By Ron Orr, MLA Lacombe-Ponoka
Once again the NDP government continues with an aggressive batch of legislation that will affect all Albertans, and mostly without adequate consultation. As in all legislation there are positive and negative factors to be considered.
The first Bill this fall was Bill 19 – An Act to Protect Gas and Convenience Store Workers. Five convenience store and gas workers were killed and three seriously injured between 2015 and 2017. I voted in support of this bill because its measures will protect employees, prevent theft of fuel and create a level playing field for all retailers. This bill will require customers to pre-pay for fuel, and require gas stations and convenience store employers to develop and implement violence prevention plans by June 1, 2018.
Then we supported Bill 20 – Beaver River Basin Water Authorization Act – which does not affect Lacombe-Ponoka.
Bill 21 – Agencies, Boards and Commissions Review Statutes Amendment Act was purported to implement phase 3 of the government’s ABC review which was supposed to tackle executive compensation, roles, mandates and governance excellence in public post-secondary institutions. It didn’t. It mysteriously dissolved into a wrap up from phase 1 and 2 in which 56 agencies were amalgamated or dissolved. The goal of the review was to save $33 million. We will watch the budget to be sure that it actually does.
Bill 22 – Resident and Family Councils Act guaranteed residents of long-term and licensed supportive care facilities the right to establish self-governing councils. With a few concerns about the bill I supported it.
Next, we supported Bill 23 – Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act. This bill ensures that “age” will be read into the Alberta Human Rights Act as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the sections regarding goods, services, accommodation, facilities and tenancy. Seniors condos were exempted after strong lobbing and so will continue.
We did not support Bill 24. We believe that there is nothing more important than protecting children, and do not believe in outing kids, however, we believe that using the blunt instrument of the law to force the exclusion of loving parents from the children’s lives is not the best way to protect them.
We supported Bill 25 – Regulated Forestry Professions Amendment Act. This bill merges of two professional forester bodies into a single organization.
The house is currently still debating Bill 26 – An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis, Bill 27 – Conflicts of Interest Amendment Act, 2017, Bill 28 – The School Amendment Act, 2017 was just introduced, and we are still debating Bill 29 – An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol Impaired Driving.
The week of Nov 20-26 is Constituency Week. The House resumes on Nov 27 with night sittings until we adjourn for Christmas.
If you have any concerns regarding provincial legislation or service, please contact me at my constituency office. I would like to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!