On June 15, 2015, Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell delivered the new AB NDP government’s first Speech from the Throne (SFT). As expected it was short and sweet, being mainly intended to keep the government’s money supply flowing until they can get a budget together for the fall. Nonetheless, there was some substance announced, including three bills:
Bill One: Act to Renew Democracy. Bans corporate and union donations to political parties;
Bill Two: An Act to Restore Fairness to Public Revenue. Asking Albertans who might be considered “wealthy” to pay a “little more”. This category includes
– corporations — increase in tax rate from 10% to 12%;
– introduce progressive taxation for Albertans making over $120K per year;
– BUT no increase in small business tax.
Bill Three: An Act to Restore Civility to Education and Health Care This bill reverses PC Government cuts to Education and Health Care and provides interim funding so the Government doesn’t run out of money before the fall budget.
The SFT also gave some indications of what to expect in the fall. In short:
– Health and education. Expect significant increases in spending in these areas;
– Environment. Increased emphasis upon carbon emissions and National Strategy on Climate Change;
– Minimum wage. Increases as promised (to $15/hour over time).
– Aboriginal peoples. Advocacy of Missing Aboriginal Women inquiry.
In summary, this SFT confirms what our sources have been telling us: the NDP will enact their election promises. If it isn’t in the platform, expect that it will NOT be enacted in this government’s first mandate. PCA is seeking introductory meetings with the Premier and related ministers and plans to work with the new Government on behalf of our members and all Albertans.