Ten days after the provincial government announced the Alberta legislature’s spring sitting would be paused for two weeks amid a brutal third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, MLAs received a memo on Wednesday informing them the period of adjournment was being extended by another week.
Speaker Nathan Cooper’s memo, made available to media in an NDP news release, cites “the ongoing public health concerns arising from the pandemic” as the reason the spring sitting adjournment would continue until May 25.
“My office, in conjunction with the Legislative Assembly Office, has been working on a number of ways to increase the ability for members to participate in the assembly remotely,” Cooper’s memo reads. “The opportunity for members to vote virtually may be possible upon the resumption of the spring sitting the week of May 25.
“To facilitate this, I will be hosting a number of training sessions next week.”
When the spring sitting was originally adjourned earlier this month, the Opposition said it believes the adjournment was sought by the government because it did not want to face scrutiny for its pandemic response.
“Suspending proceedings is the right thing to do as case counts increase,” Government House Leader Jason Nixon said at the time.
On Wednesday, the Opposition reiterated its call for the spring sitting to resume.
“The premier must also be held accountable by the legislature for Alberta having the highest infection rate of any Canadian province or U.S. state,” Opposition House Leader Christina Gray said in a news release.
On Wednesday, Alberta Health confirmed it has identified 1,799 new cases of COVID-19 along with four additional coronavirus deaths.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 24,962 active COVID-19 cases in the province.
Watch below: Some recent videos about the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.