COLUMN: MLA Ron Orr – Update from the Legislature

The fall legislative session concluded last week; all MLAs are back in their constituencies

Ron Orr/UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka

The fall legislative session concluded last week; all MLAs are back in their constituencies.

We are not sure what to expect for a spring session or if there will even be one. Last week, our Leader, Jason Kenney called for an Alberta Election at the earliest opportunity under Alberta’s fixed-date election law. We want Albertans to have their say before another disastrous budget is dropped.

One of the most important issues raised in the house was the oil price differential and the huge challenge that creates for Alberta. Thankfully, all parties in the house supported the required action of production curtailment and the price for our oil has already begun to improve.

Here is a brief summary of the bills passed in the house:

  • Bill 22 – An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities, We opposed and offered amendments. The government decided to accept our amendment which incorporated Serenities law. This bill intends to improve things for “children in social services care” but falls far short.
  • Bill 23 – An Act to Renew Local Democracy in Alberta; this rewrites the rules for municipal elections. We opposed this Bill and offered amendments.
  • Bill 24 – An Act to Recognize AMA Representation Rights was opposed by our Caucus. It makes the Alberta Medical Association the negotiation body for all physicians in the province, similar to that of a union. We heard from many physicians saying that they were not consulted: some doctors were in favour some not.
  • Bill 25 – Canyon Creek Hydro Development Act we supported. Turning Point Generation received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission for a Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Project.
  • Bill 26 – An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities was supported by our Caucus. This Bill provides a one-time “catch-up” increase to financial supports for recipients of AISH, Income Supports, Alberta Seniors Benefit, and supportive living and lodges subsidy. Future supports will be indexed to inflation.
  • Bill 27 – Joint Governance of Public Sector Pension Plans Act was supported by our Caucus. This Bill creates a joint governance model for Alberta’s three largest public sector pension plans.
  • Bill 28 – Family Statues Amendment Act was also supported by our Caucus. This legislation makes the division of property, when common-law couples break up, the same as for married couples. It also removes the age cap of 22 years for child support if the child relies of their parents for various reasons.
  • Bill 29 – Public Service Employee Relations Amendment Act, 2018 we opposed. This Bill made 3 major changes that are all related to Labour Relations and effectively make things more expensive for government.
  • Bill 30 – The Mental Health Services Protection Act we supported. This Bill requires licensing of residential addictions treatment centres and it creates a professional association; the College of Counselling Therapy.
  • Bill 31 – Miscellaneous Statues Amendment Act, 2018 made simple amendments to a few Acts that legislators are required to review every few years.
  • Bill 32 – City Charters Fiscal Framework Act was supported, with questions. It outlines a funding formula for the two largest cities.

Please contact me at my constituency office if you have any concerns that you would like to bring to my attention. Donna and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Ron Orr MLA, Lacombe-Ponoka

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