Throne speech launches new era in Alberta politics under NDP

ALBERTA – A shortened summer session, the first in the legislature under the new NDP government, begins Monday.

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell will address Albertans in a 3 p.m. speech from the throne, one of her first tasks since being sworn in Friday.

The historic speech will outline the government’s legislative agenda – the goals and plans of Alberta’s new left-wing ruling party.

Premier Rachel Notley has given few hints about exactly what will be included in the throne speech. She simply says it will closely follow with the party’s platform.

“Sticking to what we promised in the election may be a bit of a novel concept, but it’s one that I want to truly see reflected in what our government does going forward,” says Notley.

Over the next couple of weeks, the government will focus on an interim supply bill. A full budget won’t be introduced until the fall. Notley has promised it will be radically different from the budget former Progressive Conservative leader and Premier Jim Prentice introduced before his defeat in the May 5th election.

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Notley has also promised a hike in corporate taxes, a royalty review, increased spending for health and education, as well as a boost to Alberta’s minimum wage.

An energy efficiency program will also be a key component of Alberta’s climate change strategy.

“I’ve long since identified and been quite concerned about the fact that Alberta lacks an energy efficiency strategy and indeed we’re the only province in the country that doesn’t have one. So, as we work towards our larger climate change strategy, which you’ll hear more about in the weeks to come, there’s no question that energy efficiency efforts and initiatives will be a key pillar in that strategy.”

The NDP has hinted that their first bill will be on the subject of “democratic reform.” The party promised a ban on corporate and union donations to political parties in their election campaign.