that I’m almost certain the hon. member knows they should not have made.
The Speaker: The Opposition House Leader.
Ms Gray: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the Blues, so I will rely on your access to the Blues and good judgment. Based on the questions that I have in my hands, the member did not refer to the Premier in that way, but I will allow you to reflect on the Blues and render your verdict. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker: Thank you for the interjections. I’m sure I’ll make a number of points today on a number of issues. I have spoken at some length about implying that members are lying, particularly around deliberately misleading. I have the benefit of the Blues. “Mr. Speaker, the Premier has lost control. He has proven to be a weak and ineffective leader. One-quarter of his caucus and counting is deliberately misleading the public about the real threat of COVID- 19.” Then they go on, and the point of order is called. I would say in the strongest possible of terms – and I’ll refer to it in later rulings around the use of the word “lying,” and I’ll speak to a point of order that was missed during Members’ Statements as well – that when we use language like “a group of members are deliberately misleading,” it’s very similar to last week when I ruled the word “lying” out of order. So while at this point in time, on this particular point of order – and I think that perhaps I’ll take a slightly
different position on subsequent points of order that we hear this afternoon – I’m not going to find this comment out of order, I will provide the same sort of caution that I did last week with respect to the use of the word “lying.” When we are saying that a group of people inside the Chamber are deliberately misleading, that will create disorder and will eventually be ruled out of order if not today. That is the first point of order. I consider the matter dealt with and concluded. Last week I referred specifically to the use of the word “lying” and making accusations that a group of people – caucus, government, or otherwise – is doing so. The hon. Member for Airdrie-Cochrane did make that assertion during his member’s statement, so I’d like to call upon the Deputy Government House Leader to withdraw and apologize on his behalf. 2:50
Mr. McIver: Mr. Speaker, I will be happy, based on your advice, to withdraw and apologize on the hon. member’s behalf.
The Speaker: I consider both matters dealt with and concluded. We are at point of order 2, when the Deputy Government House Leader rose at 2:01 in response to the Member for Edmonton- South’s question. The hon. member.
Point of Order Allegations against Members
Mr. McIver: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again under 23(h), (i), and (j), “makes allegations against another Member.” If I heard it correctly, he said that those very ministers signed a letter suggesting that people don’t follow government guidelines or to essentially break the law. I think that is assigning false motives. A second part of this. Again, Mr. Speaker, I apologize; I don’t have the details in front of me. If the hon. member was referring to other members in this House that were not in government, that’s out of order because, of course, question period is to question us on government policy, not on the behaviour of private members.
The Speaker: The Official Opposition House Leader.
Ms Gray: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again, I don’t have the benefit of the Blues, but I would suggest that this is not a point of order but a matter of debate. We are having a really important conversation that impacts the public health of Albertans, where MLAs have signed a letter that includes the quote: “We do not support the additional restrictions imposed on Albertans yesterday.” As part of our debate on this issue, on policy, certainly the members of the Official Opposition would suggest that statements such as this undermine the trust and compliance in public health orders, will have serious ramifications, and seem to be a continuation of a pattern of behaviour from this government in the past. I suggest that this is a matter of debate. I would also articulate that I’ve seen through social media and correspondence that should I ask a number of health professionals, doctors, other public health officials if they feel that this letter undermines trust and compliance in public health orders, I suggest that I would find a number of people who agree with our position.
The Speaker: Are there others? Thank you for your interjections or your submissions on this particular point of order. I would say that I find this point of order different than the previous one with respect to making accusations about members of the Assembly. Unfortunately, I don’t have the benefit of the ruling here today, but I will be happy to provide it in
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the future if that’s required. [interjection] Order. But any time that a member makes the assertion that another member of the Assembly is – and I quote from the benefit of the Blues – “openly advocating to break the law,” it implies that they are encouraging people to do something illegal, and that implication of another member imputes false motives and, in fact, is out of order. The other thing that I would suggest is that no one inside this Assembly wants people to die, and implying that their actions are that is also out of order. I know that Speaker Wanner had also ruled on this matter when the tables were reversed and members of the opposition made the implication that members of the government were killing members of a community or types of communities, and that, too, was ruled out of order because that was also not factual and imputed false motives to the members. So in this case I do find a point of order, and the member can withdraw and apologize. The Official Opposition House Leader on his behalf.
Ms Gray: On behalf of the member I apologize and withdraw.
The Speaker: I consider this matter dealt with and concluded. At 2:10 there was an additional point of order raised by the Deputy Government House Leader in response to a question from the hon. Member for Calgary-McCall.
Point of Order Questions outside Government Responsibility
Mr. McIver: Sure. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I raise this because, if I heard it correctly, the hon. member was making complaints about private members and things that they had done, and of course question period is not for questioning private members but, rather, questioning government members and government policy. As such, I believe that you’ll find that out of order.
The Speaker: I won’t provide the opportunity for response because I did provide a caution around this particular matter immediately following this question and the second supplemental, and I think it’s important for members to recall or to make sure that they are in fact referring to government policy or matters in the government’s purview.
Point of Order Parliamentary Language
The Speaker: I will just add that – because I believe the hon. the Official Opposition House Leader did raise an additional point of order, where at the end of that question the hon. the Premier stated: “None of that subordinates this government’s responsibility to do the right thing based on the expert evidence and scientific evidence to protect lives and livelihoods. Would they please stop lying about their fellow members of this place?” As previously mentioned, implying that a member is lying is out of order, so I will call upon the Deputy Government House Leader to withdraw.
Mr. McIver: Mr. Speaker, I understand that it doesn’t matter how right something is somebody says; if they said something unparliamentary, it must be apologized for and withdrawn. I as such will apologize for the word “lying” and withdraw it.
The Speaker: Thank you to the Deputy Government House Leader. I consider the matter dealt with and concluded. Point of order 4 today was called at 2:25 by the hon. Member for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. The Opposition House Leader has risen to argue it.
Point of Order Parliamentary Language
Ms Gray: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Under 23(j), “uses abusive or insulting language of a nature likely to create disorder,” and from our House of Commons Procedure and Practice, page 623, around unparliamentary language, the minister stated, “The reason the NDP is so pissed off”, which, I submit, is absolutely unparliamentary language and unnecessary for making his point. With that, I raise this as a point of order.
The Speaker: I’m not sure if he would like to apologize or have me ask him to apologize. The hon. Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
Mr. Madu: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. To be clear, you know, if it’s the ruling of the Speaker that that is a point of order, it would mean it would refer to the slang – that word, “pissed off,” according to the English dictionary, means very annoyed or angry. That is the English definition of the slang “pissed off.” No, I mean, seriously. But if the Speaker is prepared to rule that the use of the slang is unparliamentary, then I withdraw and apologize.
The Speaker: I think we can agree that some cultural contexts around the use of the word “pissed off” probably implies unparliamentary language, so I would ask you to apologize and withdraw.
Mr. Madu: I withdraw and apologize, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker: I consider the matter dealt with and concluded. At 2:32 the fifth and final point of order was raised by the Deputy Government House Leader in response to a question that was being asked by the hon. the Member for Edmonton-Gold Bar.
Point of Order Imputing Falsehoods against a Member
Mr. McIver: Mr. Speaker, I’m looking for my notes here. If I remember it correctly, and I apologize for – again, I think it was another example of the member opposite asking a question about the behaviour of private members rather than the government. Of course, that is not the – I don’t know whether I remember it correctly or not. I think I was busy, and I didn’t make proper notes. That’s my best recollection. If it turns out to be wrong, then I’d be happy to withdraw the objection.
The Speaker: I appreciate the withdrawal. You were answering a question, and I, too, am not a hundred per cent sure. I might just add that there probably are a couple of things in this particular question with respect to the use of the word “bogus” that may be similar to the word “pissed” – I’m not sure – or perhaps making an accusation of a member trying to make a few bucks personally.
Mr. McIver: Yeah, Mr. Speaker. That’s what it was.
The Speaker: It’s okay. For the purposes of today perhaps I will provide a caution, but if we are implying that a minister of the Crown is utilizing their position to gain personally by making a few bucks, that is quite likely also unparliamentary as it imputes false motives of the minister. But for today, given the uncertainty of what we are actually speaking about, I won’t rule a point of order but call a significant point of caution to the hon. member, of which he is familiar with.
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3:00 head: Motions under Standing Order 42
The Speaker: During the Routine the hon. Member for Edmonton- Glenora provided oral notice of an SO 42. I call upon her now to make a brief argument as to why this is urgent, and I do emphasize brief, because we went through this just two days ago on what is and what isn’t brief. I encourage you to stick to the urgency, or I will interject.
Ms Hoffman: Sorry. Just for clarity – I am very happy to stick to the urgency – is there a definition of brief that the Speaker would like me to comply with?
The Speaker: Certainly, I said two days ago that wading into the content of the debate, providing massive amounts of background on certain issues to try to prove your point is really bad. The point that you’re trying to make is: why should we set aside all of the other important business of the House to deal with your motion, not the content of the motion? The hon. Member for Edmonton-Glenora.
COVID-19 Related Public Health Orders Ms Hoffman: Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly affirm the need to uphold and enforce all current public health measures now and prevent the spread of COVID-19 so that our businesses, our schools, our communities, and our economy as a whole can get back to normal and get back to work as soon as possible.
Ms Hoffman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m happy to comply. I rise pursuant to SO 42 to request that the ordinary business of the Legislative Assembly be adjourned to debate a motion with regard to a matter that is absolutely pressing and absolutely urgent. Certainly, I would say that this meets the cause of urgency for a number of reasons. Number one, yesterday we saw an astronomical increase in the number of COVID cases in the province of Alberta, over 1,300 new cases, the highest number we’ve seen so far in 2021, and I fear that today will be even worse, Mr. Speaker. The Premier has previously stated that we expect to have over a thousand people in hospital very soon. We know that that would cause immense pressure on the health care system as well as on families and patients and health care workers. But perhaps the most pressing reason why I would say that this is urgent is because these new orders that the government announced just earlier this week come fully into force tomorrow. Yesterday we saw at least 17 members of the government caucus step up in opposition to those orders that are coming into force tomorrow. There have been many debates in this place as to whether those 17 members were intentionally undermining and encouraging people to not follow the public health orders. Definitely, folks in this caucus have one opinion about how that was interpreted. Some folks in the government caucus probably have a different opinion. This is a chance in this Assembly, an urgent chance before these rules come into effect tomorrow, to be crystal clear with the people of Alberta whether or not the 17 members of the United Conservative caucus, formerly the United Conservative caucus, are indeed in line with what the pressing and urgent matter is that comes into effect tomorrow, if they are indeed encouraging people to disrespect and disregard those public health orders or if they are not. This is absolutely urgent because it comes into effect tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, and we have an opportunity today to make the record straight on whether or not this Assembly believes that the orders that are being brought into force actually should be followed or not. That’s exactly what the motion is about, and it also is an opportunity
for us, before the numbers get even worse and more people end up in hospital and potentially die, to make our intention clear.
The Speaker: Hon. members, Standing Order 42 requires unanimous consent of the Assembly, and no other speakers are permitted to debate. I will ask only one question. Is there anyone opposed to providing unanimous consent?
