The Fall Session of the Legislature began on October 31. The NDP government began with little to no legislation at the beginning of Session, but used their majority to successfully ram significant bills with hundreds of pages in new laws through the Assembly in the last few days.
The United Conservative Official Opposition presented numerous amendments to try to improve NDP legislation, including attempts to send bills to Standing Committees to allow for Albertans to come to the Legislature and have direct input into these far-reaching laws. Some were significantly ill-conceived: Bill 24 undermines parent-child and parent-teacher relationships. Bill 31 likens veterinarians to loan sharks and ticket scalpers. Bill 33 changes electoral divisions giving 3 less seats to rural Alberta and 3 more seats to urban Alberta. Residency rules are considerably different. It is now possible for people arriving just days before an election to legally vote by getting a ‘friend’ who is a resident and on the voters list to vouch for them.
In addition to 16 bills presented by the government, Opposition Members presented 12 bills for consideration, of which 6 UCP bills were passed: Bill 202 Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act, Bill 210 Missing Persons (Silver Alert) Amendment Act, and Bill 206 Child, Youth and Family Enhancement (Adoption Advertising) Amendment Act. The full list of bills and their status can be viewed at: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=bills_statusarchive
The Spring Session due to begin in February may look more like an election campaign. In all of the last nine polls Albertans continue to give the NDP a failing grade, and as the 2019 election looms on the horizon we can expect the NDP to try to appease disgruntled Albertans with their own tax money. A hard sell given that on January 1st all forms of energy will cost more as the carbon tax increases by 50%.
Although there’s bad news in politics, there’s still good news to remember this time of year. We are Albertans, living in the best place on earth, and Christmas is here with God’s message of hope and love toward us all. My family and I, and my staff, thank you for your support this past year. Let’s continue to practice the Christmas message of hope and good will toward our neighbours and friends as we help each other through 2018!
Don MacIntyre, MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake