Premier Rachel Notley is proud of the accomplishments the NDP government has made during the spring legislative session.
The two-week session wrapped up last Thursday and now over the summer break, the government will be preparing the new provincial budget for the fall.
“I’m incredibly proud to be standing here today as the head of a new government that truly cares about making life better for Alberta families,” she began her address on Friday. “I think we all can agree that this was a session like none before. There was a noted change in tone in the House.”
Since being sworn-in last month, the government has made progress and reversed many decisions put into motion by the former PC government, she said.
“We began with a cabinet that was made up of an equal number of women and men who met at the Legislature,” said Notley. “The Government of Alberta apologized for the failure of our province’s elected officials to act on what was happening to Alberta children in residential schools and called for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.”
Legislation was passed in Bill 1 that put a ban on corporate and union donations during an election period.
“This effort was supported unanimously in the house,” she said. “An all-party committee will now work to thoughtfully and transparently further renew democracy and accountability in Alberta.”
The waiting room tax was cancelled, allowing 93% of Albertans to pay less under the NDP plan said Notley. “Alberta’s health providers, hospitals and clinics were spared from a chaotic $1.1 billion dollar budget cutback and yet another AHS reorganization,” she stated. “Twelve thousand new students entering our school system next fall will have the tools they need to get the best start possible through a budget adjustment universally welcomed by school boards across the province.”
Tuition was frozen for the next two years and funding was restored to child support services under the umbrella of Human Services.
A review of climate change policy was also launched by the NDP government, followed by a royalty review and minimum wage increase plan.
Notley said she was very proud of the multiple steps taken to remove ‘big money’ out of provincial politics. “We are building the plane while we are flying it, because we really didn’t have much of a transition into government and that’s why I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as we become airborne,” she said.
Wildrose Opposition Leader Brian Jean stated that his party successfully amended Bill 1 and put forward many positive ideas to strengthen small businesses.
“Our strong team of Wildrose MLAs proved we are more effective, responsible and constructive than ever before,” said Jean last Thursday. “We will continue to stand up for Albertans and put forward positive ideas that benefit Albertans. I’m proud of what we accomplished and look forward to helping the government by proposing positive policy solutions and exposing dangers in parts of the NDPs’ economic agenda.”
Jean noted the NDP government failed to be transparent with the millions of dollars in new spending passed in the NDP mini-budget.
“The NDP were expecting a blank cheque on several of their new spending measures,” he said. “Albertans expect better than having billions of new spending announced without any facts or figures to back them up.”
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr brought forward the question of the need of a registry office in Blackfalds last Monday.
“It’s unacceptable that a town of 8,000 people doesn’t have a registry office,” he said. “The Town wants and needs it, and we have entrepreneurs willing to invest, but layers of bureaucracy are standing in the way.”
He suggested an immediate review of the rules regarding registry offices through Service Alberta.