[Unanimous consent denied]
head: Orders of the Day head: Government Bills and Orders Third Reading
Bill 54 Irrigation Districts Amendment Act, 2021
The Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
Mr. Dreeshen: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It truly is an honour to rise today to move third reading of Bill 54, the Irrigation Districts Amendment Act, 2021.
[The Deputy Speaker in the chair]
Irrigation has historically been a game changer, Madam Speaker, for Alberta’s agriculture industry, transforming our land and entire communities, especially in southern Alberta, and it started way back in 1914, when CP Rail engineers finished building an aqueduct, which was the largest structure of its kind in North America. The construction of that aqueduct spearheaded the settlement of southern Alberta and a long, successful history of irrigation in our province. You can still see part of that structure standing today near Brooks, which is a testament to the ingenuity and determination of Alberta’s early pioneers. Since that time, Madam Speaker, irrigation has continued to expand in the province, providing water for more than 1.7 million acres of farmland. To put that into perspective, that’s more than every other province in the country as Alberta has 70 per cent of the total irrigated acres within Canada. Irrigation is a vital contributor to our economy and will be a critical part of Alberta’s economic recovery. It supports more than 56,000 jobs and contributes $3.6 billion annually to our province’s GDP and also generates $2.4 billion in annual labour income for Albertans and families across the province. Now, to build this success in southern Alberta, just last year we announced a historic $815 million irrigation expansion project. If this bill is passed, we move one step closer to finalizing that deal, which will create over 8,000 jobs and over 200,000 new irrigated acres in the province. The project also will generate over $430 million every year to Alberta’s GDP once all the projects are completed. This will ultimately allow for greater water efficiency, allowing irrigation districts to do more within their existing water allocations. Now, Alberta’s government has provided a grant of over $244 million, the Canadian Infrastructure Bank provided a loan of more than $407 million, and eight irrigation districts combined have invested $163 million, Madam Speaker, into modernizing irrigation infrastructure in a first-wave, historic investment into irrigation to increase our water storage capacity in the province. Breaking that down even further, that’s $520 million to develop two new off- stream reservoirs and expand two existing ones as well as $295 million for 56 pipeline modernization projects that will build hundreds of kilometres of new pipelines in southern Alberta. We’re also considering a number of shovel-ready projects in addition to this $815 million deal. Actually, Madam Speaker, just
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last week I went down to southern Alberta to look at some of the work that’s under way with the St. Mary irrigation district. They’ve signed up for 26 projects and a new reservoir expansion. I was there visiting the active construction site, where they’re actually converting an open-air canal into a pipeline. Now, we promised to get pipelines built in this province, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in southern Alberta. These pipes are 36 inches in diameter – that’s 113 inches around – and will stretch for hundreds of kilometres across the province. With all this irrigation expansion in southern Alberta, we won’t just support farmers by improving yields or increasing the types of crops that can be grown. We’ll also help attract new investments into the province, whether it be potato or sugar beet processing facilities. We will actually diversify our agriculture sector, Madam Speaker, and drive Alberta’s economic recovery. With our value- added investment attraction target of $1.4 billion in new investments as well as a 2,000 net new jobs target that we set just last year – of that, already we’ve actually attracted over $527 million in new agriculture value-added investment into Alberta as well as created nearly 1,000 jobs of that 2,000 net new jobs target. Now, all of these investments, the $527 million in new investments into the province, are everything from canola processing, plant protein processing, grain processing, ag tech, emerging sectors like hemp and also biocomposites, Madam Speaker. Alberta’s government obviously recognizes the importance of growing our agriculture sector, expanding primary agricultural production, and supporting a diversified, value-added processing sector. That is why we’ve made it our mission to make Alberta the best place to invest. We are obviously cutting red tape by a third. We’ve implemented the job-creation tax cut. We’re also modernizing how we can streamline and support businesses looking to invest here within the province. Bill 54 builds upon the steps our government has taken to create an attractive environment for investment by clarifying that irrigation expansion and modernization investment is not a commercial activity. These amendments in Bill 54, Madam Speaker, will allow the industry to borrow funds for large-scale projects. These amendments clarify what irrigation districts already knew to be true, which is that the enhancement of irrigation works and projects is acceptable and can proceed. The clarification also reinforces that understanding, and it also sets our irrigation districts up for a future with more expansion projects. 3:10
We are currently studying, actually, the feasibility of a number of additional projects where we could, again, expand irrigated acres and create new opportunities for Albertans. These amendments would provide assurance for irrigation districts and get shovels in the ground sooner for many projects. Among other aspects, future projects will focus on increasing water storage efficiency, making it possible to do more within the same water allocation. Now, Madam Speaker, this is critical to the long-term success of our ag sector. Water, obviously, is a finite resource, which means we need to find ways to use it more efficiently. Now, the amendments would also ensure that districts are able to pass bylaws allowing them to stay modern and bring in new leadership and new ideas. This gives irrigation districts the option to develop term limits for their board. Now each irrigation district can decide for themselves if they would like to implement a term limit. The ability to set term limits would also ensure that irrigation districts are positioned to bring in new ideas and move forward with any new modernization projects. Now, one thing: I’m happy to see support for Bill 54 from the members opposite, Madam Speaker. Irrigation obviously is a
driving force in our economy, so it’s great to see that support that we have within this Chamber for this very important piece of legislation. In saying that, though, one thing that is still disappointing is that the members opposite do take this opportunity to actually attack other aspects of our government. I wish they would focus on the importance of irrigation and Bill 54 itself. We are obviously here to discuss the importance of irrigation and how Bill 54 will bolster the province’s irrigation districts and set them up for generations of growth. Now, obviously, as I mentioned, we have a strong history of irrigation in Alberta, and it should be something that all elected officials in this Chamber and every Albertan across the province should be very proud to stand up and to talk about and to promote. I hope that throughout third reading the members opposite can stick to speaking about Bill 54 and just how important it is to Alberta’s farmers and irrigation districts, especially in southern Alberta but also across our entire province. With that, I am pleased to move third reading of Bill 54, the Irrigation Districts Amendment Act, 2021. Thank you.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members, are there any members wishing to join debate on third reading of Bill 54? The hon. Member for Edmonton-Gold Bar.
Mr. Schmidt: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I’m pleased to rise and offer a few comments on Bill 54, and I will say straight up that I will disappoint the minister of agriculture and not stick to the points that he’s urged us to. I can understand why the minister is eager for us to stick to strictly what’s in the legislation here before us, because he doesn’t want us talking about the complete incompetence that his government has shown on a number of files that relate to agriculture that my friends and I have highlighted during debate on this bill. You know, if the minister is so sensitive about his government’s incompetence, then I would urge him to go back to the cabinet table and get them to reverse a bunch of the decisions that they’ve made that will negatively impact agricultural producers. I wanted to start my comments by delineating some of the threats to the agricultural sector that have already been raised by my friends here in the Official Opposition. Last night my friend from Lethbridge-West talked at length about the cuts that the agriculture department has made with respect to the resources that have been invested in research. I think she mentioned a figure of approximately 250 researchers that were laid off, and she went on at length about the negative impact that that will have on future innovation and future research that could potentially benefit the agricultural sector going forward. I certainly think that that poses a grave risk. What also poses a grave risk, as I mentioned in response to my friend from Lethbridge-West’s comments about the cuts to the agriculture department research, are the cuts that the Advanced Education minister is making to universities that are also engaged in important agricultural research. As I said last night during Committee of the Whole, the faculty of agriculture at the University of Alberta is one of the best faculties of agriculture in the entire world, and it’s been doing fantastic research supporting the agricultural sector here in our province for over 100 years. It’s unfortunate that – well, it’s more than unfortunate. It’s devastating to the people of Alberta that hundreds of millions of dollars have been cut from the budget of the University of Alberta, and some of that will have an impact on the excellent work that is being done to support agricultural research. I also highlighted at that time – and I want to reiterate this concern today in third reading – that one of the key pieces that underpins the successful research that’s going on at the faculty of agriculture at the University of Alberta is their ability to use land that’s called the
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west 240 for research purposes. Now, this land is in the heart of Edmonton and, if developed, would be prime real estate for residential or commercial purposes. Certainly, that’s one of the intents that the proposed land trust that the University of Alberta has been pushing for a number of years – one of the goals is to convert the west 240 from an agricultural research site to a residential development. When I was Minister of Advanced Education, I resisted those calls by the University of Alberta to do that because my friends at the faculty of agriculture at the university explained to me the significant loss that paving over the west 240 would have for the future of agriculture. The University of Alberta spins this story that they have this fantastic research – and, you know, the facility north of St. Albert is a fantastic facility. There’s no doubt about it. But it cannot replace the research that’s being done at the west 240 on the university farm in the heart of Edmonton. So I will reiterate my call to the government to resist the lobbying that’s being done by the University of Alberta and their friends who want to create a land trust and to convert the west 240 at the University of Alberta farm into a residential development, because it would set back research in the agricultural field a generation or more. Now, in my comments at Committee of the Whole last night I highlighted some of the environmental policies that are being undertaken by the Minister of Energy and the minister of environment that are also threatening the irrigation system and the agricultural producers who are supported by that. Two of the significant policies are, of course, the minister of environment’s insistence on monkeying with the Oldman River basin allocation order. Of course, he continues to imply that it’s only to save the fish, but of course nobody believes that that’s the actual reason that he’s intent on monkeying with the allocation order. Everybody suspects that he’s doing so in support of potential coal mine development in the Oldman River basin. That goes along with the Minister of Energy’s plan to open up vast swaths of the eastern slopes to potential coal mining. I see that Canadian Cattlemen’s just put out a statement today urging the government to reconsider its plans to open up vast swaths of the eastern slopes to coal mining. I sincerely hope that if the minister of agriculture is intent on following through on his commitment to agricultural producers, he will urge his colleagues the minister of environment and the Minister of Energy to reverse these policies, that will have a significant negative impact on irrigation districts and the agricultural producers that are supported by them, because even from just a fiscal prudence standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to invest $815 million into expanding a system that will only be able to distribute ever-shrinking quantities of ever more contaminated water, Madam Speaker. That doesn’t make any sense, to build out the irrigation districts’ systems and then turn around and make sure that there’s no suitable water available to the irrigation districts for them to use. That doesn’t make any sense. 3:20
Now, coal mining and water allocations are not the only environmental threats that are faced by the irrigation districts. Today I want to talk about what I think is probably the most pressing and serious threat to irrigation districts and the agricultural producers that they support, and that’s climate change. We know that if the world doesn’t take action to reduce the impacts of climate change in the future, the areas that are served by the irrigation districts will continue to dry out. Madam Speaker, at this point in talking about climate change, I do have to highlight my grave concerns about items in the draft curriculum that talk about climate change being the result of many factors. It is incredibly distressing to me to see that this government
is intent on educating future generations of Albertans into thinking that sunspots and variations in the Earth’s orbit are what is driving climate change at the moment. Yes, those things have driven climate change in the ancient history of the Earth, but that’s not the overriding cause of climate change right now. The overriding cause of climate change is man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases that are trapping the heat that emanates from the Earth. It’s this failure to even understand the basic underlying causes of climate change that I believe drives this government to not take the issue of climate change seriously. I can’t remember who was making a statement earlier today during the daily Routine. They were touting the government’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by I think it was 38 megatonnes, saying, oh, what a great job they’re doing. They’re allegedly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 38 megatonnes, Madam Speaker. Well, there are only two problems with that. First of all, our plan, when it was in place, was going to reduce it by 20 megatonnes more than that. We have a lot of work to do to make sure that Alberta helps Canada meet its climate change commitments. Our government was on track to do that work, and this government has derailed all of that work. It’s the agricultural producers, that the minister of agriculture purports to be defending, who are going to suffer the most from the effects of climate change. David Sochin – and forgive me if I am not pronouncing his name correctly; I’ve only seen it in print; I’ve never heard it pronounced – is a professor at the University of Regina who has been doing work for years modelling the potential impacts of climate change on the prairie provinces, and the outlook is not good. We will continue to experience hotter, drier conditions for much longer periods of time if we don’t take action on climate change. That’s why it’s important, when we decide to support this bill, that we couple our support for this bill with other actions that will support agricultural producers. I’m happy to vote in favour of this legislation today because I believe that building out the irrigation districts’ infrastructure with this $815 million will set up the agricultural sector for future success, but that future success is only guaranteed if we combine it with sensible environmental policies such as prohibiting coal mining in the eastern slopes, making sure that the existing allocations for our irrigation districts remain unchanged, and taking meaningful action to combat climate change. So I sincerely hope that the minister of agriculture takes these warnings back to his colleagues on Executive Council and that we see additional action from this government on these important pieces of policy so that we can set up our agricultural producers for success. Madam Speaker, can I have a time check?
