WATCH ABOVE: Notley said she had a “very pleasant meeting” with Prentice Tuesday. She also said her party is finalizing its cabinet.
EDMONTON – Alberta’s newly-elected premier Rachel Notley said she had a “very pleasant meeting” with Jim Prentice on Tuesday.
“He offered me his insight and advice, both of which were very valuable.”
Notley thanked Prentice for his service to the province and said she was grateful for his help and cooperation.
“He’s willing to be there should we have questions and I appreciate that.”
“At this point, we’re going to carry on with our work and if matters arise, I can certainly call and ask for advice.”
School Board Budgets
The NDP government also announced an adjustment to Alberta school boards’ budget deadlines.
“I have requested that the outgoing government write to school boards, giving them an extra month to complete their budgets this year and I’m told that they will do this,” said Notley.
“Our government was elected on a commitment to fund enrolment growth and the extension of their budget deadline will permit us to act on this matter in good time for next year.”
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta President Marle Roberts thanked Notley for keeping her campaign promise to support education in the province.
“By extending the deadlines for school boards to submit their annual budgets, the provincial government has provided critical breathing space for boards to prepare for the thousands of new students coming into our system,” Roberts said in a statement. “We are pleased to see the Premier-designate take this matter seriously and respond to it as a priority.”
“We have assumed that we’ll be fully funded for enrolment growth and we’ll be able to maintain service levels,” said CFO of the Calgary Board of Education, Brad Grundy. “So if the funding that we receive is somewhat less than that, there may be impacts.”
“Parents could see fees come down if there’s funding for that, and if they fund enrolment growth, which allows us to maintain class size, that’s a positive as well,” Grundy added.
Notley said the transition work is going “very well” and the NDP is working on finalizing its cabinet. However, she did not give a specific date for the cabinet announcement nor start of session.
Talking with oil industry
Notley said she’s already spoken with energy executives.
“I’ve had some really good discussions with people,” said Notley. “They are looking forward to working collaboratively, they understand what’s in our platform, and they believe that it’s the kind of thing that, if we come together and work collaboratively, we can ensure stability and good decision-making.”
When asked when a royalty review could happen, the premier-designate said the NDP would look at that once cabinet is put together.
“It was in our platform,” she explained. “It will happen within this term and it will be proceeded by good, thorough discussions with all stakeholders, including industry.
“No one will be surprised by the way it unfolds.”
One week ago today, Notley’s NDP won a majority government, earning 53 of the 87 seats in the Legislature. Prentice resigned as PC leader and MLA after the May 5 election.
However, technically, Prentice is still premier until Notley is officially sworn in.
The transition: Who is running things?
While it’s a different transition than after past elections, Notley says the province is being well-managed.
“Who is in charge is technically Mr. Prentice, but certainly the public service is playing a leadership role in making sure the trains run on time, the cheques are written, and things unfold appropriately. They have been meeting daily with me or my team.”
And, who would be in charge in the case of an emergency?
“From my meeting today, I have every reason to believe that Mr. Prentice would respect the results of the election and work collaboratively to follow through on whatever advice we suggested.”
“Should there be an emergency, I’m your go-to person.”
Notley met with her caucus for the first time on Saturday. On Tuesday, the new MLAs were given some lessons in government by outgoing speaker Gene Zwozdesky.