Alberta legislature to hold one-day debate on first-quarter fiscal update
Update delayed by pandemic response; covers period of negative oil prices
The Alberta legislature plans to hold a special one-day debate in late August on the government's long-awaited first-quarter fiscal update.
Government House Leader Jason Nixon announced via the introduction of a motion in the legislature on Monday that MLAs will consider and ask questions about the report on Aug. 27 after it is tabled by Finance Minister Travis Toews.
The update, which covers the months of April, May and June, is expected to contain dire economic news, as it covers a time when the province was mostly closed down due to the COVID-19 response.
The government was forced to spend billions of dollars to salvage the economy and help out-of-work Albertans.
The price of oil, a key driver of the province's economy, also hit record lows during this period, even reaching negative values in the middle of April.
The legislature is expected to wrap up its spring session this week so MLAs would be returning to the house for just one day.
A sitting in August is rare, which prompted Speaker Nathan Cooper to remark that he is looking forward to researching how often it has happened before.
In his motion, Nixon proposed a 10 a.m. start for the Aug. 27 special sitting. The debate would be the only business of the day.
Toews will be allowed a maximum of 30 minutes to speak to his update.The opposition will be given 10 minutes to offer their remarks, followed by a 60 minute question and answer session with Toews and other members of cabinet.
UCP backbenchers will then be allotted 20 minutes to ask their questions, Nixon said.
The legislature would then adjourn until the start of the fall session on Oct. 26.