National Newswatch

Alberta government, Opposition swap accusations, attacks in earplug debate

Jun 24 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta's earplug debate got louder Monday as the Opposition NDP accused Premier Jason Kenney of lying and sought to have Government House Leader Jason Nixon found in contempt of the legislature. "The premier is lying and his house leader was lying. And they're too comfortable with that," NDP Leader Rachel Notley told reporters prior to question period. In question period, Notley demanded […]

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario criticize passage of federal environment bills

Jun 21 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will fight the passage of two federal environment bills on multiple fronts — starting in court. Kenney says he is filing constitutional challenges to Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 because he believes they unfairly target his oil and gas province. Kenney says Bill C-48, which bans tanker traffic on […]

Alberta premier hands out earplugs during debate on bill affecting union rights

Jun 20 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney passed out earplugs in the legislature overnight as his government invoked a time limit on debate over a bill that strips some bargaining rights for 180,000 public-sector workers. The bill passed Thursday morning following an all-night session during which Kenney walked up and down the aisles dispensing bright-orange earplugs to United Conservative caucus members so they could tune […]

Alberta finance minister won’t guarantee delayed union arbitration will occur

Jun 19 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta's finance minister won't promise that 180,000 public sector workers will still get their legally mandated wage arbitration hearings if they don't happen as planned this fall. Travis Toews declined to make the commitment when asked by reporters Wednesday. But he reiterated that the plan right now is to have those arbitration hearings take place this fall after Oct. […]

Alberta government looking to speed up job accreditation for foreign workers

Jun 19 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — The Alberta government wants to ensure that foreign-trained professionals and tradespeople will be dealt with quickly when they seek accreditation to work in the province. "We will remove unfair barriers while maintaining the high professional standards all Albertans have come to know and expect," Labour Minister Jason Copping said Wednesday after tabling the proposed legislation. "We've […]

Take two: Alberta lauds federal re-approval of Trans Mountain pipeline project

Jun 18 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is lauding the federal government's decision to approve for a second time the construction of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project. But Kenney says he won't be celebrating until shovels are in the ground and the project, which triples the capacity of the existing line, is built. Kenney also says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to […]

Alberta limits debate on bill to strip some public sector bargaining rights

Jun 18 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta's United Conservative government is limiting debate on a contentious bill that would strip away some bargaining rights for 180,000 public-sector workers. Unionized workers took pay freezes in the first years of their contracts but with the right to a wage reopener in the final year with binding arbitration if needed. The bill seeks to delay wage talks […]

Alberta tables bill to alter union deals, unions call it ‘significant betrayal’

Jun 13 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — The leaders of Alberta's public sector unions promised Thursday to fight back after the province introduced a bill to strip away some bargaining rights from an estimated 200,000 workers. "This is a significant betrayal," Heather Smith, head of the United Nurses of Alberta, said after the legislation was tabled by Finance Minister Travis Toews and passed first reading. "In the […]

Alberta government to bring in bill to alter union wage deals

Jun 12 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta's United Conservative government has formally served notice it is bringing in legislation to override bargained contract agreements and delay wage talks for thousands of public-sector workers. The move led to heated debate in the house Wednesday, with Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley accusing Finance Minister Travis Toews of a "gross abuse of power." "This government […]

Alberta eyes legislation if necessary to override public sector wage talks

Jun 11 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta's finance minister says the government will pass legislation if necessary to override collective bargaining agreements with unions and delay contractually mandated wage talks. The move would affect thousands of workers across the province, including nurses, hospital support staff, conservation officers, social workers, correctional officers — even sheriffs who protect politicians and staff in the legislature. […]

Alberta to bring in bill in fall to help First Nations invest in energy projects

Jun 10 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta will bring in legislation this fall to create a Crown corporation backstopped by $1 billion to help First Nations invest in major energy projects like pipelines. Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement after meeting with chiefs from across Alberta at Government House in Edmonton. The legislation, following up on an election campaign […]

Cash for class: Alberta promises to fund fall school enrolment growth

Jun 10 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — The Alberta government is fully funding new students going into grade school classrooms this fall. Finance Minister Travis Toews made the announcement Monday in response to Opposition questions in the house. The NDP has been pushing the United Conservative government for weeks for an answer on whether there would be new funding. It said […]

Tick-tock talk: Alberta legislators in marathon debate over workplace rules

Jun 6 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Alberta politicians talked around the clock into the evening Thursday in a marathon 24-hour debate over a bill that would cut the minimum wage for young people and change rules on calculating overtime pay. The legislature passed second reading of Bill 2 at 7:45 p.m. and then adjourned, more than a full day after debate began. It was […]

Kenney rejects Opposition attacks as Alberta halts new drug consumption sites

Jun 3 2019 — Dean Bennett — EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney is rejecting accusations he is putting vulnerable Albertans at risk by freezing funds for proposed new supervised consumption drug sites. Kenney made the comments Monday, as the Opposition NDP labelled the freeze part of a covert government plan to cancel not only the proposed sites, but also existing ones in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. Kenney […]