The Deputy Speaker: You have seven and a half minutes.
Mr. Schmidt: Thank you, Madam Speaker. There’s one other issue that I want to raise with respect to protecting our irrigation infrastructure, and this came to me from a constituent who has a vacation property at a place called Payne Lake, which I understand is in the Cardston area. She’s concerned about a number of things that are happening around Payne Lake. It’s my understanding that Payne Lake is a major source of water for one of the irrigation districts in southern Alberta, but that lake is under threat from a couple of disturbing developments. One is increased residential development around the lake. We know that residential development around lakes needs to be conducted with sensible regulations to make sure that those developments don’t negatively impact water quality and water quantity. This person wrote to me, and she’s not convinced that the residential
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development is proceeding in such a fashion. So if anybody from the government caucus who has anything to do about it is hearing what I’m saying, I sincerely hope that they go back and look at what can be done at the provincial level to make sure that residential development around Payne Lake and any other lakes that feed our irrigation districts is done in a way that doesn’t threaten the water quality and the water quantity that our irrigation districts rely upon. The other concern that she raised with me when I talked to her a couple of weeks ago was the use of recreational watercraft on the lake that haven’t necessarily been inspected for invasive zebra mussels. Now, currently the province of Alberta allegedly monitors watercraft that are coming into the province from out of province. This person maintains that in order to effectively protect our irrigation district water sources, these watercraft should be inspected before they’re put into the lake, and she certainly highlighted to me her concerns. The cost of mitigating zebra mussels once they are in the irrigation district system is astronomical compared to the cost of proper inspections and prevention measures, so I sincerely hope that any members of Executive Council or the government caucus who have the ability to influence the procedures that the government follows when inspecting recreational watercraft for zebra mussels can take some protective action to make sure that Payne Lake and these other irrigation district water sources don’t become contaminated with zebra mussels, because that damage would also be very expensive to undo. Madam Speaker, I’ll sum up my points by saying that I’m sure that all of my friends here in the Official Opposition will join me in supporting this bill at third reading. We believe strongly in making this investment necessary through this legislation and that by making this investment, we will set up our agricultural sector for future success, but it can’t be understated that much more needs to be done to protect the water that our irrigation districts rely on. I sincerely hope that all members of the Executive Council and private members in the government caucus do the right thing and do everything that they can to protect the water sources that are so critical to the success of our irrigation districts. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: Any other members wishing to join debate on Bill 54 in third reading? Seeing none, would the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry like to close the debate?
Mr. Dreeshen: Yes. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to close debate on Bill 54.
[Motion carried; Bill 54 read a third time]
3:30 Bill 211 Municipal Government (Firearms) Amendment Act, 2020
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Brooks-Medicine Hat.
Ms Glasgo: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I believe I’m moving third reading, correct?
The Deputy Speaker: Yeah.
Ms Glasgo: I rise to move third reading of Bill 211, the Municipal Government (Firearms) Amendment Act, 2020. It’s an honour to rise today. Alberta’s firearms owners deserve clarity on how they acquire, store, and use their personal property. We know that the current legislation being considered by the federal
Liberals only makes that information murky for honest and law- abiding citizens across the country. The federal Bill C-21 also attempts to place an unnecessary burden on the 352 municipalities in our province.
[Mr. Reid in the chair]
In addition to being constitutionally questionable at best, their poorly conceived idea is a direct challenge to the ideals that founded our nation, that our nation was a Confederation of provinces and territories with equal but separate division of legislative powers from the federal government. We know that Bill C-21 is an overreach into provincial jurisdiction, and we committed to Albertans that we would stand up for Alberta. One of the responsibilities clearly defined in Canada’s Constitution is the province’s creation and the oversight of municipalities. Bill 211 will set that right. Mr. Speaker, you know and I know that Albertans are smart enough to know that made-in-Toronto calls for big-city gun bans are futile since the gang members flagrantly using those firearms will not follow such a bylaw. Criminals break laws. That’s what they do inherently, and one more bylaw is not going to get in their way. The amendments to this bill retain the intent of the proposed legislation, to restrict the ability of municipalities to pass firearms but also provide a balance to ensure that cabinet approves new bylaws and changes but they also retain the minister’s ability who is responsible for the Wildlife Act, in this case the Minister of Environment and Parks, to continue to manage hunting in Alberta, and it will avoid potential confusion and disruption regarding existing municipal bylaws passed under the current legislation. Opponents to this bill say that municipal handgun bans are an effort to fight crime. That’s patently false. In reality they only increase the risk of ordinarily law-abiding people becoming inadvertent criminals, and firearms owners already jump through enough hoops to follow the rules. They don’t need more needless red tape, Mr. Speaker. This bill, as we all know – we’ve spoken about it before – has been modelled after Saskatchewan’s Bill 194, and it strikes the right balance between ensuring safety and common sense. Bill 211 also aligns with the conservative value that individual liberty is always preferable to big-government intervention, something that I fully support. Alberta firearms owners are the least likely to commit a crime, and maintaining freedom is their reward for their responsible lifestyle. With 1 in 7 Canadians being licensed firearms owners, I don’t believe that we have a large problem here to fix as far as legal firearms owners being the problem. I believe our government will continue to do the work of making our communities safer and putting criminals where they belong, which is behind bars. While intimate partner violence is abhorrent, the reality is that firearms owners are among the least likely to be involved in those crimes. Less than 1 per cent – actually, it’s 0.7 per cent – of all domestic violence calls even have a firearm present at their address let alone use it to threaten, according to Statistics Canada. Suicide prevention is also a cited reason by some of the members opposite and some of the e-mails I’ve gotten to oppose this bill, but mental health treatment is an area that our government and myself take very seriously. The reality is that firearms are not used as often as other methods, which, of course, does not minimize the fact that they have been used. In fact, according to a peer-reviewed study, gun legislation in Canada has done little to affect suicide or homicide rates in Canada, but increasing support for mental health community initiatives continues to be the number one asset in suicide prevention. That’s why, Mr. Speaker, I have tirelessly lobbied for members of my own community and groups such as the
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Inner Man Project and Our Collective Journey to be funded by our government, to ensure that they can continue to provide essential peer-to-peer support services. They were very lucky to receive funding to the tune of $150,000, and I believe that there actually might even be more exciting news to come on that. Albertans can be confident that our government will continue to support law-abiding Albertans and respect their rights to safely use and acquire their own private property. I hope, Mr. Speaker, that all my colleagues on both sides of the House will join me in supporting Bill 211, the municipal government act. Thank you.
The Acting Speaker: Any other members wishing to speak to Bill 211 in third reading? Seeing none, would the Member for Brooks-Medicine Hat like to rise and close debate?
Ms Glasgo: Waived.
The Acting Speaker: The hon. Member for Brooks-Medicine Hat has moved third reading of Bill 211, the Municipal Government (Firearms) Amendment Act, 2020.
[The voice vote indicated that the motion for third reading carried]
[Several members rose calling for a division. The division bell was rung at 3:36 p.m.]
[Fifteen minutes having elapsed, the Assembly divided]
[Mr. Reid in the chair]
For the motion: Glasgo Luan Singh Glubish Orr Stephan Goodridge Pitt Turton Gotfried Pon Walker Guthrie Rehn Wilson Hunter Rowswell Yao LaGrange Schweitzer
Against the motion: Dang Nielsen Renaud Irwin Pancholi Schmidt
Totals: For – 20 Against – 6
[Motion carried; Bill 211 read a third time]
[The Deputy Speaker in the chair]
head: Government Bills and Orders Second Reading
Bill 56 Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021
[Adjourned debate April 7: Mr. Madu]
The Deputy Speaker: Are there any members wishing to join debate on the referral motion? The hon. Member for Edmonton- Decore.
Mr. Nielsen: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate yet another opportunity to rise here this afternoon to add some additional comments on Bill 56, the Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021. You know, I guess that for maybe some of the folks that didn’t get an opportunity to watch the debate last night, some of it ranged around facts. I know the Minister of Justice was very
concerned with the facts around this bill. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity last night to potentially send this to committee to hear from Albertans. We know this UCP government wants to involve Albertans in the legislation that governs them.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. member, I hesitate to interrupt, but you are already on the record speaking to the referral motion.
An Hon. Member: We voted on the referral last night.
Member Irwin: Yeah. The referral was voted on last night. We were all here.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. member, if you could just confirm if you’re saying that you have not spoken on the main bill. We’ll just ask you to confirm that. We’ll reset your time to its beginning, and you can proceed from there.
