Premier Rachel Notley has media availability shortly before boarding a flight to Montreal for the first ministerial meeting at Edmonton International Airport on December 6, 2018. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia
The autumn session of the Alberta legislature ended Thursday with a standing ovation for its MLA, the NDP's oldest member, for the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood Brian Mason.
Mason, who is not running for re-election, was visibly moved, prompting speculation the NDP decided not to hold a spring session or to present a budget before calling the election.
Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday morning before embarking on a flight to the first ministerial meeting in Montreal that the election will take place on schedule, but she is stuck about what it means for legislative business.
Asked if she would commit to a pre-election budget, she said that "there may or may not be a budget."
"I will undertake to ensure that we consider all the options available to ensure that Albanians have a good understanding of what their options are before we enter the next election," she said.
Notley said she was pleased with the fall session, particularly the indexed benefits legislated under the Guaranteed Income for the Serious Disabled program, post-secondary tuition fees and changes in the family law.
"There was a lot of good there," she said.
"Light and Uninspired" Session: Kenney
United Conservative leader Jason Kenney begged to disagree.
"If you look at the NDP's legislative agenda this fall, it has been remarkably mild and uninspired for a government that is clearly running out of gas," he said.
Kenney said he thinks the government has "stumbled on the most important issues facing Albertans" and said he "is living on borrowed time."
Speaking to reporters in the legislature Thursday, Kenney said he wanted Notley to call an election as early as possible under the election. That means abandoning the process in early February for a vote in early March.
He said it would be a "big mistake" to foist a budget on Albertans "when (the government) his entire tax plan is in tatters."
Alberta Party leader Greg Clark also told the press on Thursday "the sooner the better" for an election, saying his party is ready to go.
Autumn Session Accounts
In the fall session, 14 government bills came to the table, beginning with Bill 19, which charged post-secondary education fees.
Other legislative changes included revocation of medical and health licenses in cases of sexual abuse of patients, readjustment of child protection laws, removal of political control of public pensions, introduction of new rules on municipal donations, and an agreement with major cities that ties its financings. to provincial revenues.
A bill that was warned to present, but never was, was the proposed legislation to ban conversion therapy, the controversial practice of using psychological or spiritual intervention to try to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity .
Mason told reporters Thursday that there were unresolved issues about what should or should not be in the law, and the legislative agenda was already full.