Jobs, economy, COVID-19 to be focus for Alberta government in fall legislature sitting

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The Alberta government has planned a busy legislature aimed at adding jobs and diversifying the economy while focusing on mitigating the renewed surge of COVID-19.

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Government House leader Jason Nixon says this would include proposed legislation on recognizing professional credentials to address the labor shortage. Premier Jason Kenney will present the bill.

“Our focus will be on Alberta’s workforce, some bills to diversify the economy, a bigger focus on building the infrastructure for our future,[and]increasing our resources, especially,” Nixon said in an interview Friday. From on the energy side.”

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There will also be a new initiative on environmental protection and conservation.

Nixon said there would be 18 to 20 bills for the meeting, which begins on Monday and runs through the first week of December.

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“It’s a very strong decline agenda,” he said.

Nixon said the government would continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 cases, which have put severe strain on the health system.

No COVID-19-specific bills are planned, he said, noting that they were passed in previous meetings.

“Surely there is other stuff to be done to manage the pandemic? But we will be prepared if Alberta Health needs to pass a law to deal with the pandemic. “

He said the debate in the chamber is expected to return to normalcy.

In the spring, both the United Conservative government and the opposition NDP reduced their numbers in the chamber to contain the spread of the virus.

This time, with all members of the NDP and all but one from the UCP being vaccinated, everyone will be allowed to go back to the debate.

Nixon said the lone member of the UCP has a medical exemption and will be tested regularly.

He said that there are still rules for wearing masks and members will try to maintain distance where possible.

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The NDP said it plans to hold the government accountable for being catastrophically wrong on COVID-19.

NDP House Leader Christina Gray said: “This fall of the legislature will be laser-focused on getting answers from UCP as to why they have failed Albertans so badly in managing the devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.” ” .

“Since July 15, more than 85,000 additional Albertans have been infected with the virus and 700 have died.”

Gray said the NDP would call for an all-party investigation into the government’s handling of the pandemic, with the power to coerce documents and testimony.

Nixon said the government would not agree to such a proposal. He said it would be wrong to redeploy critical health resources right now and Kenny has promised a final review of how the province handled the pandemic.

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Kenny has also promised to ratify the results of Monday’s statewide referendum on Canada’s equities program and bring a motion to act.

The final results are not from Edmonton, but figures from Calgary and other cities show that the referendum will pass with nearly 60 percent in support of urging the federal government to remove the principle of equality from the Constitution.

Kenny has said that the issue is not about removing parity, something that no province can do unilaterally, but about getting a better deal with Ottawa to negotiate other issues surrounding federal transfers. It’s about taking advantage.

Political scientist Jared Wesley said that Kenny would likely continue to focus on initiatives such as the equality referendum, if only to change the narrative on his low popularity rating.

“Premier will spend most of his time out-of-province, out-of-province, saying anything about stumping,” said Wesley, with the University of Alberta.

COVID-19 numbers have been trending down in recent weeks. But Kenny and the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Dina Hinshaw, say the situation remains uncertain.

On Friday, Alberta had more than 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. And 191 COVID-19 patients were in intensive care.

Alberta’s fourth-wave troubles began when Kenney lifted nearly all COVID-19 related health restrictions by July 1, claiming the pandemic had moved into an “endemic” phase and planning for a renewed case surge. There was no need to create.

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