Mr. Nielsen: I haven’t spoken to the main bill. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I appreciate that. My apologies if I may have caused some confusion by referring to that from last night. Yeah. It was mostly just a recap for maybe folks that were joining us today to watch this debate part. We didn’t take advantage of that, which is unfortunate. You know, I’ve heard this government wanting Albertans to be participatory with legislation, promoting referendums and things like that, yet they won’t send it to a committee to hear from them, which is unfortunate. That happens to be one of the facts right now. I think some of the other facts that weren’t included in last night’s debate that I think we should include here now on Bill 56 is the fact that if Albertans are supposed to buy into Bill 56 and the effects it has on them, then the government needs to understand what’s already happened and why members of the opposition are standing up in opposition to this. The fact is that the UCP government gave a great big corporate tax break to large, profitable corporations, yet we’re seeing some of them not paying their property taxes. We have seen – fact – changes that are creating higher property taxes for Albertans, yet contained in Bill 56, we have changes that will increase more costs for Albertans yet again. The fact is that the government created a war room at a significant cost to Albertans. What are we getting for our money? Well, we’re fighting with a cartoon character, yet in Bill 56 we’re asking Albertans to take on more costs. Their utility bills are higher because of changes this government brought in. That is yet another fact. We have facts that insurance premiums have been going up due to changes that this government brought forward, removing the cap, yet in Bill 56 we’re asking Albertans to absorb even more. The fact is that there have been changes where higher fees will be coming in, like parking, yet we’re asking Albertans to take on yet even more through Bill 56. Higher child care expenses: changes that we have seen the government bring forward. Ending the $25-a-day child care has increased the cost for them to get quality child care, yet in Bill 56 we’re asking for Albertans to take on yet even more. You’re putting municipalities in a position where they’re going to have to download these costs. When you have higher utilities, higher income taxes because, of course, you know, you deindexed that, higher insurance premiums, higher tuition – I forgot to mention tuition for students. Their tuition is going to be higher. Their loan repayments are going to be higher because of increased interest rates on their loans and the fees, like I mentioned, around parking, property taxes, child care. Then you wonder why I have a problem with the money that you’re going to
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download onto them just, for example, with the changes contained in Bill 56 around 911 and the infrastructure and whatnot. It’s incumbent upon the opposition to bring these concerns forward because we’ve been hearing it over and over again. I’ve certainly heard it from my constituents. I know my colleagues have heard it from theirs, and I know the opposition has heard it from your constituents as well. So it’s too bad that we didn’t take advantage, get a chance to hear from Albertans, and that we’re pressing ahead with a bill that’s going to negatively impact them. 4:00
It’d be interesting to know what kind of consultation took place with municipalities around this. I think it would probably be easier if we had just sent it to committee. We could have heard from them. Perhaps then, maybe, they could have come in and said: “Yeah, absolutely, this is what we said we wanted. This is exactly what they gave us. We’re happy with this.” It would have shut us up, quite honestly. I don’t think that happened based on just what I’ve seen this government do in the past around its supposed consultation. One of the most recent, of course, is the coal policy. Clearly, no consultation done around that. You know, I heard earlier this afternoon, Madam Speaker, touting this big mandate that they were given in 2019. Obviously, enough push-back caused the government to back off on the coal policy for the moment but not really back off on it. So why should I, I guess, take your word for it on proper consultation with the municipalities in Alberta around 911? I think I’ve asked this before in the past. Where was that in the UCP platform? You always like to go back to that, the biggest platform ever in history and all the hundreds of pages. Where were changes to 911, forcing $41 million in 911 upgrades on the municipalities and, ultimately, Albertans? They’re going to have to get that from somewhere. They’re going to get it from their residents because you’ve cut back on so many other things that municipalities need. It all goes to a pattern, Madam Speaker. We’ve heard it time and time again. I’ve pointed it out time and time again in this House. The things that are said, the legislation that comes forward: they’re not matching up. I can’t support this bill in its current form, and I don’t think Albertans can support it either. Trying to go down that road or the excuse, “Well, it’s only a small little cost,” but when you’ve been nickel and diming them for the past two years – the fact is that the big corporate tax break didn’t create jobs for them. It didn’t grow the economy, so why do we think that this is going to help Albertans? You’re putting them in yet another hard position where they’re going to have to start making decisions about what they’re paying for: well, do I pay my higher insurance bill today or do I buy my groceries or do I pay my property taxes or do I pay my utility bill? They’ve all gone up. Going back to some of the comments that I stated earlier, maybe we should have some of these big corporations that got that big corporate tax break pay their property taxes. I’m curious, Madam Speaker, what would happen if Albertans all of a sudden decided not to pay their property taxes. They could just simply say: “Hey, it’s tough times, you know. I don’t have the money. I have to pay my car insurance because that went up because the cap was removed. I have to pay my child care fees because $25-a-day child care was taken away, and now I’m looking at double the amount that I was.” If indeed we want to look at the facts, then you have to start taking all the facts into consideration when we’re looking at Bill 56. You know, it was an interesting discussion last night, Madam Speaker, talking about debt and deficit. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the conversation I had around the words “may,” “will,” and “shall.” I was hearing, it seemed like: oh, debt and deficit is the
same thing. Not quite; no. “May,” “will,” and “shall” aren’t the same things either. They tried to sell the fact that, well, the former NDP government ran us all this debt. Your first budget was $6 billion higher, the deficit, than what the former NDP government projected. Fact. I hate to say it. We have seen decisions that have backfired greatly for the people of Alberta, so it’s incumbent upon the Official Opposition to look at Bill 56 and say: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re headed in the wrong direction here. You can make different choices here.” Perhaps there’s still an opportunity to fix this, but until we start hearing a little bit about how our constituents are going to be able to handle these higher costs, maybe we shouldn’t be asking them to take on yet even more. If you don’t think that those things are going to get downloaded onto them, I think you’re kidding yourself because municipalities are not going to be able to make up for $41 million on the 911 upgrade. There have been too many other cuts that have been downloaded to them, and there are no other levers. They either collect more property taxes or they start bringing in all kinds of user fees. The bottom line is that it falls to Albertans to make that up. We need to reconsider Bill 56 in its current form. We have to do a little bit better. I do look forward to the rest of debate. Perhaps members will stand up, offer some suggestions of what we could do different, offer some suggestions about where else we could go. Maybe someone might want to reconsider reaching out to Albertans and Alberta businesses as well because this is going to affect them as well. If you’re going to promote participation from Albertans on the legislation that’s brought to this House, then offer them participation, not just pick and choose – it’s called cherry-picking – on what you actually want to hear from them on. I hope, Madam Speaker, that we do take a different direction. I’m not in support of Bill 56 in its current form. I do want to see some changes. Let’s get to Albertans and their businesses and see what kinds of things we can do better than what we’ve currently got here.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members, Standing Order 29(2)(a) is available. The hon. Member for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood.
Member Irwin: Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to my colleague from Edmonton-Decore for his thoughtful comments. You know, I had the honour of being able to speak to this bill last night, and one of the things that I talked about and a few of my colleagues as well is to really contextualize Bill 56 as to how it will impact our communities. I think this is one of the reasons why we are so concerned about this bill, because it’s another attack on municipalities. As I stressed, municipalities aren’t just these abstract objects. Municipalities are made up of people. They’re communities, and you can point to so many actions of this UCP government that continue to attack communities, whether it’s the cuts to CFEP grants that directly impact community leagues and community associations across this province, whether it’s the ongoing costs to families in these communities, whether it’s raising provincial park fees or property taxes. The list goes on. I talked about the impact on folks who are the most vulnerable, right? We’ve seen a continued pattern of this government attacking those communities, starting with one of their earliest moves in deindexing AISH. 4:10
I was really intrigued by some of the comments that the member made yesterday in regard to his own community and how Bill 56 will impact it, and one of the things that I didn’t get a chance to talk about was something that he mentioned, just the impacts on community infrastructure. He talked about some of the changes that
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are happening to busing, to bus services in his community, his riding. If you don’t know, Edmonton-Decore is just north of mine, north of the Yellowhead. You know, I don’t venture up that way too much anymore because I like to stay within the boundaries of Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, other than when coming to work, of course. I know I spent a lot of time up there in my previous work politically, and I know just how important that infrastructure is. I’ve heard from my own constituents. I’ve heard from some seniors in my community who are quite concerned about the loss of bus routes. Now, we’re not here to blame the city because the city is having to make these very tough decisions due to cuts from the province. The city is being put in an incredibly difficult position in that they’re having to make decisions that they should never have to make, and we know it was the Minister of Municipal Affairs who basically said to the media that: sorry; municipalities are going to have to make some tough choices. They’re already having to make tough choices. On top of that, in the midst of a pandemic you’re going to make a further 25 per cent cut to their funding? It seems like an incredibly unfair position to put our municipalities in. With whatever time is remaining, which I’m sure is not a great deal, I’d ask the Member for Edmonton-Decore, if you could, to just talk a little bit more about some of those impacts on your local communities in Edmonton-Decore.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members, I’d just take this opportunity to remind all members to direct comments through the chair. The hon. Member for Edmonton-Decore.
Mr. Nielsen: Well, thank you, Madam Speaker. I would certainly invite the Member for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood to come on up to Edmonton-Decore. We’ve got some amazing businesses there, restaurants. It’s an awesome place. Hopefully, when we get a chance to get back to those things, we can enjoy some time there. As she was mentioning around the infrastructure, Edmonton has been placed in a very tough position. You know, Edmonton has made a commitment around affordable housing, trying to end homelessness within the city, so while they’re struggling with how to deliver those services, they’re now having to struggle to decide: well, do we provide bus service for our residents? I know that with some of the areas in Edmonton-Decore some folks don’t have the same means as others, so they do rely on the bus service to get around, to get to work, to get to their appointments, and things like that. One of the choices that it seems Edmonton is being forced to make is bus service going straight through the middle of Edmonton- Decore. On 82nd Street, which is a major roadway through the riding, I’ve got . . .
The Deputy Speaker: Any other members wishing to join debate on Bill 56 in second reading? The hon. Member for St. Albert.
Ms Renaud: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It’s my pleasure to rise and speak to Bill 56, Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021. You know, I’m going to add some of my comments that I mentioned last night, when I was speaking to the referral amendment – now we’re on the main bill – and I did outline the three things, essentially, that this bill does. I’d like to outline them again before I get into some of my thoughts on this piece of legislation. The first thing it does is that it extends the municipal sustainability initiative and delays the implementation of the replacement program, the local government fiscal framework. As I mentioned last night, Madam Speaker, this is a problem. This is a problem for a number of reasons. It’s a problem for large municipalities that were looking for legislated predictability. Not only that; they’re looking for transparency and, of course, funding to match the needs that they express. They are looking for that legislated predictability.
