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NDP, UCP lay out post-election legislative agendas for Alberta

Alberta’s top two contending parties have laid out their legislative agendas post-election, with bills targeting affordability for residents of the province taking top spots as Bill 1.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley spoke to the media in Calgary on May 25, outlining her party’s first three bills should the NDP win a majority after Monday’s election.

Bill 1 would be the Save Albertans’ Money Act, with a goal of reducing auto-insurance and utility costs, tuition, and the implantation of the party’s $10-a-day daycare plan. That bill would be followed by Bill 2 called the Investment Certainty Act, which would repeal the Alberta Sovereignty Act and introduce tax credits for corporations while eliminating the province’s small business tax.

Bill 3, the Pension Protection Act, would make it more difficult for future governments to switch pension plans from the Canadian Pension Plan to one run by the provincial government.

“There’s a number of different pieces to our affordability proposal. Some of it can be done without legislation, some of it can be done by regulation, and some of it does need legislation, which is why we will make that our bill one,” said Notley.

The bills, she said, would be brought forward during a summer session.

“We haven’t actually set a date, but we absolutely are committing that we would get this done this summer,” Notley said.

NDP to consult with public servants before deciding on new budget or supply bills

Notley said that the party was also looking at the provincial budget, and would be looking to speak with senior public servants to determine whether they would need to propose a new budget bill or to bring forth supply bill legislation.

She said that other proposals made during the campaign for bills addressing health care and anti-racism action in the province would come later, following consultation with affected groups.

“There’s a lot of stuff that we’re really keen on doing, and it will really depend on how quickly we can get into the house and how long we want to stay there. Obviously, those matters are fundamentally important to us,” Notley said.

“I would expect to see that more likely in the fall just to make sure that we really are engaging with communities who would benefit from that legislation.”

Proposed legislation she said to prevent future coal mining of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies could be passed faster.

“That could well be something we also see in the summer for sure because we are pretty black and white on that, and as you know, we’ve drafted that legislation at least twice and brought it into the house at least twice.”

Danielle Smith speaks to reporters during a press conference at Hotel Arts in Calgary on May 24, 2023, with candidate Astrid Kuhn in the background. DARREN KRAUSE / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

UCP to launch Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act as Bill 1 if elected

The United Conservative Party promised to bring in the Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act as Bill 1 if the party retains government after the election.

The party said that bill would make it a requirement for a provincial referendum to pass any tax increases for individuals or corporations in the province and would prevent the addition of a provincial sales tax.

“This legislation will ensure no government can increase your personal taxes or taxes on job creators without approval from Albertans through a referendum,” said UCP leader Danielle Smith.

“The way we’re going to structure this act is that we can always reduce tax rates and we don’t need to have a referendum for that.”

The party said that they would be committing to legislation to make larger tax cuts for Albertans who make less than $60,000 per year, alongside more general tax cuts for all other Albertans.

They said they would also be introducing their own affordability measures, including 25 per cent reductions for seniors on camping and personal registry fees, and extending the elimination of the Alberta fuel tax until the end of the year.

The UCP did not say whether these actions would be introduced by legislation, or through a regulatory process.