Government charges ahead as it hits 100-day milestone

Premier Kenney recaps promises made, and promises kept during the government’s first 100 days in office.

The new Indigenous Litigation Fund means groups that include Indigenous people can now apply for a grant to help with legal matters when advancing Alberta’s energy and natural resource development interests.

“This fund is yet another component of our Fight Back Strategy to stand up against the foreign-funded special interests landlocking Alberta energy. Indigenous peoples who favour energy development are often left out of the conversation, and this fund will help defend their right to be consulted on major projects and ensure their voices are heard too.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

Funding can be used to support a variety of legal actions, including researching positions, developing motions, participating in trials and appeals, or intervening in processes and legal actions.

The litigation fund, along with the creation of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation, is part of the government’s vision to help shape a better future for Indigenous people in Alberta.

The fund’s introduction is one of 68 commitments the Alberta government has met in its first 100 days. Out of 375 commitments, the Alberta government has already completed 58, and a further 10 are underway.

Backgrounder: Promises made, promises kept

In reaching its 100-day milestone, Alberta’s new government has focussed on jobs and the economy, standing up for Alberta and making life better for all Albertans.

Over the course of the summer, the province:

  • Hosted and participated in important national meetings to bring the issues that matter most to Albertans to the forefront of the national agenda, including the:
    • Western Premiers’ Conference, chaired by Premier Kenney, which led to shared support for national resource corridors to facilitate oil and gas pipelines and to improve interprovincial trade.
    • Stampede Premiers’ meeting, where a coalition of Canadian jurisdictions met to discuss improving market access for Canadian products and creating jobs.
    • Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon, where Premier Kenney took the bold step of unilaterally dropping all of Alberta’s procurement exceptions to the 2017 Canadian Free Trade Agreement, and secured support from 12 of 13 provinces and territories for resource corridors.
  • Continued to fight alongside several provinces against the imposition of a federal carbon tax that would hinder economic growth and punish Albertans for living ordinary lives.
  • Stood up to federal policies that are damaging Alberta’s economy with letters from several ministers to their respective federal counterparts. These letters reiterate Alberta’s positions and outline the actions that should be taken to support the province’s people, industries and economy.

Alberta has also made substantial progress on its Fight Back Strategy to defend the province’s oil and gas sector and economic interests against unfounded attacks:

  • As part of its commitment to standing up for Alberta against foreign-funded efforts to landlock Alberta’s energy resources, government has launched a public inquiry into the defamatory campaigns to landlock Alberta oil.
  • A team led by the award-winning oil and gas journalist Claudia Cattaneo will develop a strategic plan aimed at restoring Alberta’s reputation in the fight to support the oil and gas sector that brings private investment and jobs to the province.

Promises kept

The following commitments have been implemented in three priority areas:

Getting Albertans back to work:

1. Passed Bill 1, The Carbon Tax Repeal Act. Introduced on May 22, 2019; received royal assent on June 4, 2019.
2. Enacted the Job Creation Tax Cut to reduce the general tax rate on businesses to eight per cent from 12 per cent. Introduced Bill 3, the Job Creation Tax Cut Act, on May 28, 2019; received royal assent on June 28, 2019.
3. Appointed a Minister for Red Tape Reduction to implement the Red Tape Reduction Strategy. Appointed Grant Hunter as the Associate Minister for Red Tape Reduction on April 30, 2019.
4. Passed the Red Tape Reduction Act to cut the regulatory burden by one-third and the time required for regulatory decisions to be made. Introduced Bill 4, the Red Tape Reduction Act, on May 29, 2019; received royal assent on June 28, 2019.
5. Launched a Red Tape Challenge website to seek public input on cutting job-killing regulatory requirements. Launched on June 24, 2019.
6. Passed the Fair Registration Practices Act as part of the Fairness for Newcomers Action plan to ensure fair and fast assessment of immigrants’ professional credentials. Introduced Bill 11, the Fair Registration Practices Act, on June 19, 2019; received royal assent on June 28, 2019.
7. Introduced a Job Creation Student Wage to reduce youth unemployment. Announced on May 27, 2019; took effect on June 26, 2019.
8. Returned to a holiday-pay qualifying period of 30 workdays in the 12 months preceding a general holiday to help create new jobs. Introduced Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business, on May 27, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
9. Reinstated the mandatory secret ballot for union certification votes to restore workplace democracy. Introduced Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business, on May 27, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
10. Secured agreement from other provinces and territories to increase interprovincial mobility for apprentices and skilled tradespeople. Premier Kenney advocated for this at the July 2019 gathering of Canada’s Premiers at the Council of the Federation and at the Western Premiers’ Conference on June 27, 2019.