The second thing that this piece of legislation does is that it cuts the MSI program. The government members and the minister actually have argued that although there is a cut, there is some front- loading of cash that eases that burden; therefore, that cut shouldn’t be problematic. Well, you know, that in itself is problematic on multiple levels. I mean, certainly, it is good that there is some front- loading so there is some extra funding available right now, this year, for municipalities. We know that we need to get people back to work – well, actually, we knew that before COVID as well – and we know that this is one of the ways to do that, to ensure that municipalities have the funds that they need to invest in infrastructure and all of the work that those communities do. So while that is great, to front-load, to invest some money in municipalities and communities, the problem is that after the one year it just tanks. I’m going to give you an example from St. Albert because that is the community that I represent. The front-loading: let’s look at MSI for the three years. In the first year the front-loading results in $18 million. Now, for a community the size of St. Albert, that is approaching close to 70,000 people, that’s good, actually. It allows them to do a number of projects. If anyone is interested, you can go on the city of St. Albert website and look clearly at their capital projects that they’ve identified are high priority for themselves. This allows them to do some work. You know, to elaborate on what I said last night, the city of St. Albert has worked very, very hard over the last I don’t know how many years to expand their tax base, if you will. The vast majority of revenue, previously, from St. Albert came from residential taxes. That is just the reality. You know, it’s been called a bedroom community, all of those things. It is far more than that. I think that the real problem was that they were heavily reliant on other communities for services. Over the years St. Albert has done a fantastic job just expanding and developing all of the services and attracting some world-class companies, some amazing investment, but that’s all taken effort, and that’s taken investment. You know, a good example: the previous Minister of Transportation at the time, Brian Mason, was actually involved in securing a contract with the city of St. Albert and government of Alberta to twin Ray Gibbon Drive. For any of you that know that area, it was actually quite dangerous, but it really prohibited flow in that corridor, and that corridor was essential to invest and actually grow the ability of that community to be able to grow their tax base, their corporate tax base. So what that did is that it opened up all kinds of opportunities, but then that requires additional infrastructure investment, not just road maintenance but, you know, all of the other things associated. When I look at this MSI, sure, it’s front-loaded: $18 million, year one. That’s okay. That’ll allow them to meet some of the goals they have identified. The very next year it drops down to $4.6 million, and it goes even lower than that after that. I mean, this is a significant drop. Once again – and I said this last night, Madam Speaker; I’m sure you’ll remember; it was riveting – it’s like this UCP budget is like this massive shell game. “Yeah; here’s some money over here, but we’re going to take it and move it around,” and you never really know where it’s coming from. And then you have these fantastical announcements – this is a historic investment in policing; this is a historic investment in municipalities – when in reality it’s just shuffling things around and moving them around and then spinning. That’s what it is. While I’m appreciative that it’s front-loaded – I recognize the situation that we’re in: a global health emergency; we’ve got an economy that is beyond struggling. I understand this. What I am disappointed in is that this piece of legislation actually creates more burden for municipalities. I know that just the leadership in the city of St. Albert: obviously, they were expecting a cut of some kind. I
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think that they were a little bit stunned at the size of the reduction. So spin it however you like, make yourself feel good that it’s front- loaded, but the reality is that it’s a cut, and when that happens, Madam Speaker – and I talked about this last night. I mean, municipalities have things they need to get done, the basics of road maintenance, repair, enforcement, safety, and then all of those other things that contribute to the quality of life of a community. All of those things get looked at, and they get reduced in many cases because there is not the funding to be able to sustain it. That is the second thing that this piece of legislation does. 4:20
The third thing is that in order to fund updates to the 911 system – we know it’s federally mandated, understand that – this government wants to increase through this legislation the monthly cellphone bill tax by 51 cents, going from 44 to 95 cents. As I said last night, again, for most people, you know, this is probably something you can manage. In this place I’m sure that we can manage that, but there are far too many people that cannot. For example, we know that this government, the UCP, has cut benefits to some of the poorest people in the province. Those are people that live on income support; there are about 60,000 of them. Those are people that live on AISH; there are about 70,000 of them. These people live so far below the poverty line, it’s ridiculous. Yet we still hear the government: “Well, they are the best benefits in the country,” which is patently not true, but anyway. What I’m saying is that, yes, it’s just one more expense that is being passed on to Albertans, many of which just can’t afford it. When you look at everything in its totality, even for a resident of St. Albert they likely will be paying more in property taxes. They likely are paying more for insurance. They’re going to pay more for this particular tax. And it goes on and on and on. And the cost of living continues to go up. Yet this government will say, you know: oh, we’re doing all of these great things. But what they’re doing is downloading expenses to individual Albertans, to municipalities, and there’s an inherent danger in that. Those are the three main things that this particular bill does. I wanted to talk about – and I mentioned this last night. It isn’t just this one thing that is downloaded to municipalities that is going to make or break municipalities. It isn’t just this one thing. It isn’t just MSI. As we know, likely leadership in those municipalities will find a way to make things work. They always do, right? This is what they have to do. But this is coupled with other enormous changes that are causing enormous pressure in communities right across Alberta. One of the things that we’ve been focused on this week, partially because during the Public Accounts meeting we were able to ask questions to Justice and Solicitor General around policing – we were all very, very clear that the way that policing is paid for has changed significantly in Alberta. Now, there are a couple of ways that happened. For communities that are under 5,000 people, they will now have to pay, where they did not before. That is causing all kinds of concerns and problems. This goes back to 2019, when we were hearing from communities all over the place saying: “This isn’t sustainable. We can’t do this.” Then I think the shock wore off a little bit, and then they started saying: “Well, how are you going to improve service? Where’s the benchmark? How are we going to know if things are going to get better? How are we going to know that rural crime will be addressed by this enormous shift in funding?” Silence. We even asked that in Public Accounts. Although I think officials did submit that they would share some numbers about sort of boots on the ground as a result of these funding changes, we’ve not heard from this government about what that plan is.
We hear a lot about the rural crime tour all the time: “We did this great rural crime tour. We’re doing this. We’re doing that.” That’s great, but we need to see details. What does that mean for these communities that are facing enormous financial pressures? So there is that. The other piece is the larger communities; for example, St. Albert. Now, when you add this downloaded cost increase to what is being proposed in Bill 56, it is a problem. A city the size of St. Albert is projecting a loss of revenue – actually, in 2020 it was over $600,000. That’s a loss from their portion of photoradar. We know that the government has chosen to take a larger share of the revenue that is collected by the RCMP and contributing to the overall net expense of policing, municipal enforcement. So instead of taking 25 per cent, as they did before, they’re now taking 40 per cent. So this is one more pressure on municipalities that are stretched and feeling the pressure. We know this. We know this. We know that they’re stressed. We know that there’s pressure. But still this government says: “No. We’ve got your back. We’re supporting all of these communities.” Yet they fail to see that it has been two years of downloading costs and downloading pressures. All the while, you know, they’ll throw their hands up and say: “Well, we don’t have any choice, right? We have to do this. We don’t have any money. We’re broke. What are we going to do?” But then Albertans sort of scratch their heads and go: “Okay; well, that’s really strange because we’ve got this war room budgeted at $120 million over four years. Where did that come from? Or what about $1.3 billion for KXL, essentially betting on Trump’s re- election?” That doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t compute. People aren’t buying it. I have a number of concerns about this piece of legislation. You know, we asked some questions last night, and I don’t think anyone stood up to answer, and that’s not unusual in this place.
Member Irwin: One person.
Ms Renaud: Oh, yeah, we did have one person stand up. One of the questions – I know one of my colleagues raised this, and I would just like to raise it again because I think it’s important, Madam Speaker. All of us keep talking about, “You just keep downloading these things,” and it’s not like Albertans have forgotten. We haven’t forgotten. We have running lists. We remember. We feel the damage that was inflicted. We see the marks that were inflicted, so we know. What would be really great is if the government could tally up for us how much funding was cut or downloaded onto municipalities. I think that would be very telling if we could get a really accurate picture of all the municipalities, all of the communities right across Alberta, and let’s see what this last two years have cost. And let’s see what Bill 56 will do, because Bill 56 has the ability to cause enormous pressure for communities and for individual Albertans. You know, the other thing is that there’s this continuation of government expecting Albertans and communities to continuously pay more. Somehow I don’t get it. They frame themselves as, you know: “We will never raise taxes. We don’t ever want people to pay more.” Yet the reality is that they’re doing it. They’re doing it. They’re just not being up front about it and saying they’re doing it. Whether it’s bracket creep for personal income taxes, whether it’s removing caps, I mean, it’s just happening all over the place. Yet falsely, I believe, Madam Speaker, this government stands up and says that they’re doing the opposite: we’re making this historic investment in policing. Really, they’re charging municipalities, they’re taking away revenue streams from municipalities to pay for policing, but they don’t tell you that part.
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It’s just frustrating, Madam Speaker, to consistently stand in this place and try to counter some of the spin and to try to explain to Albertans, who don’t have a lot of time because they’re busy living their lives, busy dealing with a deadly pandemic, busy dealing with their kids in school then out of school, and pressures – too many people have lost their jobs. People don’t have time to pay attention to what’s happening in this place every single day. So it’s our job to let them know what is before us, what is the potential good, and what is the potential harm. I think that I can speak for myself and, hopefully, my colleagues on this side, that we take that very seriously, letting our constituents know what the potential ramifications of pieces of legislation like this are. We will continue to let them know of the harm that is coming.
Madam Speaker, before I run out of time, I just want to say one thing. I hope before this debate is over that, other than spewing back rhetoric and talking points, at some point members of government will stand up and explain these decisions and how they expect municipalities . . .
The Deputy Speaker: I hesitate to interrupt, but the clock strikes 4:30. The House now stands adjourned till next Monday at 1:30 p.m.
[The Assembly adjourned at 4:29 p.m.]
_________________________________________________________Bill Status Report for the 30th Legislature - 2nd Session (2020-2021)
Activity to Thursday, April 8, 2021
The Bill sponsor's name is in brackets following the Bill title. If it is a money Bill, ($) will appear between the title and the sponsor's name. Numbers following each Reading refer to Hansard pages where the text of debates is found; dates for each Reading are in brackets following the page numbers. Bills numbered 1 to 200 are Government Bills. Bills numbered 201 or higher are Private Members' Public Bills. Bills numbered with a "Pr" prefix are Private Bills.
* An asterisk beside a Bill number indicates an amendment was passed to that Bill; the Committee line shows the precise date of the amendment.
The date a Bill comes into force is indicated in square brackets after the date of Royal Assent. If a Bill comes into force "on proclamation," "with exceptions," or "on various dates," please contact Legislative Counsel, Alberta Justice, for details at 780.427.2217. The chapter number assigned to the Bill is entered immediately following the date the Bill comes into force. SA indicates Statutes of Alberta; this is followed by the year in which it is included in the statutes, and its chapter number. Please note, Private Bills are not assigned chapter number until the conclusion of the Fall Sittings.
