Premier Danielle Smith will re-enter the Alberta legislature after a seven-year absence Tuesday to begin her first legislative session leading the government.
Smith’s first priority in the fourth session of the 30th legislature will be to introduce the long-awaited Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act. It is intended to act as a “constitutional shield,” allowing the province to refuse to enforce federal laws or policies.
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The government’s other focus is expected to be on affordability. The session will take place a week after Smith announced during a live television address a $2.4 billion inflation relief package.
It includes new direct $600 payouts over six months for each senior and child under the age of 18 in households with a yearly income of less than $180,000. Those same cash payments will be given to those receiving Alberta Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) payments.
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The province’s remaining 4.5-cent-per-litre gas tax, reintroduced in October as the price of oil cooled, will be eliminated for “at least” another six months, with the gas tax holiday program becoming permanent after that.
As well, $200 will be added “through the winter months” to electricity rebates first announced in February’s budget under former premier Jason Kenney. In July, that program was expanded to total $300, but only for eligible customers, over six months until December.
The session is expected to break for the holidays on Dec. 22.