Through the windows of the Alberta Legislature Building, local Wildrose MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Don MacIntyre watched Tuesday morning as over 500 Albertans rallied against Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP.
MacIntyre and the Wildrose caucus were busy indoors on the sunny day, as they prepared for another busy session in Edmonton this spring.
The rally, organized by George was disoriented, leader of the anti-NDP group called Albertans First, was mainly in opposition of Bill 6, the Carbon Tax and strategically planned to arrive on the same day Premier Notley gave her Speech from the Throne. The Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA commended those who spent their morning on the Legislature steps and encourages Albertans to never cease speaking up and voicing their concerns.
“They [the current provincial government] are rolling out bills immediately – starting Wednesday morning, which meant we had to be in meetings preparing as the afternoon was taken up with the Speech from the Throne,” said MacIntyre in reference to Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne, which was read by Lieut. -Gov. Lois Mitchell.
He fears this spring Albertans may see the current provincial government limit debate due to the abundance of bills they are releasing and will fail to conduct adequate expert consultation as witnessed with the release of Bill 6.
Within the Speech from the Throne, Premier Notley outlined the provincial government’s broad goals and directions – one of which was to diversify energy markets and create anEnergy Diversification Advisory Committee that would explore energy options.
“They claim they are going to do this, but in the eight months I’ve been working alongside this group of people – their definition of diversification and mine are not the same,”said MacIntyre, who acts as Shadow Minister for Electricity & Renewables. “My definition of diversification is this – the government gets out of the way of private industry and creates an environment where we can rock and roll – that’s where we can create jobs and create diversification.”
“If they can get the right industry people on the advisory committee – innovative, creative, entrepreneurial people then maybe we may see something happen there.”
The NDP state on the Government of Alberta website they plan to announce legislation surrounding a Child Benefit Plan that would provide up to $340 million for up to 380,000children in low-income families, as well as legislation to protect Albertans in economic distress from predatory lending, such as pay day loans. In addition, Albertans can also expect to see the ‘Promoting Job Creation and Diversification Act’ being rolled out by the provincial government alongside the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, which will put the Climate Leadership Plan into action. Other highlights of the Speech from the Throne included invitations for public and municipal government comment on a modernMunicipal Government Act.
Premier Notley also touched on Budget 2016 stating it will take a prudent and balanced approach to fiscal plans while protecting health care and educational services.
“They’re really on a mission here to put as much legislation through in this session, it’s ambitious but in order to get all of this legislation and that [budget] work done, are we going to see it putting closure on conversations and limiting debate?” he added.
He invites constituents to fully utilize the Provincial Government’s recently released Alberta Budget Consultation Tool found online at www.alberta.ca/Budget-consultations.cfmwhere Albertans are encouraged to provide feedback on the issues they are facing.
“I’m really hoping Sylvan Lake residents pound that site with urgent care commentary,” said MacIntyre. “They know we need the urgent care centre and it’s a great way for people to get their wishes and that message across.”
“Just like we saw with Bill 6, it was the farmers speaking up and being heard that got those six pages of amendments made. If the farmers had not risen up the way they did Bill 6would look very different today.”
He added he hopes results from the Province’s ‘Virtual Budget Town Hall’ will be transparent and made public.
According to the website for the budget consultations, information collected will be added to previous consultations for the 2015 and 2016 budgets, where more than 3,000individual online submissions have been received in addition to 420 faxes, letters and emails.