Bill 1 — Critical Infrastructure Defence Act (Kenney) First Reading — 4 (Feb. 25, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 12-18 (Feb. 26, 2020 morn.), 96-98 (Mar. 2, 2020 aft.), 791-98 (May 27, 2020 morn., passed) Committee of the Whole — 859-91 (May 28, 2020 morn., passed) Third Reading — 861-69 (May 28, 2020 morn., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jun. 17, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force June 17, 2020; SA 2020 cC-32.7 ]
Bill 2* — Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act, 2020 (Hunter) First Reading — 30 (Feb. 26, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 857-58 (May 28, 2020 morn.), 1004-09 (Jun. 2, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1238-44 (Jun. 9, 2020 eve., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 1364-70 (Jun. 15, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 17, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force June 17, 2020; SA 2020 c9 ]
Bill 3 — Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Amendment Act, 2020 (Glubish) First Reading — 30 (Feb. 26, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 431-46 (Apr. 7, 2020 morn.), 458-65 (Apr. 7, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 465-76 (Apr. 7, 2020 aft.), 477-507 (Apr. 7, 2020 eve.), 572-83 (Apr. 8, 2020 eve.), 659-66 (May 6, 2020 morn., passed)
Third Reading — 703-09 (May 7, 2020 morn., passed) Royal Assent — (May 12, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 c8 ]
Bill 4 — Fiscal Planning and Transparency (Fixed Budget Period) Amendment Act, 2020 (Toews) First Reading — 62 (Feb. 27, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 858 (May 28, 2020 morn.), 869-75 (May 28, 2020 morn.), 933-35 (Jun. 1, 2020 aft.), 970-72 (Jun. 1, 2020 eve.), 1040-43 (Jun. 2, 2020 eve.), 1077 (Jun. 3, 2020 aft., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 1257-66 (Jun. 10, 2020 aft.), 1311-16 (Jun. 11, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 1442 (Jun. 17, 2020 aft.), 1452-55 (Jun. 17, 2020 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force June 26, 2020; SA 2020 c14 ]
Bill 5 — Fiscal Measures and Taxation Act, 2020 (Toews) First Reading — 110 (Mar. 3, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 224-32 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., passed on division), 222-23 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft.) Committee of the Whole — 232-33 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft.), 234-41 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 241 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft.), 242-48 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Mar. 20, 2020 outside of House Sitting) [Comes into force on various dates; SA 2020 c3 ]
Bill 6 — Appropriation Act, 2020 ($) (Toews) First Reading — 215 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 216-22 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., passed on division) Committee of the Whole — 222 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., deemed passed on division) Third Reading — 222 (Mar. 17, 2020 aft., deemed passed on division) Royal Assent — (Mar. 20, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force March 20, 2020; SA 2020 c1 ]
Bill 7 — Responsible Energy Development Amendment Act, 2020 (Savage) First Reading — 827 (May 27, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 858-59 (May 28, 2020 morn.), 891-99 (May 28, 2020 aft.), 972-76 (Jun. 1, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1266-72 (Jun. 10, 2020 aft.), 1370-75 (Jun. 15, 2020 eve.), 1406-11 (Jun. 16, 2020 aft.), 1413 (Jun. 16, 2020 eve.), 1479-81 (Jun. 17, 2020 eve.), 1539-40 (Jun. 22, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 1636-37 (Jun. 24, 2020 aft., adjourned), 1678-79 (Jun. 25, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force June 26, 2020; SA 2020 c16 ]
Bill 8* — Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act (Schweitzer) First Reading — 431 (Apr. 7, 2020 morn., passed) Second Reading — 509-21 (Apr. 8, 2020 morn.), 551-58 (Apr. 8, 2020 aft.), 559-72 (Apr. 8, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 593-618 (Apr. 8, 2020 eve.), 671-73 (May 6, 2020 morn., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 709-12 (May 7, 2020 morn., passed) Royal Assent — (May 12, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force May 12, 2020, except Part 2, which comes into force on July 1, 2020; SA 2020 cP-26.87 ]
Bill 9 — Emergency Management Amendment Act, 2020 (Madu) First Reading — 276 (Mar. 20, 2020 morn., passed) Second Reading — 277-80 (Mar. 20, 2020 morn., passed) Committee of the Whole — 280-82 (Mar. 20, 2020 morn., passed) Third Reading — 282-83 (Mar. 20, 2020 morn., passed) Royal Assent — (Mar. 20, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force March 20, 2020; SA 2020 c2 ]
Bill 10 — Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, 2020 (Shandro) First Reading — 296-97 (Mar. 31, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 307-20 (Apr. 1, 2020 morn.), 337-44 (Apr. 1, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 354-57 (Apr. 1, 2020 aft.), 407-09 (Apr. 2, 2020 morn.), 426-28 (Apr. 2, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 428-29 (Apr. 2, 2020 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Apr. 2, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force April 2, 2020; certain sections took effect on earlier dates; SA 2020 c5 ]
Bill 11 — Tenancies Statutes (Emergency Provisions) Amendment Act, 2020 (Glubish) First Reading — 297 (Mar. 31, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 298-301 (Mar. 31, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 301-03 (Mar. 31, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 303-05 (Mar. 31, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Apr. 2, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on various dates; SA 2020 c6 ]
Bill 12 — Liabilities Management Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Savage) First Reading — 297 (Mar. 31, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 320-25 (Apr. 1, 2020 morn.), 344-49 (Apr. 1, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 350-54 (Apr. 1, 2020 aft.), 401-05 (Apr. 2, 2020 morn., passed) Third Reading — 406 (Apr. 2, 2020 morn., passed) Royal Assent — (Apr. 2, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 c4 ]
Bill 13 — Emergency Management Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2) (Madu) First Reading — 431 (Apr. 7, 2020 morn., passed) Second Reading — 521-26 (Apr. 8, 2020 morn.), 537-51 (Apr. 8, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 583-93 (Apr. 8, 2020 eve.), 619-35 (Apr. 9, 2020 morn.), 648-57 (Apr. 9, 2020 aft.), 673-74 (May 6, 2020 morn.), 688-99 (May 6, 2020 aft., passed)
Third Reading — 699-701 (May 6, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (May 12, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force May 12, 2020, with exceptions; SA 2020 c7 ]
Bill 14 — Utility Payment Deferral Program Act (Nally) First Reading — 687 (May 6, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 724-45 (May 7, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 758-86 (May 8, 2020 morn., passed) Third Reading — 786-90 (May 8, 2020 morn., passed on division) Royal Assent — (May 12, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force May 12, 2020, with certain provisions having effect as of March 18, 2020; SA 2020 cU-4 ]
Bill 15 — Choice in Education Act, 2020 (LaGrange) First Reading — 887-88 (May 28, 2020 aft, passed) Second Reading — 937-54 (Jun. 1, 2020 eve.), 1011-40 (Jun. 2, 2020 eve.), 1058-67 (Jun. 3, 2020 aft.), 1228-38 (Jun. 9, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1375-78 (Jun. 15, 2020 eve.), 1470-79 (Jun. 17, 2020 eve.), 1541-51 (Jun. 22, 2020 eve.), 1575-88 (Jun. 23, 2020 aft.), 1620-25 (Jun. 24, 2020 aft.), 1639-47 (Jun. 24, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 1657-59 (Jun. 24, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force September 1, 2020; SA 2020 c11 ]
Bill 16 — Victims of Crime (Strengthening Public Safety) Amendment Act, 2020 (Schweitzer) First Reading — 888 (May 28, 2020 aft, passed) Second Reading — 954-70 (Jun. 1, 2020 eve.), 1109-12 (Jun. 3, 2020 eve.), 1127-35 (Jun. 4, 2020 aft.), 1179-81 (Jun. 8, 2020 eve.), 1209-22 (Jun. 9, 2020 aft.), 1285-96 (Jun. 10, 2020 eve., passed on division)
Committee of the Whole — 1428-29 (Jun. 16, 2020 eve.), 1455-59 (Jun. 17, 2020 aft.), 1551-55 (Jun. 22, 2020 eve.), 1588-90 (Jun. 23, 2020 aft.), 1647-50 (Jun. 24, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 1676-78 (Jun. 25, 2020 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force June 26, 2020, with exceptions; SA 2020 c18 ]
Bill 17 — Mental Health Amendment Act, 2020 (Shandro) First Reading — 1125 (Jun. 4, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1203-09 (Jun. 9, 2020 aft.), 1272-74 (Jun. 10, 2020 aft.), 1316-23 (Jun. 11, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1396-1406 (Jun. 16, 2020 aft.), 1413 (Jun. 16, 2020 eve.), 1461-70 (Jun. 17, 2020 eve.), 1605-08 (Jun. 23, 2020 eve.), 1630-36 (Jun. 24, 2020 aft.), 1650-54 (Jun. 24, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 1675-76 (Jun. 25, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation, with exceptions; certain sections come into force on June 26, 2020; SA 2020 c15 ]
Bill 18 — Corrections (Alberta Parole Board) Amendment Act, 2020 (Schweitzer) First Reading — 912 (Jun. 1, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 989-1004 (Jun. 2, 2020 aft.), 1011 (Jun. 2, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1413-24 (Jun. 16, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 1655 (Jun. 24, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 c12 ]
Bill 19 — Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act, 2020 (Shandro) First Reading — 989 (Jun. 2, 2020 aft, passed) Second Reading — 1079-98 (Jun. 3, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1424-28 (Jun. 16, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 1495-97 (Jun. 18, 2020 aft.), 1555-56 (Jun. 22, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 c17 ]
Bill 20 — Real Estate Amendment Act, 2020 (Glubish) First Reading — 1057 (Jun. 3, 2020 aft, passed) Second Reading — 1125-27 (Jun. 4, 2020 aft.), 1169-79 (Jun. 8, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1185-90 (Jun. 8, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 1279-85 (Jun. 10, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 17, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 c10 ]
Bill 21* — Provincial Administrative Penalties Act (Schweitzer) First Reading — 1125 (Jun. 4, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1181-85 (Jun. 8, 2020 eve.), 1296-97 (Jun. 10, 2020 eve.), 1355-57 (Jun. 15, 2020 aft.), 1442-52 (Jun. 17, 2020 aft.), 1819-22 (Jul. 8, 2020 morn., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 1983-99 (Jul. 14, 2020 aft.), 2071-74 (Jul. 15, 2020 eve., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 2264-68 (Jul. 21, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force on proclamation, with exceptions; SA 2020 cP-30.8 ]
Bill 22 — Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020 (Hunter) First Reading — 1301-02 (Jun. 11, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1591-95 (Jun. 23, 2020 eve.), 1655-57 (Jun. 24, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1798-1804 (Jul. 7, 2020 eve.), 1879 (Jul. 8, 2020 eve.), 1939-57 (Jul. 13, 2020 eve.), 1965-66 (Jul. 13, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 2050-51 (Jul. 15, 2020 aft.), 2053-59 (Jul. 15, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force on various dates; SA 2020 c25 ]
Bill 23* — Commercial Tenancies Protection Act (Fir) First Reading — 1392 (Jun. 16, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1529-35 (Jun. 22, 2020 aft.), 1601-05 (Jun. 23, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1879-80 (Jul. 8, 2020 eve., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 2181-83 (Jul. 20, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force July 23, 2020, with certain sections taking effect March 17, 2020; SA 2020 cC-19.5 ]
Bill 24 — COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Shandro) First Reading — 1494 (Jun. 18, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1537-39 (Jun. 22, 2020 eve.), 1569-75 (Jun. 23, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1625-30 (Jun. 24, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 1679-81 (Jun. 25, 2020 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force June 26, 2020, with certain sections taking effect on earlier dates; SA 2020 c13 ]
Bill 25 — Protecting Alberta Industry From Theft Act, 2020 (Schweitzer) First Reading — 1494 (Jun. 18, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1719-35 (Jul. 6, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1804-05 (Jul. 7, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 1904-05 (Jul. 9, 2020 aft.), 2031-32 (Jul. 14, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force on various dates; SA 2020 c24 ]
Bill 26 — Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act, 2020 (Schweitzer) First Reading — 1568 (Jun. 23, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1735-41 (Jul. 6, 2020 eve.), 1764-72 (Jul. 7, 2020 aft.), 1845-56 (Jul. 8, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1964-65 (Jul. 13, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 2081-86 (Jul. 15, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force July 23, 2020; SA 2020 c20 ]
