Today, Lieutenant Governor, Lois Mitchell delivered her second throne speech in less than a year for her still relatively new United Conservative Party (UCP) Government led by Premier Jason Kenney. Approximately one month after the UCP won a majority government on April 19, 2019, Lieutenant Governor Mitchell delivered her first throne speech laying out her government's priorities for the spring and fall sitting of the 2019 legislative sessions. Her first speech from the throne also provided insights into some of the priorities of the spring sitting of 2020 - including a package of democratic reforms which was further outlined in today's speech.
After nearly nine months of introducing and passing dozens of new pieces of legislation, Premier Kenney felt it was time to lay the vision for a new legislative direction that included following through on several more pieces of legislation whose genesis could be traced back to the UCP's 2019 election platform.
Today's speech from the throne laid out ambitious plans and continuations for the upcoming session in light of what seems to be an endless supply of big news stories over the past few weeks such as physician contracts, Alberta court of appeal decision on the federal carbon tax, the Teck Resources cancellation of the Frontier oil sands project and railway blockades to name a few. Nonetheless, two overarching priorities emerged in the throne speech:
Priority #1 Getting Alberta Back to Work
A $6.4 Billion commitment to Alberta's Capital Plan.
Bill 1: A Critical Infrastructure Defence Act to protect critical infrastructure from blockades, protest and illegal activity.
A focus on restoring investor confidence by making Alberta "the freest, fastest-moving and lowest-taxed province."
Priority #2 Getting the Government's Fiscal House in Order
Overall reduction in spending over 4 years by less than 2.8%.
Maintaining or increasing budgets for health care, education, community and social services and children's services.
Additional announcements made in the speech worth noting, include:
Several democratic reform efforts including a citizen initiative act, a recall act, fixed election dates, and donor contribution limits.
Amendments to the Constitutional Referendum Act and the Alberta Senate Elections Act. Introduction of a choice in education act.
Other legislation related to the release of the fair deal panel report after March 31, 2020.
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