Alberta MLAs are headed back to work later than expected. The spring session in the legislature was scheduled to begin February 9. It's now been bumped to start on March 8.
This amounts to a grand total of 38 sitting days for the entire spring session and 54 sitting days for all of 2016, far less than Ontario, Quebec, BC and Saskatchewan.
What are they going to cram into this short session? Well, there is a throne speech and budget, the carbon tax, the results of the long delayed royalty review, a mental health report, occupational health and safety regulations around the farm unionization law, Bill 6, the Municipal Government Act and the Education Act.
These are huge, sweeping pieces of legislation that demand time for adequate debate.
Silencing debate is becoming standard operating procedure for the NDP. They invoked closure, a parliamentary tool to limit and end debate, on Bill 6 once people figured out what was actually in that bill. The longer time spent on debate, the more scrutiny the NDP get. What are they trying to hide?
Rachel Notley, when she sat in opposition, used to chide the Progressive Conservatives for their lack of session days, exclaiming that the PCs took the legislative assembly for granted. How quickly Notley turned into Redford.
Why aren't the NDP eager to head back to work to find ways to stem the massive jobs losses and discourage the mass evacuation of capital in the Alberta energy sector?
This is the worst recession to hit Alberta in a generation, since the darkest days of Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Program, and the NDP are deciding to work less to solve the problem. If anything constituted an emergency session in the legislature, the economic meltdown in Alberta should be it. It makes one wonder if they really want to solve the problem at all.
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