Bill 27 — Alberta Senate Election Amendment Act, 2020 (Schweitzer) First Reading — 1568 (Jun. 23, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1741-47 (Jul. 6, 2020 eve.), 1772-79 (Jul. 7, 2020 aft.), 1822-27 (Jul. 8, 2020 morn.), 1899-1904 (Jul. 9, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1999-2001 (Jul. 14, 2020 aft.), 2074-76 (Jul. 15, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 2076-81 (Jul. 15, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force July 23, 2020; SA 2020 c19 ]
Bill 28 — Vital Statistics (Protecting Albertans from Convicted Sex Offenders) Amendment Act, 2020 (Glubish) First Reading — 1619 (Jun. 24, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1704-17 (Jul. 6, 2020 aft.), 1779-82 (Jul. 7, 2020 aft.), 1856-60 (Jul. 8, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1880-82 (Jul. 8, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 1896-99 (Jul. 9, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force July 23, 2020; SA 2020 c26 ]
Bill 29 — Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020 (Madu) First Reading — 1619-20 (Jun. 24, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1784-97 (Jul. 7, 2020 eve.), 1962-63 (Jul. 13, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 2163-81 (Jul. 20, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 2239-64 (Jul. 21, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force September 1, 2020; SA 2020 c22 ]
Bill 30* — Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Shandro) First Reading — 1695 (Jul. 6, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1783-84 (Jul. 7, 2020 eve.), 2032-37 (Jul. 14, 2020 eve.), 2086-2103 (Jul. 15, 2020 eve), 2189-97 (Jul. 20, 2020 eve.), 2210-27 (Jul. 21, 2020 aft.), 2289-96 (Jul. 22, 2020 aft.), 2313-28 (Jul. 22, 2020 eve.), 2360-61 (Jul. 23, 2020 aft., passed on division)
Committee of the Whole — 2432-475 (Jul. 27, 2020 eve.), 2512-20 (Jul. 28, 2020 aft.), 2523-31 (Jul. 28, 2020 eve., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 2539-61 (Jul. 28, 2020 eve.), 2562-69 (Jul. 28, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jul. 29, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force July 29, 2020, with exceptions; SA 2020 c27 ]
Bill 31 — Environmental Protection Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Nixon, JJ) First Reading — 1760 (Jul. 7, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1878 (Jul. 8, 2020 eve.), 2023-31 (Jul. 14, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 2233-39 (Jul. 21, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 2309-12 (Jul. 22, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force July 23, 2020; SA 2020 c21 ]
Bill 32 — Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, 2020 (Copping) First Reading — 1760 (Jul. 7, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1861-63 (Jul. 8, 2020 eve.), 2003-23 (Jul. 14, 2020 eve.), 2051-53 (Jul. 15, 2020 aft.), 2059-69 (Jul. 15, 2020 aft.), 2147-62 (Jul. 20, 2020 aft.), 2268-73 (Jul. 21, 2020 eve.), 2296-307 (Jul. 22, 2020 aft.), 2328-40 (Jul. 22, 2020 eve.), 2361-63 (Jul. 23, 2020 aft., passed on division)
Committee of the Whole — 2404-32 (Jul. 27, 2020 eve.), 2475-85 (Jul. 27, 2020 eve.), 2502-12 (Jul. 28, 2020 aft.), 2531-39 (Jul. 28, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 2569-78 (Jul. 28, 2020 eve.), 2579-86 (Jul. 28, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jul. 29, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on various dates; SA 2020 c28 ]
Bill 33* — Alberta Investment Attraction Act (Fir) First Reading — 1760-61 (Jul. 7, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1807-19 (Jul. 8, 2020 morn.), 1927-37 (Jul. 13, 2020 aft.), 2117-27 (Jul. 16, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 2227-31 (Jul. 21, 2020 aft.), 2233 (Jul. 21, 2020 eve.), 2340-44 (Jul. 22, 2020 eve..), 2312-13 (Jul. 22, 2020 eve.), 2363-65 (Jul. 23, 2020 aft., passed with amendments)
Third Reading — 2401-04 (Jul. 27, 2020 eve.), 2485-88 (Jul. 27, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Jul. 29, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 cA-26.4 ]
Bill 34 — Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Nixon, JJ) First Reading — 1839 (Jul. 8, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 1966-69 (Jul. 13, 2020 eve.), 2116-17 (Jul. 16, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 2117 (Jul. 16, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 2312 (Jul. 22, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Jul. 23, 2020 aft.) [Comes into force on various dates; SA 2020 c23 ]
Bill 35 — Tax Statutes (Creating Jobs and Driving Innovation) Amendment Act, 2020 (Toews) First Reading — 2616 (Oct. 20, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2666-81 (Oct. 21, 2020 aft.), 2741-55 (Oct. 26, 2020 eve.), 2803-15 (Oct. 27, 2020 eve), 2841-47 (Oct. 28, 2020 aft.), 2860-69 (Oct. 28, 2020 eve.), 2940-43 (Nov. 2, 2020 eve.), 2986-94 (Nov. 3, 2020 eve.), 3072-83 (Nov. 5, 2020 aft), 3126-36 (Nov. 16, 2020 eve.), 3208-12 (Nov. 17, 2020 eve.), 3265-72 (Nov. 18, 2020 eve.), 3361-65 (Nov. 23, 2020 eve., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 3834 (Dec. 7, 2020 eve.), 3886-92 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve., passed on division) Third Reading — 3900 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve.), 3903-09 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020, with certain sections having effect on various dates; SA 2020 c40 ]
Bill 36 — Geothermal Resource Development Act (Savage) First Reading — 2616 (Oct. 20, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2696-2706 (Oct. 22, 2020 aft.), 2755-60 (Oct. 26, 2020 eve.), 2925-29 (Nov. 2, 2020 eve.), 2974-78 (Nov. 3, 2020 aft.), 3121-24 (Nov. 16, 2020 eve., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 3224-32 (Nov. 18, 2020 aft.), 3292-94 (Nov. 19, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 3336-42 (Nov. 23, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 cG-5.5 ]
Bill 37* — Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2020 (Glubish) First Reading — 2665 (Oct. 21, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2774-84 (Oct. 27, 2020 aft.), 2828-38 (Oct. 28, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3024-29 (Nov. 4, 2020 aft.), 3031-48 (Nov. 4, 2020 eve.), (Nov. 24, 2020 ), 3398-3401 (Nov. 24, 2020 aft., passed with amendments)
Third Reading — 3529-30 (Nov. 25, 2020 eve.), 3544-45 (Nov. 26, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation; SA 2020 c30 ]
Bill 38 — Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Madu) First Reading — 2665-66 (Oct. 21, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2795-2800 (Oct. 27, 2020 eve.), 2838-41 (Oct. 28, 2020 aft.), 2884-93 (Oct. 29, 2020 aft.), 2960-65 (Nov. 3, 2020 aft.), 3124-26 (Nov. 16, 2020 eve., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 3232-36 (Nov. 18, 2020 aft.), 3419-24 (Nov. 24, 2020 eve.), 3503-13 (Nov. 25, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 3611-14 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020, with exceptions, and with section 6 taking effect January 1, 2021; SA 2020 c37 ]
Bill 39* — Child Care Licensing (Early Learning and Child Care) Amendment Act, 2020 (Schulz) First Reading — 2827 (Oct. 28, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2883-84 (Oct. 29, 2020 aft.), 2929-40 (Nov. 2, 2020 eve.), 2979-86 (Nov. 3, 2020 eve.), 3206-08 (Nov. 17, 2020 eve.), 3272-76 (Nov. 18, 2020 eve., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 3357-61 (Nov. 23, 2020 eve.), 3401-09 (Nov. 24, 2020 aft.), 3411-19 (Nov. 24, 2020 eve.), 3513-25 (Nov. 25, 2020 eve., passed with amendments)
Third Reading — 3685 (Dec. 1, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force February 1, 2021; SA 2020 c31 ]
Bill 40 — Forests (Growing Alberta’s Forest Sector) Amendment Act, 2020 (Dreeshen) First Reading — 2696 (Oct. 22, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2784-93 (Oct. 27, 2020 aft.), 2800-03 (Oct. 27, 2020 eve.), 2849-59 (Oct. 28, 2020 eve.), 2965-74 (Nov. 3, 2020 aft.), 3136-38 (Nov. 16, 2020 eve., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 3424-27 (Nov. 24, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 3606-11 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force May 1, 2021, with exceptions; SA 2020 c34 ]
Bill 41 — Insurance (Enhancing Driver Affordability and Care) Amendment Act, 2020 (Toews) First Reading — 2882 (Oct. 29, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 2915-24 (Nov. 2, 2020 eve.), 3011-23 (Nov. 4, 2020 aft.), 3051-58 (Nov. 4, 2020 eve.), 3164-73 (Nov. 17, 2020 aft.), 3255-65 (Nov. 18, 2020 eve.), 3276 (Nov. 18, 2020 eve., passed)
Committee of the Whole — 3679-85 (Dec. 1, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 3700-07 (Dec. 2, 2020 morn.), 3753-58 (Dec. 2, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020, except part of section 3, which has effect January 1, 2022; SA 2020 c36 ]
Bill 42 — North Saskatchewan River Basin Water Authorization Act (Nixon, JJ) First Reading — 2907 (Nov. 2, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3009-11 (Nov. 4, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3048-51 (Nov. 4, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 3072 (Nov. 5, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020; SA 2020 cN-3.6 ]
Bill 43 — Financing Alberta’s Strategic Transportation Act (McIver) First Reading — 2956 (Nov. 3, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3150-64 (Nov. 17, 2020 aft.), 3276-80 (Nov. 18, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3594-3605 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve.), 3687-3700 (Dec. 2, 2020 morn.), 3721-33 (Dec. 2, 2020 aft.), 3751-53 (Dec. 2, 2020 eve., passed)
Third Reading — 3784-88 (Dec. 3, 2020 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020; SA 2020 cF-13.5 ]
Bill 44 — Financial Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Toews) First Reading — 2956 (Nov. 3, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3115-21 (Nov. 16, 2020 eve.), 3354-57 (Nov. 23, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3591-93 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 3685 (Dec. 1, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020; SA 2020 c33 ]
Bill 45 — Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2) (Allard) First Reading — 3006 (Nov. 4, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3175-79 (Nov. 17, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3525-29 (Nov. 25, 2020 eve.), 3654-65 (Dec. 1, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 3685 (Dec. 1, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force January 1, 2021; SA 2020 c38 ]
Bill 46 — Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2) (Shandro) First Reading — 3071 (Nov. 5, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3176-92 (Nov. 17, 2020 eve.), 3342-54 (Nov. 23, 2020 eve.), 3459-65 (Nov. 25, 2020 morn.), 3614-22 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve.), 3675-76 (Dec. 1, 2020 aft.), 3788-93 (Dec. 3, 2020 aft., passed on division)
Committee of the Whole — 3823-34 (Dec. 7, 2020 eve.), 3853-60 (Dec. 8, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 3869 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve.), 3872-79 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020, with exceptions; SA 2020 c35 ]
Bill 47 — Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020 ($) (Copping) First Reading — 3070-71 (Nov. 5, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3192-206 (Nov. 17, 2020 eve.), 3236-45 (Nov. 18, 2020 aft.), 3367-73 (Nov. 24, 2020 morn.), 3427-41 (Nov. 24, 2020 eve.), 3445-59 (Nov. 25, 2020 morn.), 3622-28 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve.), 3630-42 (Dec. 1, 2020 morn.), 3743-51 (Dec. 2, 2020 eve., passed on division)
Committee of the Whole — 3763-70 (Dec. 3, 2020 morn.), 3893-3900 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve., passed on division) Third Reading — 3901-02 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve.), 3910-16 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on proclamation, with exceptions; SA 2020 c32 ]
Bill 48* — Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020 (No. 2) (Hunter) First Reading — 3096 (Nov. 16, 2020 aft, passed) Second Reading — 3247-55 (Nov. 18, 2020 eve.), 3387-98 (Nov. 24, 2020 aft.), 3441-43 (Nov. 24, 2020 eve., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3665-75 (Dec. 1, 2020 aft.), 3733-40 (Dec. 2, 2020 aft.), 3759-62 (Dec. 2, 2020 eve.), 3834-36 (Dec. 7, 2020 eve.), 3861-68 (Dec. 8, 2020 aft., passed on division)
Third Reading — 3869-70 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve.), 3879-86 (Dec. 8, 2020 eve., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force on December 9, 2020, with exceptions; SA 2020 c39 ]
Bill 50 — Appropriation (Supplementary Supply) Act, 2020 ($) (Toews) First Reading — 3502 (Nov. 25, 2020 aft., passed) Second Reading — 3545-52 (Nov. 26, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3587-91 (Nov. 30, 2020 eve., passed) Third Reading — 3677-79 (Dec. 1, 2020 eve.), 3685 (Dec. 1, 2020 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020; SA 2020 c29 ]
Bill 51 — Citizen Initiative Act (Madu) First Reading — 4058 (Mar. 16, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4340-41 (Apr. 7, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 52 — Recall Act (Madu) First Reading — 4028-29 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft., passed)
