Salma Lakhani, Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor, delivered the Speech from the Throne on Monday afternoon to open the inaugural session of the 31st legislature, the first full sitting since the provincial election on May 29th, 2023.
The Throne Speech is intended to give a broad outline of the government’s goals and priorities. The theme this time was empowering Alberta’s future and outlined the government’s intent to grow the economy, protect law-abiding Albertans, improve health care, and defend provincial interests from federal interference.
Government House leader, Joseph Schow, has said there will be between seven to nine bills introduced in the Assembly in the upcoming sitting, which will run until early December. Bill 1 will be the Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act, which is intended to protect individuals and businesses against future tax hikes without approval from Albertans in a referendum. The Act was first introduced by Premier Ralph Klein in 1995, and currently only prohibits the introduction of a provincial sales tax without the public’s consent through a referendum.
The United Conservative Party (UCP) government says it will introduce legislation to create the legal framework for a potential Alberta Pension Plan (APP). Earlier this month, Premier Danielle Smith said the bill will have four parts:
- A guarantee that transferred pension assets would stay in the plan;
- Benefits would be better or equal to those of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP);
- Contributions would be the same or less compared to the CPP; and
- An APP must be approved by a provincewide vote.
More recently, the Premier committed there would be no referendum without a “hard number” of what assets Alberta could extract from the CPP.
The legislative session will also offer an opportunity for the UCP government to introduce a motion to enact the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act (i.e. the Sovereignty Act) in response to proposed draft regulations from the federal government to achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.
Across the floor, the NDP opposition, led by Rachel Notley, will have a chance in this legislative session to showcase their expanded caucus of 38 MLA caucus, the largest opposition in Alberta’s history. In advance of the opening of the legislature, the NDP released their own list of priorities, which included addressing high auto insurance rates, rising electricity costs, post-secondary tuition hikes, and housing affordability.
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For more information and insights about what these developments mean for Alberta’s political landscape, please contact:
Elysa Darling – Senior Strategy Advisor
Richard Feehan – Senior Strategy Advisor
Rick Fraser – Senior Strategy Advisor
Colleen Potter – Senior Strategy Advisor
Mat Steppan – Senior Strategy Advisor
Jeff Sterzuk – President
Ben Thibault – Senior Strategy Advisor
Richard Truscott – Vice-President
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