On July 26, 2019, Alberta signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ontario to enhance opportunities in the skilled trades and expand the apprenticeship model by promoting clear learner pathways.

11. Guaranteed in law that the royalty regime in place when a well is permitted will remain in place for that project to help restore investor confidence. Introduced Bill 12, the Royalty Guarantee Act, on June 20, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
12. Reclassified service rigs as off-road vehicles to help the struggling energy service sector. Came into force on June 28, 2019.
13. Appointed an Associate Minister of Natural Gas to give dedicated political attention to the challenges facing Alberta gas producers. Appointed Dale Nally as the Associate Minister of Natural Gas on April 30, 2019.
14. Appointed an Associate Deputy Minister of Natural Gas in the Department of Energy. Appointed David James as the Associate Deputy Minister of Natural Gas on April 30, 2019.
15. Kept the small business tax rate at two per cent. Announced on May 28, 2019.
16. Launched consultation with farmers and ranchers on the Farm Freedom and Safety Act. Launched on July 12, 2019.
17. Consulted on whether Alberta should return to an energy-only market, leading to a decision that was widely applauded by producers and consumers. Launched engagement; announced results on July 24, 2019.
18. Formed industry panels to identify unnecessary red tape in every sector of Alberta’s economy. Announced on Aug. 2, 2019.
19. Fought for market access and the reduction of interprovincial trade barriers to create jobs and grow our economy. Premier Kenney advocated for this at Council of the Federation in July 2019; Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen advocated for this during the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Minister of Agriculture meeting on July 19, 2019; Economic Development, Tourism and Trade Minister Tanya Fir sent a letter on July 31, 2019 to her federal counterpart.
20. Put foreign credential recognition on the agenda of the First Ministers Meeting to push for faster action on the “Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.” This item was on the agendas of the Council of the Federation meeting in July 2019 and the Western Premiers’ Conference on June 27, 2019.

Making life better for all Albertans:

21. Proclaimed the Education Act to modernize Alberta’s school system. Introduced Bill 8, the Education Amendment Act, on June 5, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019; comes into force on Sept. 1, 2019.
22. Retained the general $15/hr minimum wage. Retained
23. Returned to a regular/irregular workday distinction for calculating holiday pay to give workers more flexibility. Introduced Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business, on May 27, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
24. Reversed the change in 2018 that eliminated the option for workers and employers to develop straight-time banked hours arrangements to help create new jobs. Introduced Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business, on May 27, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
25. Strengthened new provisions in the Labour Relations Code that have reduced the duplication of employment claims in multiple forums (such as labour relations, employment standards, arbitration and privacy). Introduced Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business, on May 27, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
26. Retained recent labour law changes to new procedural powers given to the Labour Relations Board, Employment Standards, and labour arbitrators such as those that allow the focusing of complaints. Retained
27. Retained new procedures relating to the duty of fair representation (e.g. obligation of a union and its process to properly represent a union member). Retained
28. Retained the current essential services legislation. Retained
29. Retained new forms of leave adopted in recent legislation. Retained
30. Appointed an independent expert to determine why construction has not yet begun on the Springbank Dam. Appointed lawyer Martin Ignasiak on May 3, 2019.
31. Ensured all major economic development proposals continue to be subject to mandatory environmental impact assessments. Being done.
32. Respected the constitutional right to separate schools. Introduced Bill 8, the Education Amendment Act, on June 5, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
33. Made tourism the responsibility of the Minister of Economic Development and Trade. Announced on April 30, 2019.
34. Ended costly subsidies for intermittent forms of power production. Minister Savage communicated the conclusion of the program to Alberta Electric System Operator on June 10, 2019.
35. Appointed an Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. Appointed Jason Luan as the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions on April 30, 2019.
36. Saved $640 million by cancelling the unnecessary ‘Superlab’ and the nationalization of laboratory services. Announced on June 20, 2019.
37. Amended the Municipal Government Act to allow municipalities to offer property tax incentives to attract investment and development. Introduced Bill 7, the Municipal Government (Property Tax Incentives) Amendment Act, on June 4, 2019; received royal assent on June 28, 2019.
38. Passed the Alberta Senate Election Act to hold elections for senatorial nominees in 2021. Introduced Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act, on June 26, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
39. Supported safe schools that protect students against discrimination and bullying with amendments to the Education Act. Introduced Bill 8, the Education Amendment Act, on June 5, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
40. Maintained the most generous charitable tax credit of any province in Canada to encourage charitable giving. Maintained
41. Passed a motion allowing free votes for MLAs on everything not deemed a confidence vote or key platform commitment. Motion passed during spring session 2019.
42. Passed a motion requiring MLAs wanting to cross the floor to resign and seek a byelection. Motion passed during spring session 2019.
43. Amended Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly to raise the bar of civility and decorum and to stop desk-thumping in the Legislative Assembly. Standing Orders effective May 30, 2019.
44. Relaxed regulations that required enclosed events like folk festivals to keep people having a drink within unreasonable narrow zones such as fenced-in beer gardens. Announced on May 16, 2019.
45. Created a $10-million litigation fund to support pro-resource development groups that include Indigenous groups. Announced Aug. 7, 2019
46. Amended the Education Act to implement the Leadership Quality Standards. Introduced Bill 8, the Education Amendment Act, on June 5, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
47. Facilitated the creation and operation of new charter schools by removing the cap in the Education Act. Introduced Bill 8, the Education Amendment Act, on June 5, 2019; received royal assent on July 18, 2019.
48. Advocated for a federal Indigenous consultation process that provides clear timelines and legal certainty for project proponents, consistent with the federal government’s constitutional obligations. Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson sent a letter to the federal ministers of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and Indigenous Services Canada on Aug. 6, 2019.
49. Launched a performance review of Alberta Health Services. Announced hiring of contractor to conduct review on July 18, 2019.

