Insights and Analysis

Alberta’s Throne Speech Charts the Way Forward

Lieutenant-Governor Salma Lakhani delivered the Alberta Government’s Speech from the Throne in the legislature this afternoon. The Speech outlines the government’s broad goals and direction for the coming legislative session.

The Speech also signals the start of third session of the 30th legislature, which is expected to see at least two dozen pieces of legislation tabled, including the introduction of a natural gas rebate program to address cost-of-living pressures for consumers.

The other highlights of the 2022 Speech from the Throne include:

  • Continue to implement the Alberta Recovery Plan and create jobs.
  • Build health care capacity so hospitals are better prepared for potential future waves of COVID-19.
  • Accelerate the Alberta Surgical Initiative to reduce surgical wait times caused by COVID-19.
  • Strengthen protection for Alberta students by ending the conflict of interest that allows the Alberta Teachers’ Association to investigate its own members.
  • Expand school choice by creating more charter schools and improving support for existing charters.
  • Increase prenatal financial aid to mothers receiving AISH and Income Support.
  • Implement recommendations to improve palliative care.
  • Introduce new legislation to:

o          Modernize the electricity market, allow more self-generation, and eliminate the Balancing Pool,

o          Better protect the public from individuals on bail, probation, and parole,

o          Reform and modernize the financial services sector by allowing reinsurance,

o          Achieve the goal of eliminating one-third of the provincial government’s r    egulatory burden, and

o          Enact the recommendations from the Police Act Review and the Human Trafficking Task Force.

Next up, the provincial government’s annual budget will be unveiled on Thursday afternoon and lay out it’s spending priorities for the upcoming 2022-23 fiscal year. The big questions are whether the provincial books are back to a surplus position, and how the government intends to use the gusher of energy royalties from high oil and gas prices to support the post-COVID economic recovery.

The next few months are shaping up to be a highly political period. The government is expected to soon release a report about Albertan’s views on expanding coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

In addition, Premier Kenney faces his own political challenges as well, including a byelection in the Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche riding where the UCP candidate, Brian Jean, has openly stated he will work to unseat the leader. The Premier also faces an internal party leadership review on April 9th in Red Deer.

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