Legislature back in business Tuesday after hiatus, NDP to continue push for paid sick leave
EDMONTON -- The Alberta legislature is set to re-open and resume proceedings after a three week hiatus.
The spring session was abruptly suspended when COVID-19 cases in the province spiked earlier in May.
The Official Opposition felt there was too much unfinished business at the time, but Premier Jason Kenney’s government defended the move.
Jason Nixon, government house leader, said at the time it was not prudent to have members from across the province return to Edmonton given the number of rising COVID-19 cases associated with the third wave of the pandemic.
The session was originally suspended for two weeks on May 2 but was extended by a week on May 12.
Rachel Notley, NDP leader, said Kenney “abandoned his post” as premier by suspending the spring session and that it was an “abuse of authority.”
“People are still being forced to sell ice creams in crowded malls, servers are weaving their way between maskless tables of customers who they’re now in charge of policing on crowded patios, and teachers will be wiping runny noses in overcrowded kindergarten classrooms come Monday morning,” Notley said earlier in May.
“Suspending proceedings is the right thing to do as case counts increase,” Nixon said at the time. “We all have to do our part to get through to the other side of this pandemic.”
The NDP will continue to push for paid sick leave Tuesday.
An amendment to the Employment Standards Code was proposed by the NDP last week. If passed, it would provide Albertans with up to 10 days of paid leave for anyone who is ill or in quarantine.
“An isolating worker would continue to be paid through their employer who would be reimbursed by the provincial government,” Notley said in a press conference on May 17.
- NDP asks Kenney to 'come to work' and reopen legislature
- Opposition pushes for paid sick leave to curb COVID-19 spread in workplaces
According to the order papers for Tuesday's sitting, there are 14 government bills, including the Recall Act and Citizen Initiative Act. The two proposed bills could give Albertans the ability to remove elected officials and directly voice their opinions on government policy or direction through referendums.
In addition, a tweet sent out by Kenney on Monday hinted that Alberta’s relaunch plan will be unveiled later this week.
“With COVID numbers coming down, kids will be back to school tomorrow, and we’ll have exciting news this week about the great Alberta summer that lies ahead,” he said.