Standing up for Alberta:

50. Proclaimed Bill 12, Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act to defend Alberta’s vital economic interests. Announced May 1, 2019.
51. Challenged the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax by filing a judicial reference, and supported similar challenges by Saskatchewan and Ontario. Announced Aug. 2, 2019.
52. Launched a public inquiry into foreign sources of funds behind the anti-Alberta energy campaign, headed by Commissioner Steve Allen. Announced July 4, 2019.
53. Asked the Alberta energy industry to significantly increase its advocacy efforts. Announced June 7, 2019.
54. Held a summer session of the legislature. Session ran from May 21 to July 5, 2019.
55. Appointed the MacKinnon panel – an independent blue-ribbon group of experts to conduct a deep dive into Alberta’s fiscal situation. Announced May 7, 2019.
56. Lobbied for reforms to Canada’s Employment Insurance program so that Albertans who lose their jobs are treated more fairly by the system. Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping sent a letter to the federal minister of Families, Children and Social Development on Aug. 7, 2019.
57. Led by example by reducing Premier’s salary by 10 per cent and MLAs’ salaries by five per cent. Announced Aug. 6, 2019.
58. Building an interprovincial coalition which supports jobs, pipelines and the energy industry as evidenced by the Stampede Premiers’ Meeting, the joint letter opposing Bill C-69, and communiques from the Western Premiers’ Conference and Council of the Federation. Recent activities include Western Premiers’ Conference and Stampede Premiers’ meeting.

The following commitments are also well underway:

59. Using the persuasive power of the Premier's "bully pulpit" to tell the truth in both official languages across Canada and around the world about how Albertans produce energy with the world's highest environmental, human rights, and labour standards. Ongoing via social media, speeches, statements, etc.
60. Consulting on an Alberta version of Clare’s Law, which ensures Albertans at risk have fuller awareness of an intimate partner’s history of domestic violence. Initial engagement sessions were held in Calgary and Edmonton in July 2019.
61. Reversing the plan to spend $3.7 billion leasing rail cars. Announced on June 27, 2019.
62. Minimizing the red tape burden on farmers and ranchers. Several actions announced at Cut Red Tape.
63. Reversing four years of reductions in the fight against the mountain pine beetle by increasing funding by $5 million to $30 million annually. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen sent a letter on July 5, 2019 to the federal ministers of Natural Resources, Environment, and Public Safety, requesting federal funding.
64. Supporting the recommendation of the Canadian Artists’ Representation to have Parliament amend the Copyright Act to require that a five per cent royalty be paid to visual artists on the resale of their work. Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Minister Leela Aheer discussed this in a meeting with the federal minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism during the June 2019 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for culture and heritage.
65. Reviewing the Connect Care contract and My Health Care Records to reduce potential duplication of services and ensure maximum effectiveness. Issued an RFP on July 12, 2019.
66. Maintaining existing GoA capital plan for 2019-20 through 2022-23. Ongoing support for capital projects including sending endorsement letters to the federal government in support of projects that qualify for funding from the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
67. Requiring all universities and colleges to develop, post and comply with free speech policies that conform to the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression. Announced ongoing work with universities and colleges on July 29, 2019.
68. Seeking exemption from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) stress tests. Premier Kenney raised this in meetings with Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal minister of Finance in Ottawa on May 2, 2019.