Bill 53 — Service Alberta Statutes (Virtual Meetings) Amendment Act, 2021 (Glubish) First Reading — 3971 (Mar. 9, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4043-44 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft.), 4129-30 (Mar. 18, 2021 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 4245-49 (Mar. 24, 2021 eve., passed) Third Reading — 4252-53 (Mar. 24, 2021 eve., passed) Royal Assent — (Mar. 26, 2021 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force August 15, 2020, except for section 5, which comes into force March 26, 2021; SA 2021 c4 ]
Bill 54 — Irrigation Districts Amendment Act, 2021 (Dreeshen) First Reading — 3992 (Mar. 10, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4212-14 (Mar. 24, 2021 aft., adjourned), 4291-4302 (Apr. 6, 2021 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 4361-66 (Apr. 7, 2021 eve., passed) Third Reading — 4396-99 (Apr. 8, 2021 aft., passed)
Bill 55 — College of Alberta School Superintendents Act (LaGrange) First Reading — 3979 (Mar. 9, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4044-45 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft.), 4107-10 (Mar. 17, 2021 aft.), 4302-08 (Apr. 6, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 56 — Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 (McIver) First Reading — 4005 (Mar. 11, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4045 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft.), 4309-17 (Apr. 6, 2021 aft.), 4342-60 (Apr. 7, 2021 aft.), 4367-82 (Apr. 7, 2021 eve.), 4400-04 (Apr. 8, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 57 — Metis Settlements Amendment Act, 2021 (Wilson) First Reading — 4005 (Mar. 11, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4045-46 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 58 — Freedom to Care Act (Aheer) First Reading — 4180 (Mar. 23, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4214-15 (Mar. 24, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 59 — Appropriation (Supplementary Supply) Act, 2021 ($) (Toews) First Reading — 4083 (Mar. 16, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4099-4102 (Mar. 17, 2021 aft.), 4110-15 (Mar. 17, 2021 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 4130-38 (Mar. 18, 2021 aft., passed) Third Reading — 4215-20 (Mar. 24, 2021 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Mar. 26, 2021 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force March 26, 2021; SA 2021 c2 ]
Bill 60 — Appropriation Act, 2021 ($) (Toews) First Reading — 4099 (Mar. 17, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4180-99 (Mar. 23, 2021 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 4220-33 (Mar. 24, 2021 aft.), 4249-52 (Mar. 24, 2021 eve., passed) Third Reading — 4268-76 (Mar. 25, 2021 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Mar. 26, 2021 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force March 26, 2021; SA 2021 c1 ]
Bill 61 — Vital Statistics Amendment Act, 2021 (Glubish) First Reading — 4150 (Mar. 22, 2021 aft., passed) Second Reading — 4341-42 (Apr. 7, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 62 — Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2021 (Hunter) First Reading — 4393-94 (Apr. 8, 2021 aft., passed)
Bill 63 — Police (Street Checks and Carding) Amendment Act, 2021 (Madu) First Reading — 4340 (Apr. 7, 2021 aft., passed)
Bill 65 — Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 (Shandro) First Reading — 4394 (Apr. 8, 2021 aft., passed)
Bill 201 — Strategic Aviation Advisory Council Act (Gotfried) First Reading — 62 (Feb. 27, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 136 (Mar. 5, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly)
Second Reading — 914-26 (Jun. 1, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 1156-61 (Jun. 8, 2020 aft.), 1337-47 (Jun. 15, 2020 aft, passed) Third Reading — 1514-22 (Jun. 22, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Jun. 26, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 31, 2020; SA 2020 cS-19.8 ]
Bill 202 — Conflicts of Interest (Protecting the Rule of Law) Amendment Act, 2020 (Ganley) First Reading — 136 (Mar. 5, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 1149-56 (Jun. 2, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly;), 1156 (Jun. 8, 2020 aft., not proceeded with on division)
Bill 203 — Pension Protection Act (Gray) First Reading — 1148 (Jun. 8, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 1839 (Jul. 8, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly; not proceeded with)
Bill 204 — Voluntary Blood Donations Repeal Act (Yao) First Reading — 1839 (Jul. 8, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 2288 (Jul. 22, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly)
Second Reading — 2379-93 (Jul. 27, 2020 aft., passed on division) Committee of the Whole — 2720-33 (Oct. 26, 2020 aft.), 2908-09 (Nov. 2, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 3096-3103 (Nov. 16, 2020 aft., passed on divison) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020; SA 2020 c41 ]
Bill 205* — Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month Act (Singh) First Reading — 2718 (Oct. 26, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 3070 (Nov. 5, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly)
Second Reading — 3103-08 (Nov. 16, 2020 aft.), 3307-14 (Nov. 23, 2020 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3813-14 (Dec. 7, 2020 aft.), 3948-59 (Mar. 8, 2021 aft.), 4036-37 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 4158-64 (Mar. 22, 2021 aft., passed on division) Royal Assent — (Mar. 26, 2021 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force January 1, 2021; SA 2021 cG-5.4 ]
Bill 206 — Property Rights Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (Glasgo) First Reading — 2827 (Oct. 28, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 3223-24 (Nov. 18, 2020 aft, reported to Assembly)
Second Reading — 3314-21 (Nov. 23, 2020 aft.), 4037-42 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft., adjourned)
Bill 207 — Reservists' Recognition Day Act (Rutherford) First Reading — 3224 (Nov. 18, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 3719 (Dec. 2, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly)
Bill 208 — Alberta Investment Management Corporation Amendment Act, 2020 (Phillips) First Reading — 3782 (Dec. 3, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 4005 (Mar. 11, 2021 aft., reported to Assembly; debate on concurrence motion to take place Monday, March 15, 2021), 4029-36 (Mar. 15, 2021 aft., not proceeded with on division)
Bill 209 — Cost of Public Services Transparency Act (Stephan) First Reading — 3806-07 (Dec. 7, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 4005 (Mar. 11, 2021 aft., reported to Assembly)
Bill 211* — Municipal Government (Firearms) Amendment Act, 2020 (Glasgo) First Reading — 3849 (Dec. 8, 2020 aft., passed), 3930 (Feb. 25, 2021 aft., moved to Government Bills and Orders) Second Reading — 4006-15 (Mar. 11, 2021 aft.), 4102-07 (Mar. 17, 2021 aft., passed) Committee of the Whole — 4326-28 (Apr. 6, 2021 aft., passed with amendments) Third Reading — 4399-4400 (Apr. 8, 2021 aft., passed on division)
Bill 212 — Official Sport of Alberta Act (Yaseen) First Reading — 3849 (Dec. 8, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 4088 (Mar. 17, 2021 aft., reported to Assembly;), 4151-58 (Mar. 22, 2021 aft., proceeded with on division)
Bill 213 — Traffic Safety (Maximum Speed Limit for Provincial Freeways) Amendment Act, 2021 (Turton) First Reading — 3992 (Mar. 10, 2021 aft., passed), 4179 (Mar. 23, 2021 aft., reported to Assembly)
Bill 214 — Eastern Slopes Protection Act (Notley) First Reading — 4340 (Apr. 7, 2021 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Public Members' Private Bills)
Bill Pr1 — The Sisters of the Precious Blood of Edmonton Repeal Act (Williams) First Reading — 1125 (Jun. 4, 2020 aft., passed; referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills), 3292 (Nov. 19, 2020 aft., reported to Assembly)
Second Reading — 3629-30 (Dec. 1, 2020 morn., passed) Committee of the Whole — 3740 (Dec. 2, 2020 aft., passed) Third Reading — 3740-41 (Dec. 2, 2020 aft., passed) Royal Assent — (Dec. 9, 2020 outside of House sitting) [Comes into force December 9, 2020; SA 2020 c42 ]
Table of Contents
Prayers ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4383
Members’ Statements Government Members’ Remarks on COVID-19 ................................................................................................................................. 4383 Economic Indicators ............................................................................................................................................................................ 4383 Civil Society Fund ............................................................................................................................................................................... 4383 Educational Curriculum Redesign ....................................................................................................................................................... 4384 Educational Curriculum Redesign ....................................................................................................................................................... 4384 Autism ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 4384 COVID-19 Vaccine Procurement ........................................................................................................................................................ 4384 Natural Resource Development Policies ............................................................................................................................................. 4385 Educational Curriculum Redesign ....................................................................................................................................................... 4385
Oral Question Period Government Members’ Remarks on COVID-19 ............................................................................................................. 4385, 4386, 4388 Educational Curriculum Redesign ............................................................................................................................................. 4386, 4391 Coal Development Policy Consultation ............................................................................................................................................... 4388 Support for Persons and Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19 .................................................................................................... 4389 Road Conditions in Lesser Slave Lake Constituency .......................................................................................................................... 4389 Restaurant Online Ordering and Delivery Fees ................................................................................................................................... 4390 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards ...................................................................................................................................................... 4391 Eastern Slopes Protection and Coal Development Policies ................................................................................................................. 4392 COVID-19 Outbreak at Cargill Canada ............................................................................................................................................... 4392 Red Deer Homeless Shelter Project ..................................................................................................................................................... 4393
Notices of Motions ................................................................................................................................................................................... 4393
Introduction of Bills Bill 62 Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2021 .................................................................................................................. 4393 Bill 65 Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 ............................................................................................................................... 4394
Motions under Standing Order 42 COVID-19 Related Public Health Orders ............................................................................................................................................ 4396
Orders of the Day ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 4396
Government Bills and Orders Third Reading
Bill 54 Irrigation Districts Amendment Act, 2021 ..................................................................................................................... 4396 Bill 211 Municipal Government (Firearms) Amendment Act, 2020 ............................................................................................ 4399
Division ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 4400 Second Reading ................................................................................................................................................................................... 4400
Bill 56 Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 ............................................................................................................ 4400
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