Cannabis, TransMountain, expected to dominate Alberta’s spring legislative session

The Alberta legislature. Global News

Expect a busy spring session at the Alberta legislature, with lots of big items on the Notley government’s agenda. One of the biggest being the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Global News political affairs reporter Tom Vernon told the Alberta Morning News the clock is ticking as Ottawa’s August deadline approaches.

LISTEN BELOW: Peter Watts speaks with Global News provincial affairs reporter Tom Vernon

“The province kind of outlined its framework a few weeks ago and it has to get all that into legislation. So, we’ll see how that’s dealt with,” said Vernon.

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“Communities are going to have to get a crystal clear picture of exactly what is expected of them. So that’s the big one.”

Vernon said the province must also deliver a budget on March 22, and keep tabs on B.C.’s legal challenges to the TransMountain pipeline project, which will likely lead to fireworks during question period.

“But you know that the United Conservative Party (UCP) is going to bring it up every day, about how there’s no pipeline in the ground, how the NDP has failed on this front. The NDP is going to throw back ‘Look, we got the B.C. government to back down. We’ve got several governments saying things are a go,'” added Vernon.

There are other issues Vernon expects the UCP to press the government on: “They called for an emergency debate in the fall session on rural crime.

“You’re going to keep hearing that over and over again, because quite frankly, there are a lot of people living in rural Alberta that say ‘Look, crime is up in our neck of the woods,’ and they don’t think there’s anything being done about it, so that is a big concern.

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“And the United Conservative Party has done a very effective job bringing this issue to the forefront, politically.”

Any throw-downs in the Legislature will come as no surprise to anyone: Vernon said Premier Rachel Notley’s New Democrats have been on the offensive since the United Conservatives elected Jason Kenney as leader.

“It was Rachel versus Jason before he even got in the house. Now that he’s in the house, it is going to be both sides working, doing their best to frame this as NDP versus UCP, Premier Rachel Notley versus Opposition Leader Jason Kenney. I think it’s exactly what both of those leaders want.”

Session begins this coming Thursday with a throne speech, and is scheduled until June 7.

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