Alberta throne speech 1st for Premier Rachel Notley

Alberta’s new NDP government officially gets down to business this afternoon when Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell reads the speech from the throne.

Premier promises 'inspirational, optimistic' speech

Premier Rachel Notley was offering few hints last Friday about what was in her government's throne speech, set to be delivered Monday by the province's new Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell. (CBC)

Alberta's new NDP government officially got down to business this afternoon when Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell read the speech from the throne.

Although Premier Rachel Notley declined to reveal what items are on her government's agenda, she said the speech would be forward-looking and optimistic.

"I'm very happy with it, actually. I think it's quite inspirational. It's going to speak to the values that we talked to Albertans about throughout the campaign," she said.

"It's going to talk about people coming together. It's going to talk about shared responsibility and shared opportunity and it's going to talk about our obligations to future generations."

Inspiration aside, people will be listening closely for clues about what Notley's government plans to do first.

Political scientist Duane Bratt, chair of the school of policy studies at Mount Royal University, expects there will many references to a "new" NDP government in a speech that will catch the attention of many Albertans.

"This is the first throne speech of a brand new government in 44 years, so I think there's going to be a lot of very interested people," he said.

The business community will be watching for the planned increase to corporate taxes. The oil patch also wants to know when the government will move on a proposed royalty review.

Then there's the move to reform rules around election spending. Large donations from corporations allowed the Alberta Progressive Conservatives to dominate their opponents for decades.

Campaign pledge on political donations

During the campaign, Notley pledged to eliminate political donations from corporations as well as unions who have written the NDP big cheques in the past.

The Parkland Institute, a public policy research institute at the University of Alberta, supports that initiative, but is calling on the government to do more.

Research manager Barret Weber said the government should limit how much political parties can spend during elections and leadership contests, lower the individual contribution amount, and allow political parties to access public funding. 

Weber said these measures could help end what he calls the "pay to play" political culture in Alberta, "where there is some kind of loose arrangement between money that's given to political parties and then expectations in the policy arena or in the political arena for those contributions," he said.

The throne speech started at 3 p.m. The spring session is expected to last about two weeks.